18 November 2018

South Africa: Mantashe Meets With Xolobeni Anti-Mining Activists

Photo: Zoë Postman/GroundUp
Residents of mining communities picketed outside the Pretoria High Court in April in support of the Right To Say No to Mining Campaign (file photo).

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe on Sunday confirmed that he had met with a group concerned over mining developments in the Xolobeni region in the Eastern Cape.

"We respect the right of people to say no to mining, as well as the right of those who say yes," said Mantashe in a statement following his meeting with representatives from the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) at the Wild Coast Sun in Port Edward on Saturday.

"As a responsible regulator of this critical sector, we must have finality. It is not about mining versus tourism or any other sector; but about the holistic development of Xolobeni."

A public meeting the minister held in the area in September was disrupted after ACC held a protest outside the venue.

This led to ACC's lawyer Richard Spoor being arrested, as well as police firing tear gas.

Lawyers for ACC tweeted on Saturday that following the meeting Mantashe had been invited to Komkhulu (Great Place) of Xolobeni.

On Sunday Mantashe said he would return to the area in order to "ensure finality to the matter".

The ACC launched a court challenge against Mantashe's department and Australian company Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources (TEM) which was heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in April.

In a City Press article, members of the community explained how they had spent years fighting TEM which wanted to begin titanium mining in the area.

According to the weekly newspaper, some residents of the area believed the mining would harm the environment and disrupt their way of life - while others suggest it would brings jobs and improve infrastructure.

Source: News24

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