The Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE) and Inyanda welcome and celebrate the North-Gauteng High Court’s judgment that mining-affected communities have a right to see mining licence applications.
We are thrilled that the court has upheld the rights of the Umgungundlovu community against the tyranny of capital that seeks to exploit our natural resources. It is shameful that our government has colluded with multinational corporations to deny people access to their land, and access to information about how Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources mining plans in the Xolobeni area would affect the community. Therefore, we applaud the court in holding the South African government accountable.
This should be one of many steps taken to diminish the huge imbalance in power that rural communities currently face with regards to land rights, actively participating in the political sphere, access to a livelihood, and access to the resources of the land and the commons.
We salute the bravery and persistence of the Amadiba Crisis Committee and the Ungungundlovu community. Our struggle against extractivism must continue in the same vein. We call on the Amadiba Crisis Committee and other popular associations such as coastal communities, coastal villages and Coastal Links (which represents fisher folk) to build strong solidarity and alliances that can resist the destruction of SANRAL and other government initiatives such as Operation Phakisa.
The TCOE advocates for communities to be involved in all decisions and processes in communities which affect them. Citizens are often ignored in development processes by both the state and private sector. This judgement gives communities the legal precedent to claim their power and role in development processes. TCOE encourages communities throughout the country to be active and to claim their role in ensuring development is appropriate to their own needs. And when it is not, we have the power to say no!