Mine Defends Expansion Despite Opponent's Murder in South Africa

Fikile Ntshangase, a vocal opponent of plans to extend the Somkhele coal mine in KwaZulu-Natal, has been murdered. Ntshangase contended against plans to extend Somkhele coal mine, one of South Africa's largest open coal mines, situated on the border of iMfolozi-Hluhluwe Game Park. This comes after threats and attacks have previously been made against those opposing the mine, write Fred Kockott and Matthew Hattingh for GroundUp. Mine management says expansion is essential if the mine is to be saved. Ntshangase, 65, was a leading member of the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation, which is involved in two increasingly complex and protracted legal battles, one of which is to halt all mining at Somkhele until its owners, Tendele Coal (Pty) Ltd, comply with all the required environmental and other laws.

Many families living near the coal mine are still angry that family graves were desecrated and the skeletal remains buried in a cemetery and not at their homes as his custom.

Neighbouring subsistence farmers complain that coal dust pollutes their crops, turns their white chickens grey and the intestines of their goats black.

InFocus

The Somkhele coal mine is situated on the border of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Park.

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