The North Gauteng High Court in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, has ruled in favour of the Xolobeni community – finding that they have a constitutionally protected right to refuse to allow mining on their traditional land.
It’s a big victory for the people of Xolobeni and other communities who live on such land. This community has been engaged in a long and at times deadly fight for more than a decade to block the mining of titanium in a sea-side region of Eastern Cape province.
Australian firm Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM) had been trying to obtain a licence to mine from the Department from Mineral Resource (DMR), but faced unrelenting opposition.
South Africa’s customary law dictates that a mining licence cannot be issued without the permission of the owners of community land.
They petitioned the courts to help them enforce the customary law, claiming they were being bullied into accepting the proposed mining.
Through the Amadiba Crisis Committee, which is supported by the local traditional council, the group’s representatives argued that mining would bring disastrous consequences to the region. The North Gauteng High Court agreed.
In her ruling, Judge Annali Basson said their fears were not without merit. Her judgement highlighted how mining communities often suffered from airborne diseases, were subjected the loss of grazing land and displaced.
It is not clear if the mining firms will appeal the ruling. The DMR has said it will study the judgment. But local leaders are expected to hold celebrations once news of their victory spreads across the areas’ far-flung villages.
Written By: Pumza Fihlani
First Published 22.11.18: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-africa-46259349
Help Keep The Faith deliver hope to global Christians during the coronavirus period
For 15 years, Keep The Faith's team of volunteers have provided our Christian journalism for free, and kept it open for everyone.
The coronavirus disease is affecting all global communities. Christians and people of faith all over the world are looking to our faith for answers during these troubling times. As more people fall ill with Covid-19 or go into self-quarantine over the next few days, we expect our visitors to grow even further.
Your gifts are so important to our future, and any donation will help. 100% of your gifts will be used to continue providing our services for free to help those who are in need of God's Word during these difficult times.
So please, continue to support us and everyone looking for hope. Partner with us in this journey together.