On 15 November 2018, MCEJO and Sabelo Dladla, with assistance from Legal Aid South Africa, filed a Review Application in the North Gauteng High Court to review and set aside the Director-General’s decision to grant Tendele Coal Mining (Pty) Ltd a further 222km2 to mine coal next to Zululand’s flagship Game Reserve. The Application is also to review and set aside Minister Mantashe’s decision to dismiss the internal appeal that was brought against the DG’s decision.The ever-increasing numbers of the already 4000-strong iMfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO) in Somkhele are determined to enforce their rights and are united against Tendele Coal’s non-compliant operations on their land.
The mining right permits a vast western and northern expansion of Tendele’s existing open-cast coal mining operations at Somkhele mine, which, being carried out or proposed to be carried out in areas 4 and 5 with a total area of 2 146.4206 hectares (or 21.464206 km2), in addition to previous mining rights (i.e. Area 1 on Reserve no. 3, measuring 660.5321 ha; Areas 2 and 3 on Reserve no. 3, measuring 779.8719 ha; and additional areas in Areas 2 and 3 on Reserve no. 3, namely KwaQubuka and Luhlanga Areas, measuring 706.0166 ha).
Critically, when Tendele purported to consult with interested and affected parties, its own documentation only suggested mining in respect of 10 distinct non-congruous areas with a total surface area of just over 3 200 hectares. Inexplicably, however, the mining right was ultimately granted in respect of a single combined area of over 21 000 hectares, increasing the proposed mining area by more than 550%. None of the 4000 members of MCEJO were consulted and yet all of them live in or adjacent to the mining right area.
There are no environmental authorisations issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs (or the Department of MineralResources) for the listed activities required to develop this vast area. This is particularly astounding given the critical biodiversity, hundreds of protected plant species, water scarcity and thousands of people living in the area as well as the close proximity of the mining area to the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve.
Please see the following links for further information:
Kirsten Youens, Attorney for Sabelo Dladla and MCEJO – 0612266868
Sabelo Dladla, MCEJO, Second Applicant – 0834647671