JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Civil rights organisation AfriForum’s Anti-Corruption Unit, as well as its Private Prosecution Unit, headed by advocate Gerrie Nel, will be taking on the case of the Ndebele Vaaltyn Tribe, who brought criminal charges against Canadian mining company Ivanplats Mines in 2014.
The tribe alleges that Ivanplats, which is developing the Platreef mine, in Limpopo, is involved in illegal mining operations, contravention of environmental legislation and the unlawful and seemingly culturally disrespectful relocation of the tribes’ historial and ancestral graves.
“AfriForum was approached in March 2017 by members of the tribe because they perceive that Ivanplats may have enjoyed unjustified protection by government officials. We are considering a private prosecution to ensure equality before the law and that the rule of law prevails,” Nel said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Ndebele Vaaltyn tribe member and representative Aubrey Langa said the tribe is concerned that Ivanplats disregards complaints by members of the tribe regarding illegal blasting activities.
“The allegations involve that the activities are conducted within 500 m from the community, resulting in structural damage to houses and disturbances of the peace as blasting is frequently conducted at night,” he said.
Ivanplats told Mining Weekly Online it is still studying the details of AfriForum's statement but stated that it has fully complied with all applicable laws and has done everything in its power to ensure that it consults local host communities and the relevant traditional leadership structures regarding the development of the Platreef mine.
Ivanhoe Mines and Ivanplats South Africa spokesperson Jeremy Michaels said Ivanplats welcomes any investigation into its activities, as has been the case with past complaints laid with a range of State institutions.
In addition, Ivanplats noted that it looks forward to engaging with AfriForum and any other civil society organisation which has the interests of its host communities and the country at heart.
Ivanplats noted that the Platreef mine would inject more than R25-billion into the local economy and create thousands of direct and indirect jobs through the construction and production phases.