Community rights bodies Mining Affected Communities United in Action (Macua) and Women Affected by Mining United in Action (Wamua) on Thursday announced plans to picket at the offices of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).
This would be to serve notice that, should Minister Gwede Mantashe and the DMR continue to “bully” the community of Xolobeni, Macua would launch a national campaign in support of the community, which would see mining affected communities from across South Africa take to the streets.
Macua believed Mantashe was ignoring court rulings compelling him to consult with mining affected communities as legitimate stakeholders of the mining sector.
Mantashe on Wednesday announced the start of an independent survey in Xolobeni within the next few weeks, to allow the community to decide if mining would proceed in the area.
On the basis of the outcomes of the survey, the Minister said the DMR would then take a firm decision on the way forward.
This followed after a meeting with the community last week.
The DMR said the survey was in line with the outcomes of the judgement in the High Court in Pretoria last year, calling for thorough consultation of the Xolobeni community prior to any granting of a mining right.
“If the community says no, there will be no mining, if the community says yes, mining will proceed,” the DMR stated.
Mantashe also planned to appeal the Xolobeni judgement, since it, in his view, took away the DMR’s authority to award mining licences and rather gave it to local communities.
The Xolobeni community, represented by the Amadiba Crisis Committee, has been fighting proposals by Transworld Energy and Minerals, which is a subsidiary of Australian mining company MRC, to mine titanium in the area.