Hundreds of anti-mining campaigners have converged at Sigidi village, near Xholobeni in the Eastern Cape. They’re commemorating Human Rights Day and celebrating a court ruling that rural communities must give consent to mining in their areas.
The Amadiba Crisis Committee led the legal action against the Mineral Resources department.
Nontle Mbuthuma, from the Amadiba Crisis Committee, says that the court has done a good job in protecting rural people.
“Today it’s a big day for us; not for only people of Amadiba, but for everybody. There are many people here coming from different provinces to celebrate together with us for this victory because when there is mining especially in rural areas, we wake up and there is mining and we had no right to say no. Now we realise that our court justice has done a very good job in protecting the rural people.”
However, not everyone is happy with the court decision that halted mining operations in the area.
The pro-mining group from Xholobeni say they’ve no reason to celebrate. Xholobeni Youth for Sustainable Development, Fanele Ndovela says: “We can’t celebrate anything except the hope that we are having to say we can maybe make a difference if we stand up and voice or feelings. Our people are suffering so that is what I can say we can celebrate.”
The Mineral Resources Department is appealing aspects of the judgment and are planning a survey to get community input, but the Amadiba Crisis Committee, who’ve been opposing mining in their area, wants eco-tourism to be the catalyst for development.
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