Coast KZN

11 Jul 2017

Xolobeni mining project: Residents reject moratorium

Judi Davis (South Coast Herald)

Xolobeni residents have responded to the 18-month Wild Coast mining moratorium.

A strong message has been sent to the Minister of Mineral Resources.

Xolobeni residents have issued a statement rejecting the Wild Coast mining moratorium, recently imposed by Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane.

According to activist Nonhle Mbuthuma, a spokesman from the anti-mining group, Amadiba Crisis Committee, a message to the minister had been compiled following a meeting, attended by more than 200 people at the Great Place in Xolobeni on the Wild Coast last week.

“We don’t want any 18-month moratorium. Make your choice, Minister Zwane and heed our decision to say ‘no thank you’ to your mining. Otherwise see us in court,” the message read.

It was referring to the fact that, nearly a year after he had warned of the possibility, Minsiter Zwane had gazetted a moratorium blocking any mining or prospecting applications on the Xolobeni mine area for the next 18 months, or until he was satisfied that the community conflict and unrest had been resolved.

The moratorium included a halt on processing the existing and controversial mining application of Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources SA (Pty) Ltd (TEM).

Ms Mbuthuma warned the minister not to use the moratorium as an excuse to delay making a decision about granting or rejecting the TEM dune mining licence for the Xolobeni area.

“We know that these 18 months are not for us. It is for the minister to strategise. The 18 months also present a danger of violence to us,” she said.

Xolobeni residents have also asked the minister not to send any more so-called specialists to the area as they believed he already had all the information he needed.

“You have failed to answer our demand for a declaratory court order that we have the right to say ‘no’ to mining. We filed it in September, 2016.

You failed to answer in November, in January, in March, in May and now the State Attorney has again failed again to file the Department of Mineral Resource’s answer on June 26.

You have failed to meet all deadlines. Are you shying away from meeting the community in court?” residents have asked the minister.

Ms Mbuthuma said the Xolobeni residents were now going ahead with plans for their own agriculture, eco-tourism and energy projects that would provide sustainable development, not only for the community and its neighbours but for their children and even their grandchildren.

She pointed out that Xolobeni residents had been denied local roads and other basic infrastructure for so long that they had decided they needed to address the provision of basic services themselves.

Online article