Environmental Activists Defeat An Australian Mining Company Against Extraction of Titanium In Xholobeni

After a long legal battle against the granting of mining rights to extract titanium in Xolobeni off the Wild Coast to the Australian company, Transworld Energy by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), on 14 September 2020, the Pretoria High Court ruled in favour of the Amadiba Crisis Committee. The court affirmed that the local communities had a right to say “No” to mining because it threatens their livelihoods and their way of living.  

Nomfuneko Goyi, a participant in The Green Connection’s Legacy Programme and a member of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, says, “We realized we would be tremendously affected as people who live along the coast—the mining of titanium would have resulted in forced removals.” She adds that there were no community consultations regarding the proposed titanium mining. Goyi adds, “People were just told to move, with no further explanation of the mining development. The community has always depended on the oceans and agricultural activities for survival, then it was suddenly expected to abandon their forefathers’ land for mining developments that could have led to environmental degradation and with little to no benefit for the people.” 

Nomfuneko Goyi advocates for ocean protection
Nomfuneko Goyi fishing in her community

Following multiple court actions and protests, some activists continue to live in constant fear, after receiving death threats following the interdict granted by the Pretoria High Court. Section 24 of the Bill of Rights states everyone has the right to protect their environment for the benefit of present and future generations. These are some laws that can ensure people’s rights are not violated and help prevent pollution and environmental degradation. Goyi says, “I applaud The Green Connection Legacy Programme for advancing my advocacy skills (and those of other young activists). This programme sends a clear, strong message to the youth (who are participating in various ways) that we must always stand firm and fight for our environmental and social rights. There are laws in place for protecting human and environmental rights.”

Written By: Lisa Makaula and Natasha Adonis

The Green Connection Legacy Programme equips the Green Connectors with advocacy skills to fight against environmental and socio-economic injustices through workshops and mentoring.

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