The fight against mining of titanium has been won by the Amadiba Crisis Committee. The Xolobeni community situated in Eastern Cape has been in hammer and tongs with the mining company Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM) owned by Australian mining company MRC which wants to mine titanium in a 22km stretch of coastal and 1.5-2km inland area from the shore. The struggle for the Xolobeni community to protect their customary right over their ancestral land has been ongoing for about 18 years going in and out of courts. The villages affected namely, Sgidi, Mtentu, Sikombe, Kwayana and Mdatya were concerned about how their agricultural economy would be negatively impacted if mining went ahead. The Eastern Cape government also raised concerns of environmental hazards. It also meant relocation of homesteads even though there was no certainty of how villagers would be compensated. They constantly lived in fear especially when there was a stranger in the community due to the persistent intimidation. A total of twelve people have been killed, it is suspected as a result of being opposed to the mining.
In November 2018 the Amadiba community’s right to consent or reject mining on their land was affirmed through a court judgement against the mineral resource minister Gwede Mantashe and his department. In September 2020, Judge Makhubele at the Pretoria High court gave order that companies interested in mining an area must give a mining application to interested and affected parties on demand and only sensitive financial information can be hidden. This allows for interested and affected parties to make informed decisions when they accept or reject mining, a key step in holding those who promise accountable.
The victory in essence is summed up that “meaningful consultation entails discussion of ideas on an equal footing, considering advantages and disadvantages of each course and making concessions where necessary” according to Judge Makhubele.
The people of Xolobeni have inspired hope in many and reminded the country that the voice of all people matters and that the true custodians of the land are it’s people. They tested the rigour of democracy through the courts and defended their future by demanding, transparency, fairness and any activity on the land to be sustainable. We are behind you Xolobeni!
Amadiba Media release 14 September 2020
Xolobeni judders as mining hovers by Lucas Ledwaba – 15 Feb 2019, Mail and Guardian