Com­mu­ni­ties to have say on new Min­ing Char­ter

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - NEWS -

Four mine host­ing com­mu­ni­ties from the North West and Lim­popo and three min­ing com­mu­nity net­works have been granted leave to in­ter­vene in an ap­pli­ca­tion by the Cham­ber of Mines to set aside the con­tro­ver­sial 2017 Min­ing Char­ter.

Judge Tati Mak­goka yes­ter­day granted an ur­gent or­der in the High Court in Pre­to­ria al­low­ing the com­mu­ni­ties of Bak­gatla Ba Se­fik­ile, Le­seth­leng, Babina Phuti Ba Ga-Makola and Kgatlu to in­ter­vene as ap­pli­cants in the Cham­ber of Mines ap­pli­ca­tion.

He also granted leave to the cen­tre for ap­plied le­gal stud­ies, rep­re­sent­ing three min­ing com- mu­nity net­works – Min­ing Af­fected Com­mu­ni­ties United in Ac­tion, Women Af­fected by Min­ing United in Ac­tion and the Min­ing and En­vi­ron­men­tal Jus­tice Net­work – to be joined as par­ties in the main ap­pli­ca­tion.

He or­dered the Cham­ber of Mines, which op­posed the ap­pli­ca­tions, to pay the costs and or­dered the par­ties to file fur­ther court pa­pers within pre­scribed time frames be­fore the main ap­pli­ca­tion was heard on De­cem­ber 13 and 14.

Min­er­als and En­ergy Min­is­ter Mosebenzi Zwane has put the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Min­ing Char­ter on hold pend­ing the out­come of the Cham­ber of Mines’ ap­pli­ca­tion.

The cham­ber wants the new char­ter set aside and the 2010 Min­ing Char­ter to re­main in ef­fect, but the com­mu­ni­ties and or­gan­i­sa­tions want to en­sure that a new process for the char­ter is kick started and that they are in­volved in the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Louise du Plessis of Lawyers for Hu­man Rights, which rep­re­sents the com­mu­ni­ties, said the rul­ing would give the com­mu­ni­ties a chance to tell the court why the char­ter should be set aside.

Com­mu­nity mem­ber Freddy Mak­goka was sur­prised to hear ar­gu­ment in court that the new char­ter had been ad­ver­tised, as his com­mu­nity in Steelpoort, Lim­popo, knew noth­ing about it and had def­i­nitely not been con­sulted.

Mak­goka and other com­mu­nity mem­bers said they de­rived no ben­e­fit from min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, which de­stroyed their graz­ing and their way of life, caused health prob­lems be­cause of the high dust lev­els, caused their houses to crack be­cause of the blast­ing and re­sulted in so­cial un­rest.

Pic­ture: Ilse de Lange

UNHAPPY. Com­mu­nity mem­bers Jomo Keromeng, left, and Freddy Mak­goka.

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