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Xolobeni community vows to fight dept if not properly consulted over mining

The community of Xolobeni says that it will fight Minerals Minister Gwede Mantashe up to the Constitutional Court if he fails to properly consult them regarding mining in the area.

FILE: Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe. Picture: @DMR_SA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The community of Xolobeni says that it will fight Minerals Minister Gwede Mantashe up to the Constitutional Court if he fails to properly consult them regarding mining in the area.

Mantashe announced that a survey would commence within the next few weeks to determine whether the proposed controversial mining would proceed or not.

On Wednesday, Mantashe visited the area but the meeting ended on a tense note after police used stun grenades to disperse the crowd.

It looks like the Department of Mineral Resources and the Amadiba crisis committee are headed for another legal fight over planned mining in the area.

The department says that if the majority of the community say no, there will be no mining but if the community says yes, mining will go ahead.

Lawyer for the community Johan Lorenzen says that it is not that simple.

"It is really important to note that the vote conducted is totally out of order with the court's order which requires full and informed consent, so for there to be a vote on whether the community wants mining or not is not informed consent."

The Mineral Resources Department says that the survey is in line with the outcomes of the judgment last year calling for consultation of the Xolobeni community before any right to mine is granted.

Department spokesperson Ayanda Shezi: "We are hopeful that with the survey that is coming, it will give us a clear determination of what the community wants."

The survey is projected to take up to six months to complete.