The Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) has vowed that it will not allow a community survey proposed by Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe to take place at Xolobeni.
Mantashe visited the Xolobeni community on Wednesday, which has been divided over the proposed mining of sand dunes along the Wild Coast for over a decade.
Before Mantashe arrived, the ACC said on its Facebook page that the agenda for the meeting was “impossible” and “simply arrogant”. They also noted Mantashe’s late arrival.
The proposed titanium mine would span just under 3,000 hectares, making it one of the biggest in the country. It is a project of Transworld Energy and Minerals, a subsidiary of Australian mining firm MRC.
As with Mantashe’s last visit to the area, Wednesday’s engagement at Xolobeni sports ground descended into chaos, which only deepened when a community member, who said he was part of the ACC, supported the mining.
But ACC spokesperson Nonhle Mbuthuma said the committee believed the man was “paid” to “lie about being part of ACC”.
“We never had such a person in Amadiba Crisis Committee. The fact that Mantashe allowed him to speak and refused the real members of the committee an opportunity to speak tells us something,” Mbuthuma said.
The Department of Mineral Resources had said in a statement that the survey was part of a consultation process that was is in line with one of the outcomes of a judgment handed down by the North Gauteng High Court last year.
In November, judge Annali Basson said that the minister had to get the consent of the community before allowing any mining rights.
“On the basis of the outcomes of the survey, we will then take a firm decision on the way forward. If the community says no, there will be no mining. If the community says yes, mining will proceed,” Mantashe said.
But Mbuthuma said she found the minister’s statement “provocative”.
“We find Mantashe’s comments provocative because he is appealing the court ruling, why does he want to run another process? We are calling on Mantashe to stop provoking us because we don’t want to see another Marikana here.”
She said ACC would not allow the survey to take place. “We don’t trust that the survey will be independent and credible, it will be rigged to produce an outcome that supports the mining.
“We also don’t understand why the minister is using state funds on surveys as if it’s the department that wants the mining,” Mbuthuma said.
– African News Agency (ANA)