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 community 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.