North West community take on mining giant

FILE PICTURE: Mineworkers walk to a bus. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

FILE PICTURE: Mineworkers walk to a bus. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Human rights lawyers have lodged an urgent application on behalf of a community in the North West to stop all mining operations by the Pilanesberg Platinum Mines on Wilgespruit 2JQ farms.

Respondents in the application are Pilanesberg Platinum Mines, Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti, and Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi. The Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela Tribal Authority and their chief, Nyalala Pilane, are also cited as respondents.

According to court papers lodged at the North West High Court in Mafikeng, 27 applicants – members of the Lesetlheng village community – want Pilanesberg to cease all mining operations on the farms. They also want the mine to remove the fencing. This includes halting mechanical or other deforesting or debushing, disturbance of the topsoil, and blasting and construction of roads.

The community wants Pilanesberg to be ordered to restore the applicants full possession, occupation and use of the farms as they enjoyed prior to March this year. Part of their urgent application is for the respondents to refrain from preventing the applicants access to the farms. They also want the respondents to refrain from allegedly threatening, harassing and intimidating them or any other of their members.

“We want the application to be heard as an urgent application in accordance with the provisions of Rule 6 (2) and that the requirements pertaining to services and time periods be dispensed with,” reads the notice of motion. The urgent application will be heard at the North West High Court on Thursday.

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