NWest community wins court battle against mine company

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

The North West High Court in Mahikeng has ordered the Pilanesberg Platinum Mines to stop its operations on Wilgespruit 2JQ farm, where community members have resisted payments to move and make way for mining.

Members of the Lesethleng Village Community, represented by lawyers for human rights, approached the high court to intervene.

The lawyers for human rights had lodged an urgent application on behalf of a community in the North West to stop all mining operations by the mine on Wilgespruit 2JQ farm. They also wanted the mining company to remove the fencing constructed on the farm.

Pilanesberg Platinum Mines, the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti, Minister of Mineral Resources Advocate Ngoako Ramatlhodi, the Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela Tribal Authority (BBKTA) and their Chief Nyalala Pilane were all named as respondents in the matter.

Ruling on the matter yesterday, Judge Samkelo Gura said: “By agreement between the parties, the first respondent will cease any mining operations or activities directly incidental thereto on the remainder of the farm Wilgespruit 2JQ which despoiled the applicants.”

He added: “The applicants and the first respondent will retain the statuesque as at the date hereof in respect of the south western area, marked X and the central area marked Y on the attached plan which is marked AA3.”

However, Gura said the mine was not obliged to remove the fences around the areas marked X and Y on the plan. He also said the first respondent was also not obliged to restore the areas marked X and Y to their original condition and remove the perimeter fence indicated in blue on the plan marked AA3.

“The first respondent (Pilanesberg Platinum Mines) will remove any other internal fences erected by the first respondent on the farm which have not been mentioned above unless otherwise agreed with the applicants again. The respondent will pay the cost of the applicants including the costs of two counsels,” said Gura.

The Pilanesberg Platinum Mines representative Gerrit Globler SC had earlier said: “They all signed an agreement to be relocated to a farm right next door, where were houses built and their cows and cattle got water. They got a removal amount and that amount is R25 000. We started off with R10 000 and later it was R25 000.”

But Morena Kagiso Pilane of the BBKTA disputed the claim saying: “They were never given R25 000 I am not aware of that. The 26 that relocated were given an inconvenience fee. I am not quite sure as to the amount, the last I heard it was around R10 000 and I am not 100


today in print