South Africa: Ruling against mining company a victory for marginalized communities across the country

In response to the North Gauteng High Court’s ruling that the government cannot issue a license for proposed titanium mining in Xolobeni without the consent of indigenous communities, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa, Shenilla Mohamed, said:

The judgement sends a clear message that multinational mining companies cannot trample over people's rights in the pursuit of profit
Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa

“This progressive court ruling is a victory for the people of Xolobeni, who have long fought for their right to say no to mining on their ancestral land. The judgement sends a clear message that multinational mining companies cannot trample over people's rights in the pursuit of profit. 

 “This judgement is not only a win for this community, but for communities across the country who are fighting to protect their land, heritage and culture.

The people of Xolobeni have long fought for their right to say no to mining on their ancestral land
Shenilla Mohamed

"The government must take heed of the ruling and ensure that informed consent is sought from Indigenous peoples when granting future mining licenses."

Background

A subsidiary of the Australian mining company MRC, Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM), had applied for the right to mine titanium in the uMgungundlovu district on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape province in 2008.

Villagers of Xolobeni in Pondoland formed the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) in 2007 to challenge the mining project, arguing that it constituted a deprivation of their ancestral land which threatened to take away their history and livelihood.