How a determined community is fighting the army’s attempts to evict them

Happiness Village’s residents fear for their lives and face unlawful evictions, beatings and intimidation, legal action and shack demolitions By Kimberly Mutandiro Since their unlawful eviction from their homes at the Marievale military base in 2017, the residents of Happiness Village informal settlement have fought for their right to remain on army land. In and out of court ever since, helped...

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Groundbreaking court judgment on mining and community rights

Court rules that Xolobeni community should have received mining application before the right was granted By Geoffrey Allsop The Umgungundlovu community, located in Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape, has won an important case in the Gauteng High Court that enables communities to meaningfully consult with companies that want to conduct mining operations in areas where they live or work. On 11 September, Judge...

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Bid to protect West Coast jewel from mining

Controversial Australian company applies for further prospecting rights By John Yeld The future of one of South Africa’s most important biodiversity areas – the Olifants River estuary on the West Coast near Lutzville – could be decided at a crucial meeting on Wednesday 4 December. This is when various government departments and conservation agencies come together at a meeting hosted by CapeNature to...

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What Appeal Court’s fracking judgment means

Ruling may lead to better environmental oversight By Wilmien Wicomb Anti-fracking activists won their appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) last month. The legal victory of Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG) and others means that environmental regulation of mining activities has been taken out of the hands of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). For years, civil society organisations like the Centre...

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Supreme Court of Appeal sends coal company packing

No mining will take place in Mabola Protected Environment for now By John Yeld The Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed an attempt by coal mining company Atha-Africa Ventures to appeal a High Court decision that reversed the hush-hush government approval it had for its proposed coal mine in an environmentally sensitive area in Mpumalanga. Atha-Africa, a local subsidiary of India-based transnational mining...

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State approves Tormin’s massive West Coast mining expansion

Environmental and activist groups appeal decision By John Yeld Government has given Australian-owned Tormin mine the go-ahead to vastly expand its current extraction of mineral sands on ten additional West Coast beaches and on an inland strip of old beach adjoining the existing mine near Lutzville. It has also condoned illegal activities by the mine, for which its owner Mineral Sands Resources (MSR)...

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Court blow for activists being sued by mining company

Judge refuses to grant access to documents By John Yeld Cape High Court Judge Judith Cloete dismissed with costs a discovery application brought by three of six defendants ahead of a defamation case totalling R9.25m. The six are being sued by Australian mineral sands mining company Mineral Commodities Ltd (MRC); its executive chairman, venture capitalist Mark Caruso; MRC’s South African subsidiary Mineral Sands...

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New charges in Aussie mining “SLAPP” suit

Amadiba activist sued for R7.5 million By John Yeld Controversial Australian venture capitalist Mark Caruso and one of his mining companies want to add four more claims totalling R2 million to their defamation case against South African social worker, writer and human rights activist John GI Clarke. Clarke has been involved with Amadiba community members who are strongly resisting mining of the titanium-rich...

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Lonmin case shows how hard it is to hold mines to account

North West High Court rejects bid to declare Minister of Mineral Resources in breach of statutory duties By Wilmien Wicomb In February the North West High Court rejected the application from the Mining Forum of South Africa, representing the Bapo-Ba-Mogale community, to declare the minister responsible for mineral resources in breach of his statutory obligation to hold Lonmin to account for not complying with...

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Former Sasol Coal miners claim more than R80 million for coal-related illnesses

Company says it took reasonable measures and the period for claims has expired By Ciaran Ryan Twenty-two former underground miners are claiming more than R80 million in damages from Sasol Coal after they contracted serious lung and other diseases as a result of years of inhaling coal dust while working in underground coal mines. They are arguing that Sasol Coal was negligent in...

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