The community leaders released a statement on Tuesday stating that the affected Umgungundlovu community has said no to mining for 15 years, and remain steadfast on that stance.

“We have the right to say no, and we instead expect a visit from the Departments of Agriculture and of Tourism.”

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This is in response to the Department of Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe’s planned visit to the area.

The community accused Mantashe of planning to transport people from other areas to convince the people in Xolobeni that they needed mining.

“We are shocked [at] what the minister is prepared to do. If people from outside are brought to Xolobeni to sign attendance registers, such people or the police may also attack us, as happened on 23 September,” the statement said.

The community said it is concerned about the safety and security of the people that they serve, and that their land and mining operations on it at this stage was not an option.

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“We appeal to ANC leaders who are not personally invested in Xolobeni mining to intervene and stop this. We expect [the department of mineral resources] to cancel these plans right now,” it was further stated.

The department has responded and said that the minister had intended to return to Xolobeni over the weekend, but has since postponed his visit to allow stakeholders more time to prepare.

The North Gauteng High Court last week ruled that, in terms of the interim protection of informal land rights act, the Minister of Mineral Resources may not grant mining rights without the consent of the community and the people directly affected by that mining right.

– News24