Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe File picture: GCIS
Johannesburg - Xolobeni residents in the Eastern Cape have asked civil society organisations, political parties and President Cyril Ramaphosa to block Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe’s planned visit to their village on Thursday.

The residents, members of the Amadiba Crisis Committee in Bizana - the birthplace of former ANC president Oliver Tambo and Struggle stalwart Winnie Mandela - have also appealed to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to intervene.

They accuse Mantashe of trying to force them to allow an Australian company, Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources (TEM), to mine on their piece of land despite the high court in Pretoria barring the minister from doing so.

In its judgment in November, the high court ruled Mantashe lacked any lawful authority to grant a mining right to TEM without the consent of members of the Amadiba Crisis Committee.

The court also ruled that in terms of the Interim Protection of Informal Land Act 31 of 1996, Mantashe was obliged to obtain the full and informed consent of the Amadiba Crisis Committee members and the Umgungundlovu community, as holders of rights in land, before granting any mining right to the Australian company.

ACC spokesperson Nonhle Mbuthuma said Mantashe should appeal the judgment before visiting their village for a new mandate.

The residents’ outburst grew more last Wednesday, when they received an invitation from Mantashe to a planned meeting on Thursday.

His letter said: “There have been concerns raised during the meetings that mining would be detrimental to tourism and agricultural prospects in the area. However, as government we are of the view that coexistence between these sectors is possible and would boost the economic growth and development in the area.”

But, the residents have rejected the invitation. Last week, Mantashe’s office insisted that the visit would go ahead.

Political Bureau