Workers at Richards Bay Minerals. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)
Workers at Richards Bay Minerals. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)

Mediator appointed to save Richards Bay Minerals' mining deal

By SIHLE MAVUSO Time of article published Feb 7, 2020

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Durban - Working around the clock to save the multi-billion investment by Richards Bay Minerals (RBM), the KZN province has appointed an independent mediator to resolve the community dispute threatening the mining giant.

The mediator is Ngidi and Company of Pietermaritzburg, which is run by lawyer Comfort Ngidi, a known supporter of former president Jacob Zuma. The cause of the violence that has forced the company to temporarily halt operations is a 15-year long chieftaincy dispute within the ruling Mbuyazi clan.

The clan has been without an Inkosi for over a decade and that has led to squabbles over who should be installed as a traditional ruler. That squabble was further fuelled when in May 2018, RBM released R79 million to the clan’s development fund.

It is alleged within the clan that those feeling left out are allegedly behind the violence that has claimed lives of two people since December.

Addressing the media in Richards Bay yesterday after meeting with all the warring sides from the Mbuyazi clan, which owns the traditional land mined by RBM, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said: “The mediator is the provincial government and it has assigned Ngidi and Company to be there on (a) daily basis, but the spokesperson and anyone who has the right to speak on the matter is the provincial government, Gogta and the Premier’s office.

“The assigned company is there to ensure that they deal with issues, but the people who deal with issues of communicating and speaking on that will be the provincial government through Gogta and the Premier’s office.” 

Political Bureau

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