Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe. File picture: African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - The Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) action group on Tuesday contradicted the statement by Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe that he would be visiting the volatile Xolobeni community in the Eastern Cape once again on the invitation of the ACC.

This comes as the situation continues to escalate in Xolobeni ahead of Mantashe's planned visit on Wednesday to the village to engage the community on mining and economic development prospects in the area.

In a statement on Monday, the department of mineral resources said that during his last meeting with the ACC in November 2018, the ACC had requested Mantashe to come back and meet with the broader community in Xolobeni. 

But the ACC said the department had falsely claimed that it had asked Mantashe to come back and meet with the broader community in Xolobeni during that meeting at Wild Coast Sun.

"At Wild Coast Sun in November, our induna Mr Mashona Wetu and the 18 person-strong delegation repeated one message: Any discussion about our land takes place at the Great Place (Komkhulu) of Umgungundlovu, and nowhere else," ACC said in a statement.

"On 17 November, our elders only informed Mantashe what the customary procedure to follow is. It was not an invitation. They were correcting his mistake after his unannounced 'visit' on 23 September to a sports ground. Mantashe now invites himself to the same place."

The ACC has banned Mantashe from Xolobeni and said he was not welcome in the area as the community has been at loggerheads with his department over a 15-year long battle against the issuing of a mining license to Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM), a subsidiary of Australian mining company MRC.

In November, the High Court in Pretoria 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. Mantashe is appealing this ruling.  

African News Agency/ANA