Attorney who marched on Mantashe's mining meeting charged

2018-09-25 15:36

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An Eastern Cape attorney who was arrested after marching on a venue where Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe was meeting with residents over the weekend has appeared in the Bizana Magistrate's Court.

Richard Spoor, who together with residents opposes an application for a mine in Xolobeni, was arrested at the weekend after marching with community members.

Read: Attorney arrested after bumping heads with Mantashe, marching at mining meeting

He was released over the weekend with a warning and ordered to appear in court on Tuesday.

Videos on social media showed Spoor and Mantashe in a heated exchange at the venue before an irate Mantashe was seen walking away.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said he had been charged with disobeying a police officer's instruction, inciting public violence and common assault.

"The matter was postponed to October 25 for further investigations," he said.

Tear gas, stun grenades

Mantashe had visited the village in the Mbizana local municipality, on the Wild Coast, on Sunday to engage with residents on issues emanating from an application by Australian company Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources (TEM) for rights to mine the titanium-rich sands.

Read more: Court hears Xolobeni community is in dark about Australian mining company's plans

The Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) launched a court challenge against Mantashe's department and TEM, which was heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in April.

Concerned by how much engagement with residents would actually take place, ACC members marched to the venue to add their voices to the debate.

In videos posted by the committee, residents are seen singing and dancing as a number of police officers in riot gear form a line in front of the marquee.

According to ACC, tear gas and stun grenades were fired.

In another video, Spoor tells Mantashe: "Don't call me a liar. I am trying to help you and if you work with us, we can work together and solve problems."

Mantashe is heard telling Spoor not to disrupt the meeting.

The mineral resources department said the event proceeded as planned and it was unfortunate that a group of people "were instigated to disrupt and suppress discussions".

"In short, discussions were positive, all parties present were given an opportunity to present their views either for or against mining, including a representative from the Amadiba Crisis Committee," it said.

Read more on:    gwede mantashe  |  port elizabeth  |  court

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