Mantashe: Government appealing Xolobeni ruling to prevent 'chaos' in mine licensing

Gwede Mantashe (Netwerk24)
Gwede Mantashe (Netwerk24)

Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe told delegates at the 2019 Mining Indaba in Cape Town his department would appeal a High Court ruling that the department must get full approval from the Xolobeni community in the Eastern Cape before granting any exploration licenses in the area.

Mantashe said the ruling ran the risk of transferring authority over licensing in the mining sector from the state to communities. He said the consequences were potentially chaotic.

Some members of the community have accused the minister of pushing through mining investment in the area unilaterally.

Mantashe visited the Xolobeni community last month to discuss economic development. His visit was disrupted by demonstrations.

Mantashe said on Monday that government's authority in mining regulation needed to be protected and reaffirmed.

"[Why] we are appealing the ruling on Xolobeni is that, if you ask for full community approval, you transfer the authority of licensing from the state to the community. If you do that you create a chaotic situation," said Mantashe.

Mantashe added that he supported engagement and condemned violence to suppress differing views.

"The Xolobeni example is a good example. For me it is import that we engage communities. What we should not allow[...] is that anarchy instead of engagement becomes the order of the day. Everyone should be free to express their views," said Mantashe.

The Department of Mineral Resources announced in January that it would conduct a survey into mining in the Xolobeni community.

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