High Court rules in favour of Eastern Cape community in historic mining rights case

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Xolobeni village near Mbizana. (File, Leon Sadiki, City Press)
Xolobeni village near Mbizana. (File, Leon Sadiki, City Press)

The minister of mineral resources will have to obtain full and formal consent from the Xolobeni community prior to granting mining rights, the North Gauteng High Court ordered on Thursday.

The Amadiba Crisis Committee launched a court battle against the Department of Mineral Resources and Australian company Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources (TEM) over mining rights earlier this year.

READ: Mantashe meets with Xolobeni anti-mining activists

TEM, which is the fifth respondent in the matter, had filed an application for rights to mine the titanium-rich sands at the Umgungundlovu area of Xolobeni on the Wild Coast. 

In her judgment, Judge Annali Basson declared that the mineral resources minister must obtain consent from the community, as the holder of rights on land, prior to granting any mining right to TEM.

In her conclusion, she stated that while the informal rights of customary communities were previously not protected by law, they now had the right to decide what happens with their land. 

"As such they may not be deprived of their land without their consent," said Basson in her judgment.

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