South Africa: Enough Is Enough – Communities in Newcastle Protest Ikwezi Coal Mine

The community is mainly concerned with the following:

People’s health is being affected at Kliprand Farm by coal dust caused by the mine and trucks.

Blasting at the mine is damaging houses.

There is no open democracy as the Social Labour Plan (SLP) is not a public document and does not serve the needs of local people.

Mine brings no benefit to local people as labour is outsourced.

Community livestock is dying in numbers because they are grazing grass covered with coal dust.

Mine management refuses to engage with community members.

This 2-day protest was preceded by a protest which took place last December and where the community handed over a memorandum to mine management. All the issues raised in that protest are yet to be resolved and there has not been any engagement with the community.

“Enough is enough, we’re not going back to the regime where mines exploited our resources, destroyed our land and left us dumps, contaminated water and sick people. Ikwezi mine must take responsibility for their harm on our well-being and the environment.” Themba Khumalo, Secretary of Sukumani Environmental Justice

“The problem with our system is that corporates are allowed to do as they please. Mining companies violate the rights of the poor with impunity because they are bigger than the law.” Robby Mokgalaka, groundWork’s coal campaigner.

On 01 June, 2018, the Department of Mineral Resources suspended Ikwezi Mine’s license owing to its unlawful failure to comply with the social and labour plan despite having had the mining rights for six years, and how the mine transgressed the approved environmental management programme by tampering with graves.