Source: Independent OnlineJuly 14 2015 at 07:49am
By Tony Carnie
Durban - A senior government minister said work on the controversial N2 Wild Coast toll road would start in September next year – but has given no indication whether Durban motorists would still have to pay the lion’s share of funding a new road through the neighbouring Eastern Cape.
Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said in a media release on Friday: “We have made a decision. What we want to know now is where we are going to relocate people who have to make way for the road … we are left with 13 months before construction starts.”
However, plans to finance a new 80km section of the N2 along the remote Wild Coast by tolling motorists in Durban and on the South Coast have been opposed strongly by the eThekwini Municipality, the KZN provincial government and a coalition of large industries in South Durban.
The eThekwini Municipality repeated its opposition on Monday to a plan that would involve tolling up to 57 000 Durban motorists daily to cross-subsidise parts of the Wild Coast route.
Commenting on Nkwinti’s statement on Monday, the municipality’s communications head, Tozi Mthethwa, said: “The council resolution on this issue still stands. The resolution indicates that (the) council does not support any more tollgates within the metro region and this resolution has not been rescinded.”
Nkwinti, speaking last week in his capacity as chairman of the presidential infrastructure co-ordinating committee that is overseeing 18 strategic infrastructure projects across the country, made the announcement after a “public consultation meeting” at Bizana on Thursday.
Acknowledging that representatives of some Pondo communities remained opposed to the toll road and had launched high court action to stop the road, he said: “If court processes against the construction of the toll road persist, the project will start in 2017.”
His statement is the latest in a series of mixed messages from the government and the Sanral roads agency about a project that has been stalled in the starting blocks for more than a decade.
The original proposal was rejected in 2004 by former Environment and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, who ruled that the first environmental impact assessment (EIA) lacked independence because of its financial links to a private toll road consortium.
Following a second EIA, the toll road was approved by the Department of Environmental Affairs in 2010, but has been stalled since then following legal appeals by the Amadiba coastal community and other parties.
The South Durban Business Coalition also launched legal action to block the toll road after studies by transport consultant Gavin Maasdorp suggested that at least 31% of the total toll fees for the Wild Coast route would be collected from Durban commuters and businesses via the proposed Isipingo toll plaza.
Maasdorp said these Wild Coast toll fees excluded several additional mainline and ramp plazas proposed elsewhere on the South Coast.
It is understood that last October, just days before the business coalition challenge was due to go to court, Sanral gave an undertaking that there would be no new tolling on the N2 in KZN south of Durban. On that basis the matter was removed from the court roll.
Members of the Amadiba Tribal Authority are also challenging the toll plan in the high court, arguing that the toll road is being bulldozed through against their wishes.
The Amadiba Crisis Committee said in a statement on Monday that Nkwinti had deliberately excluded opponents of the toll road from the latest “consultation process” held in Bizana last week.
“No one here has been consulted on your plans, Minister Nkwinti. We have long been demanding answers, but with no response from the government or Sanral’s chief rascal, Nazir Alli.”
Crisis committee spokeswoman Nonhle Mbutuma said: “We will not move for mining or for the toll road.
“Sanral argues that this area is one of the poorest in the country … How can we be poor when we have the land. We grow maize, sweet potatoes, terro yams, potatoes, spinach, onions, carrots, lemons, guavas and we sell some of it to the market.
“We eat fish and we eat eggs and chicken. We have cattle for weddings and traditional rituals. We have goats for ceremonies. We are not a part of the ‘one out of four South Africans who go hungry to bed’. We have a life,” said Mbutuma, arguing that the proposed N2 toll road was intended to support plans by an Australian company to mine titanium and other minerals along the Wild Coast.
Nkwinti’s office did not respond to requests on Monday for clarity on whether the revised funding proposals had been finalised for the toll plan.
Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said on Monday: “As you may be aware, the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road is part of the 18 strategic integrated projects overseen by the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Committee (PICC) – hence the pronouncement by Minister Gugile Nkwinti who chairs the south-eastern node and corridor development.
“The KZN part of the project has been put on ice until the funding issue has been resolved by the PICC.”
AT A briefing on land-related legislation by Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti earlier this month, traditional leaders claimed that a new planning law, the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, undermines their authority to manage communal land.
They said that by granting local government this power, the act strips traditional leadership institutions of their powers in relation to communal land.
The act, which came into operation on July 1, aims to develop a new framework to regulate planning permissions and approvals, sets parameters for new developments and provides for different lawful land uses. It also provides clarity on how planning law interacts with other policies.
The repeal of many apartheid-era laws left SA’s planning laws fragmented and inconsistent.
However, the coming into force of the new law was overshadowed by resistance from traditional leaders, who called for the government to suspend its implementation immediately and vowed not to enforce it.
In response, Nkwinti said that the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act would not diminish the role of traditional leaders in decisions relating to communal land because their institutions would still be consulted.
Controversially, he assured traditional leaders that they are the "de facto owners of the land". He explained that the government had assumed that everyone knew that traditional leaders were the legitimate owners of the land, even though this is not expressly stated in the legislation. This, he offered, could be rectified in the new act if traditional leaders so wished.
HIS comments clearly indicate what has become increasingly obvious to rural communities: the government intends to transfer communal land to traditional leadership institutions and, in the process, will not recognise the land rights of ordinary people who have invested in and occupied communal land for generations.
The government’s belief that traditional leaders are the owners of communal land is inaccurate and unlikely to hold up to constitutional scrutiny.
For many rural communities, the claims that traditional leaders are the owners of, and decision-makers in relation to, communal land is a deliberate distortion of their customary law.
Legal academics, including professors Alistair Kerr, Tom Bennet and Hastings Okoth-Ogendo, argue that the chiefs’ description of their power is incorrect. Prof Bennet says portraying chiefs as the owners of communal land is "a calculated misrepresentation" of customary law.
The perception that chiefs own the land originated during the colonial era when administrators sought to describe chiefly powers using South African common law or English law. It was done to further the political objectives of the colonial and apartheid states.
By enhancing the powers of traditional leaders at the expense of ordinary people and the alternative accountability mechanisms provided for in customary law, government officials were able to construct and strengthen their project of indirect rule.
In reality, different versions of customary law provide for decisions to be made about land allocation and use at different levels — including family, household, clan, subvillage and village level. Customary law is often characterised as a layered system rather than a system that centralises power in traditional leadership institutions.
The centralised vision of land use underpinning the government and traditional leaders’ claims does not hold true to many rural people living in the former homelands. Instead, it represents an intentional distortion that has its origins in illegitimate regimes which stripped black people of their entitlement to land.
Under apartheid, the 1936 Native Trusts and Land Act transferred most of the land earmarked for the homelands to the state, which held it on behalf of the black people who were relocated there.
Since the advent of democracy, some of this land has been restored to those who were dispossessed. Most land in the former homelands, however, is still registered in the Deeds Office in the name of the government — in nominal ownership, which does not mean the state actually owns it.
Instead, the government holds this land in trust on behalf of the people living on it. The people are the de facto owners of communal land.
AS PROF Kerr writes in his book The Customary Law of Immovable Property and of Succession, there are two types of state trusteeship: a strong version in terms of which the state owns the land on behalf of the actual beneficiaries, and a weak version in terms of which the state’s role is administrative and does not amount to ownership.
He concludes that the state’s nominal ownership of land in the former homelands is of the weaker administrative type. There are serious doubts about the government’s legal authority to give it to anyone but the people who are the underlying owners.
Prof Kerr explains that virtually all the land in the former homelands is owned by the families who have occupied and inherited it over generations. He analyses tenure security under customary law systems, and the content of statutory provisions under apartheid.
He finds that both customary and statutory law create real rights in land, that is, rights that are akin to ownership. That ownership vests in ordinary people who have occupied, used and invested in the land over generations.
Eminent historian Peter Delius supports the findings, saying "once land was allocated to households it was very unusual for it to be reclaimed by a chief".
These conclusions were confirmed when the Constitution enshrined the underlying real rights vested in families and individuals in section 25(6) which provides that people whose tenure rights were legally insecure as result of past racial discrimination "are entitled to tenure which is legally secure or comparable redress".
To give effect to this provision, the government passed the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act of 1996, which recognises and protects people’s land rights.
Now the government seems intent on dispossessing ordinary people of their land in a manner similar to the colonial and apartheid governments. The land in the former homelands belongs to the people who live and work on it. To strip them of this right and transfer the land to traditional leadership institutions constitutes more than a second dispossession: it is a betrayal by a government that promises to secure the land rights of its people.
• Clark is a legal researcher at the Centre for Law and Society based at the University of Cape Town
To: Investors of MRC
Investors of MRC: Stop forced mining on South Africa's Wild Coast
This petition is really important and could use your help.
We have just ONE day before the mining company's Annual General Meeting so we need a lot of signatures to get the investors attention in time!
Click here to find out more and sign:
Xolobeni Mining Petition to MRC Investors
The majority of residents do not want their homes, ancestral graves, water supply, fishing stock or traditional way of life threatened.
Although many need employment, better facilities and state services, they do not want to compromise their land for a mine that would hire only a few unskilled workers and have a lifespan of only 22 years.
Instead they want sustainable development projects, ranging from small-scale agriculture to eco-tourism. But the mining threat would foreclose alternative development strategies.
The crisis has reached a tipping-point.
On Wednesday May 27, MRC has its Annual General Meeting. Let's get their investors' attention and let them know what is really happening with the Xolobeni Mineral Sands Project. MRC is having serious problems with its other South African investment, Tormin, due to its heavy mineral concentrate buyers’ quality claims. It has made mistakes in South Africa that warrant its retreat.
Sign to demand that MRC ends forced mining in a community whose majority have repeatedly rejected it. Stop MRC from hiring people who violently assault community members.
Let MRC’s investors know it’s time to take their funds elsewhere.
Let’s ensure that human rights and environmental integrity defeat greed for ill-gotten gains.
04 MAY 2015 02:06 (SOUTH AFRICA)
SOURCE: DAILY MAVERICK
There is a lovely stream that bubbles and trickles its way down through the Amadiba chieftainship on the Pondoland Wild Coast to feed the Kwanyana River, which flows into a coastal estuary that is lovely beyond any singing of it (with apologies to Alan Paton). The Amadiba call it “Rholobeni” but the subtle pronunciation and spelling was beyond Colonial settlers, so on maps it is rendered “Xolobeni”. The stream has imparted its name to a store and nearby school which overlooks a beautiful panorama of green hills and blue sea with expanses of ochre red dunes in between, along the coast. Do a Google image search on the word “Xolobeni” today and an array of pictures present themselves that do not match up to the stream, store or school, but to protest action against mining. That is because a Perth-based mining entrepreneur, Mark Victor Caruso, chose to name his venture to mine the ochre red dune dunes that can be seen in many of the pictures, the Xolobeni Mineral Sands project. The windswept dunes contain some nine million tons of ilmenite, source of the space-age mineral titanium.
Three weeks ago Environmental Impact Assessment consultants sent by Caruso faced a difficult challenge to consult with residents of the six rural village neighbourhoods community (Luphithini, Mnyameni, Mtolani, Mdatya Mpindweni and Nyavini) about the latest mining rights application that he had lodged (see thereport). The meeting did not last long and the team, led by EIA consultant Pieter Badenhorst, was told not to come back.
Last Wednesday, on 29 April 2015, confident that since they had the authority of the Amadiba chief Lunga Baleni to back them up, Badenhorst returned with a larger team, who travelled in a convoy led by Caruso’s local agent and community ‘fixer’, Zamile Qunya to gather data for the EIA, their difficulty increased. Soon after the convoy had entered the Amadiba Tribal area, word travelled faster than their convoy and by the time they had reached turnoff to Xolobeni, the consultants were confronted by a barricade of logs and brushwood on the road, manned by an ever-growing group of angry residents.
Believing that opposition to the mining proposal had been orchestrated by outsiders and was confined to a small minority of “just one village”, one of the team began to realise that Qunya had greatly exaggerated his influence and that although Chief Lunga Baleni might have had formal powers, he had forsaken his authority and respect. The betrayal of the chief is symbolised by his acceptance of a Toyota Double Cab 4x4, paid for by Caruso’s mining company MRC Ltd., and offset from a loan of R14 million that he had provided to his BEE partner Blue Bantry Investments Pty Ltd., of which Qunya is a founder director.
When more local residents arrived to reinforce the barricade and stiffen the protest, the consultants decided to retreat before things got even nastier.
Even leading members of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, a structure formed in 2007 to oppose the first mining rights application by MRC, were surprised by the militancy shown.
Interventions are now underway to ensure the situation does not escalate into the archetypal scenario that fictional films like Blood Diamond and Avatar portray. Or, worse still, the real scenarios that occurred 55 years ago during the Mpondo Uprising, and three years ago at Marikana.
(Ironically, Blood Diamond was filmed in the Amadiba area in 2006, with the Mzamba estuary dressed up to look like an alluvial diamond mine in Sierra Leone. It is an even greater irony that it was in this in this very area that in 1957 a kindling conflict commenced over land rights and the use and misuse of natural resources.)
Among the Xolobeni Google search images, there is a picture of an old man holding a knobkierie alongside a young woman. The old man is ‘Bhalasheleni’ Mthanjelwa Mpotomela Mthwa, one of the Indunas (traditional councillors) who preside at Imbizos held every Thursday at the Umgungdlovu Komkhulu (Tribal court room). The young woman is Nonhle Mbuthuma, whose story is told in the documentary film The Shore Break, and making a deep impression on international audiences.
Until his recent death Bhalasheleni represented the residents of the Mtolane village neighbourhood. He died on 11 April and his body was laid to rest on 18 April 2015, in the family grave at Mtolane village, overlooking the Xolobeni mineral sands. Had the local residents not stopped the convoy, the Badenhorst and his team would have passed close to his homestead and seen his verdant crop fields and livestock grazing among the coastal dunes.
The historical memory of residents like Nonhle, who will have to make way if Caruso’s mining scheme ever materialises, has been kept alive and fresh for at least five decades by brave and principled elders like Bhalasheleni who survived the Pondo Uprising. It still casts a long shadow on South African history.
Professor William Beinart, a specialist on Mpondo history, reports his interview with a local resident, Leonard Mdingi, telling of the first spark of the uprising:
Badenhorst ought to have known this. Four weeks ago I gave him a copy of a book I have written which relates that history, The Promise of Justice. Yet it appears he chose to believe Qunya and Lunga Baleni reassurances, risking the repeat of a violent episode of history.
How might that now be avoided?
It would be prudent for Caruso, Badenhorst and other stakeholders to also read what the Crown Princess of the amaMpondo, Princess Wezizwe Sigcau, said in a recent address to the World Alliance for Religion and Peace, to issue a stern warning to MRC that their investors will lose their money if they fail to respect the environmental rights of the Amadiba.
JOHN CLARKE 13 APR 2015 12:53 (SOUTH AFRICA)
Source: Daily Maverick
While the bronze image of Cecil John Rhodes was being removed last week from the steps of the University of Cape Town, his ghost still hovered ominously over the mineral rich dunes of theWild Coast. For the third time since 2007, the Perth-based mining entrepreneur Mark Caruso is trying to secure mining rights for his venture capital company MRC Ltd, via his South African subsidiary Energy Mineral Resources (Pty) Ltd. They face formidable opposition by the Crisis Committee, which came into existence eight years ago when TEM/MRC made their first attempt to obtain mining rights in 2007. This was ultimately defeated after a long and arduous six-year struggle.
MRC/TEM’s second attempt was abandoned after still more resolute opposition from local residents, but the same company announced on 6 March that a fresh application had been lodged with the Department of Mineral Resources.
The Komkhulu (tribal court room) that overlooks the mineral-rich coastal dunes of the Wild Coast was too small to accommodate the large crowd of some 400 angry and offended rural residents who turned up for yet another raucous meeting about mining.
On this occasion, the meeting was scheduled for later than usual (1pm) and the Senior Chief, Lunga Baleni, came along to introduce Mr Badenhorst and his team. Ordinarily the facilitating presence of the chief would have helped to make the requisite cross-cultural connections, but given that Lunga Baleni was widely perceived to have capitulated to being a puppet of MRC/TEM (testified by his arrival in a gleaming new 4x4), his formal power failed to translate into influential authority. He was jeered when he opened the meeting because according to Mpondo customary law, the chief is not supposed to take sides, but facilitate participation and dialogue to build peace. The de facto authority now clearly resided in the leaders of the Induna’s(headmen) for the Umgungundlovu tribal substructure.Crisis Committee, which included the well-respected
Besides the antipathy toward the Chief, the mood of the meeting was affected by two other serious process issues.
Firstly, the absence of one of one of their most revered indunas, Bhalasheleni Mtanyelwa Mthwa, who had mysteriously fallen ill overnight. His trademark cheerfulness, wit and wisdom had become a fixture at the Komkhulu for years, nerving the youth against panic and seduction, guiding the elders with insight and wisdom, and uniting everybody with inspirational insights. His homestead is less than a kilometre away from the Komkhulu toward the coast. The red mineral rich dunes start at the bottom of his vegetable garden. From the inception of the mining conflict he has been a stalwart of the struggle. His proximity to the dunes, together with his absolute determination that he will not move, has made him one of the biggest obstacles to the ambitions of the mining company.
Secondly the meeting started only at 13.00. Umgungundlovu Komkhulu?”Crisis Committee spokesperson Mzamo Dlamini said that at a Traditional Authority meeting two weeks prior, two hundred upset residents who had read the posters advertising the schedule of meetings insisted that their Head Woman, Cynthia Baleni, demand that the meeting should start 10.00 a.m., as is custom. “The reason is the 15km and more walking distances for some participants. This was rejected by Badenhorst, claiming that Chief Lunga Baleni had agreed to the schedule. How can a consultant come and claim he is neutral and start out by insulting the Umgungundlovu Traditional Authority by not starting the process at the
The perceived manipulation of the process meant that the meeting was over before it had really begun. Badenhorst was not able to get past probing questions from members of theCrisis Committee, who wanted to know what motives and interests lay behind the new application. Or, to be more precise, the ACC members knew exactly what motives and interests lay behind the application, but wanted it all out in the open. ACC’s questions were actually directed at educating Mr Badenhorst and his team that the Amadiba’s local history mattered much more than mere compliance with a legislative process.
In terms of Mpondo customary law, any decision that proposes to alter any existing rights with respect to communally owned land must commence from the grassroots up. Rhodes’ annexation ofto the Cape Colony in 1894 never respected that.
First up was Sinegugu Zukulu, to show the consultants that they were dealing with an empowered community whose patience and tolerance toward manipulative mining agents had long expired. Zukulu’s leading role had been crucial to shaping the history of the Amadiba’s hitherto successful, but costly, battle against the foreign mining forces. With a Masters degree in Environmental Management and many years of experience as an educator, Zukulu showed that while formal power can be conferred from above, influential authority had to be earned from below. Sustained by his deep Christian faith, he had earned his authority by sacrificial personal experience, enduring the bitter pain of estranged friendships and ruptured kinship networks, because of the ruthless methods used by the mining company to ‘divide and rule’.
He asked them to make it clear to the people that whereas the previous mining rights application had been narrowed down to only one third of the mining tenement, MRC/TEM were now wanting to secure the rights to mine the entire 22km stretch of coastal dunes all the way from the Mzamba to Mtentu river gorges. “You must tell the people that many more homesteads will be directly affected. The Kwanyana block alone had 38 homesteads. The entire area has more than 200 homesteads that will be directly affected.”
In short, people are living there. And they don’t want to move away and leave their ancestral lands to be plundered.
Next, Nonhle Mbuthuma, who has since 2006 played a leading role in the ACC in organising and empowering the community to assert their constitutional rights, asked Badenhorst to explain exactly who the applicants “Transworld Energy Mineral Resources” were, since there was no one present from the company.
She clearly knew a lot more than did Mr Badenhorst about their history. Accompanied by raucous cheers from the fired-up residents, she explained that the community had already made it quite clear, firstly in 2007 to the head of TEM John Barnes, and then again to his successor Andrew Lashbrooke in 2013, as well as to the Department of Mineral Resources throughout that the overwhelming majority of the residents living in the 200-plus homesteads (and many others besides), had already decided that they did not want their ancestral lands to be mined.
“Yes, leave us alone,” someone shouted from the crowd. “We are not interested in the mining. Why do you keep coming back?”
Badenhorst explained that he had been commissioned to restart the EIA process “because the law had since been changed" and he had been sent to offer the community another opportunity to again express their concerns and issues, so as to educate the Department of Mineral Resources afresh as to why they should or shouldn't award mining rights.
"But our minds have not changed," someone shouted from the crowd, just before another angry man, brandishing a knobkierie, made his way out of the crowd toward Badenhorst and his team, intent on hammering the message home.
He was restrained by other residents, and shepherded away to cool off, but since it had become clear that the normal tolerance and goodwill of the community had been long overdrawn, and that further effort to engage with them was pointless, Chief Baleni and Mr Badenhorst decided discretion was the better part of valour, and started packing up.
With the crowd singing "imining ayiphumeleli" (mining will not succeed), they hastened the motorcade along its way. It was guava season and a few ripe guavas and maize cobs were thrown, aimed at Chief Lunga Baleni’s vehicle, as he hastily negotiated a three-point turn to follow Badenhorst and the rest of the TEM/MRC team out of the area.
Badenhorst declined to be interviewed afterwards, saying only that “I have done my job, according to what the law requires.”
Sinegugu Zukulu then rushed to fetch Bhalasheleni from his homestead and turned his bakkie into a makeshift ambulance to drive him and his anxious wife to get urgent medical attention.
While driving back, Zukulu explained to me that the level of militancy displayed by the people of Mgungundlovu was something he had not seen before. “It clearly demonstrated that they have had enough of this. I do not approve of hut burnings, but if the government studied the history of amaMpondo, they would know that it was here that the Mpondo revolt of 1960 started. You don’t take land from amaMpondo.”
But it is not only the law that has changed. When MRC/TEM/Xolco commenced their first mining rights application process in 2006 a tightly-controlled media cordon was enforced by the ring leaders of the pro-mining faction. Before the 50/50 filmed in October 2006, they had to sneak across the Mzamba gorge to be interviewed at the Wild Coast sun resort to avoid attracting the attention of thugs in the employ of the mining company.Crisis Committee had been formed to counter the co-option and subversion strategy, Mbuthuma, Zukulu and other brave residents feared for their lives if they were seen speaking to journalists. In the first major expose by SABC’s
The courage that they showed ensured that the media cordon collapsed and the Wild Coast Xolobeni mining saga became the top environmental story of 2007/2008. As the without having to go to court. That has never happened before.ascended up the Snakes and Ladders board to an unprecedented victory, their success was in no small measure due to journalists who provided ‘ladders’ and helped the local residents spot the more poisonous ‘snakes’. They forced the Minister of Mineral Resources to revoke the mining rights
Will it happen again?
The media cordon has long gone, and there is no objective reason that it cannot. In June this year, the premiere of a feature-length documentary The Shore Break, which tells the disturbing story of the Amadiba’s bitter struggle, is due for release in South Africa in the next few months. (It has already won an award for Best Feature Length Documentary at the International Environmental Documentary Film Festival in Paris in February.) DM
Postscript: Balashaleni Mtanyelwa Mthwa died at 3pm on Saturday afternoon. Further details and funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.
John Clarke is a social worker and author of the book The Promise of Justice: King Mpondombini Sigcau’s struggle to save the Mpondo from unjust developments. See www.thepromiseofjustice.co.za.
Photo: Local residents assemble at Komkhulu. Picture by Mzamo Dlamini.
In order to ensure that you are identified as an interested and/or affected party (I&AP) please submit your name, contact information, interest in the matter and comments to the EAP before 17:00 on 18 April 2015.
All communication must be directed to the EAP below.
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Cell: 082 776 3422
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17 March 2015 DMR Application Ref: EC10025MR
To: Owner and tenant
APPLICATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORISATION, WASTE MANAGEMENT LICENSE, AIR EMISSIONS LICENSE AND INTEGRATED WATER USE LICENCE FOR THE PROPOSED XOLOBENI MINERAL SANDS PROJECT, EASTERN CAPE PROVINCE
INVITATION TO REGISTER AS AN INTERESTED AND AFFECTED PARTY AND TO PROVIDE COMMENT ON THE EIA SCOPING REPORT
Transworld Energy and Minerals Resources (SA) (Pty) Limited (TEM) has applied for mining rights for the Xolobeni Mineral Sands Project in the Xolobeni Region of the Eastern Cape. As part of an application for a Mining Right in terms of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (Act No. 28 of 2002), and the 2014 NEMA Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, TEM is seeking Environmental Authorisation, Waste Management License (WML), Air Emissions License (AEL) and Integrated Water Use License (IWULA). A Scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment Process (S&EIA) is being undertaken. The applications for WML, AEL and IWULA will be submitted shortly.
Situated in the Eastern Cape Province; approximately 250 km south west of Durban and approximately 60 km south east of Mbizana and 30 km southwest of Port Edward, the proposed development will involve the mining and processing of various heavy minerals for export. In addition to the mine infrastructure, the proposed mine development will also require supporting infrastructure such as internal roads, power lines, and water abstraction and distribution infrastructure.
Pieter Badenhorst Professional Services has been appointed as the independent environmental practitioner (EAP) responsible for the applications for an Environmental Authorisation, WML, AEL and IWULA.
Your name was received from a previous public participation process. Please note that this does NOT qualify as registering as an I&AP for this application. If you would wish to register as an I&AP for this current project, please submit your name, postal address, email address as well as preferred method of communication and interest in the manner to the EAP. In the future, communications will only be distributed to the registered I&APs.
The Scoping Report for the EIA is available for public review and comment from 18 March 2015 to 18 April 2015. The document is available from the following website: pbpscon.co.za as well as from the following public places:
Public Place and venues
Port Edward Library
East London Library
Mthatha Public Library
Naledi High School, Xolobeni Tribal Area
Xolobeni Pre-school, Amadiba Area (Also venue for meeting 8:00 to 11:00 on 8 April 2015)
Mgungundlovu sub-tribal authority (Amadiba area); (Also venue for meeting 13:00 to 16:00 on 8 April 2015).
Mthayise Junior Secondary School
Amadiba area: (Also venue for meeting 8:00 to 11:00 on 9 April 2015)
Amadiba Tribal Authority; (Also venue for meeting 13:00 to 16:00 on 9 April 2015)
Bizana Youth Centre (in Bizana Town; (Also venue for meeting 10:00 to 13:00 on 10 April 2015)
The following listed activities are included as part of the application:
9, 10, 11 , 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 45, 46, 48, 50, 56
Reg 984 Listing Notice 2:
6, 15, 16,17, 19, 21, 28
Reg 985 Listing Notice 3:
2, 4, 10, 12 18
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In order to ensure that you are identified as an interested and/or affected party (I&AP) please submit your name, contact information, interest in the matter and comments to the EAP before 17:00 on 18 April 2015.
March 19 2015 at 09:42am
By Tony Carnie and Anél Lewis
Pretoria - The South African National Roads Agency has been accused of forging documents to mislead the Pretoria High Court and bolster support for the controversial N2 Wild Coast Toll Road.
This emerged late on Wednesday when Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona admitted the agency was “investigating the circumstances around fraud allegations relating to statements that Sanral submitted in court”.
To complicate matters, attorneys said the original of an allegedly forged signature appeared to have been “uplifted from the court file by unknown persons” and could not be examined by handwriting experts.
Several community groups from the Pondoland Wild Coast are seeking to set aside the government's 2010 decision to authorise construction of a toll road between Durban and East London.
Sanral had filed a number of affidavits from Wild Coast residents expressing support for the toll road - even though at least one of them, Nomvelwana Mhlengana, a council member of the Amadiba Traditional Authority and assistant to headwoman Cynthia Baleni, had been a vocal opponent of the toll plan.
In this affidavit - apparently signed on 11 November 2014 and stamped the following day at the Mzamba police station - Mhlengana purportedly gives her signed support for the proposed toll road and states that she did not authorise Cape Town environmental law firm Cullinan and Associates to bring a court application to overturn the toll road authorisation.
Three more affidavits, each with the same format and bearing the letterhead of the Mbizana Local Municipality, were purportedly signed by three other residents - but now Mhlengana says she never signed the affidavit of support and only became aware of its existence after Sanral presented it to the court.
“I deny all the allegations made in the affidavit and do not support the N2 Wild Coast project,” she said. “I am known as an outspoken opponent of the proposed toll road, and I am very angry that Sanral has filed a forged affidavit in my name that directly contradicts my previous affidavit.”
She also believes the other three affidavits of support, purportedly signed by Msulwa Ndovela, Mfihlewa Mdatya and Gotyelwa Mathumbu, were also forgeries. She said had never heard of these three people, who were said to be members of her community.
“Sanral representatives knew that members of the Sigidi community would not sign their affidavits,” she said, “so they prepared forged affidavits with the assistance of members of the SA Police Services.”
Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance spokesman Wayne Duvenage said: “Having studied copies of the various affidavits in the court record, it would appear that Sanral has fabricated evidence to back up its assertion that the Amadiba coastal community were supportive of the N2 Wild Coast toll road scheme.”
In an earlier affidavit from Alli, Sanral claimed that Cullinan and Associates director Cormac Cullinan did not have authority to act for those opposed to the toll road.
Cullinan said in a responding affidavit he had provided overwhelming evidence that communities supported the court challenge on the toll road and noted that Sanral had “virtually unlimited access to funds (from the public purse) whereas) the clients we represent have very limited financial resources”.
“This application by Sanral, supported as it is with forged affidavits, is a cynical attempt to deny these communities their constitutional rights.”
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town is cautiously optimistic that the Supreme Court of Appeal will uphold its appeal to make crucial information about the controversial Winelands toll project public.
Brett Herron, Cape Town mayoral committee member for transport, said in Bloemfontein on Wednesday legal counsel for the city and the 11 organisations standing as friends of the court, had made “compelling arguments” in favour of lifting the veil of secrecy that Sanral has imposed on its toll project for the N1 and the N2.
“Sanral wants to keep taxpayers in the dark about the cost of the tolling project,” he said, “by preventing the city from disclosing the information that is contained in its bid record.”
Herron said the information was of “great public importance” as it referred to toll fees and compared these with what Gauteng motorists were paying for their toll scheme.
The city's review application for Sanral's decision to declare the N1 and N2 as toll roads, and for the project to be scrapped, has been set down for 11 August in the Western Cape High Court.
The Mercury, Cape Argus
By the end of last month, Cullinan and his team had compiled all the relevant legal papers to bring the alleged forgery to the court’s attention.
Cullinan says they were shocked to discover the affidavits.
“The communities in questions are against the toll road and when Sanral tries to make a case that the opposite is true it can’t find evidence to that and hence appears to have resorted to forging affidavits,” he claims.
“This kind of behaviour undermines our system of justice in South Africa and shouldn’t be allowed… and it’s particularly disturbing when it’s a major public institution involved in this.”
“We are aware of the fraud allegations that have been made in court proceedings,” says spokesman Vusi Mona.
“Sanral views all allegations of fraud in a very serious light. Our lawyers are in the process of investigating these allegations and preparing a response which will be filed in due course as part of these court proceedings.”
Social worker and member of the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance, John Clarke, has been involved in the Wild Coast battle and says he has now written to Transport Minister Dipuo Peters to flag what has happened. He says he hopes Sanral will do more than just investigate.
“Will they see what is plainly before them and immediately report the matter to the Hawks to ensure whoever is responsible is prosecuted? … Mr Alli needs to prepare himself for some extremely tough questioning from Minister Peters, as well as the parliamentary portfolio committee on Transport, who have also been alerted to the matter.”
While Sanral claims the new highway will empower the communities along the route (jobs, access to nearby areas, less travel time, etc) those opposed to it believe it will damage the environment, split up villages and may even pave the way to some unwelcome mining in the region.
There is no date yet for when this case will be heard in court, but Cullinan believes it will be later this year. There is also no indication when Sanral will give its full reply as to how the supporting affidavits came to be and who is responsible for their existence.
At the same time, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein is today expected to hear arguments in a case concerning Sanral’s proposed Winelands Route in the Western Cape.
The dispute at this stage is around how much information about the tolled highway Sanral is making public. As was the case with Gauteng’s e-tolls, Sanral stands accused of trying to deny South Africans an opportunity to interrogate the project before it’s signed and sealed.
As for what’s happening with the e-tolling network in and around Johannesburg, the province awaits word from Deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, which is expected soon.
The fraud allegations to emerge in the Wild Coast project should shock not only the attorney involved and the woman whose signature seems to have been forged – but an entire nation.
It should lead to a criminal investigation and prosecutions.
Alli should be on the front lines of trying to get answers. You’ll want to watch closely how Sanral explains this one.
Van Riebeeck and load shedding:
Yeah, I'm sure it's just my conspiracy theory paranoia - but there are well established precedents of the ANC destabilising areas intentionally without regard to the cost. So it might surprise me if JZ's comment wasn't a backhand reference to their beloved Western Cape.
Here's what's interesting:
Extrapolating from this 2009 grid diagram:
Coal Powered = 37978MW
Nuclear = 1931MW
Hydro = 2000MW
Gas Turbines = 2409MW
Wind & renewable = 1000MW (estimated)
SA DEMAND = 28000MW
There is a supposed 1000MW to 4000MW production shortage with 25% of Eskom power capacity offline. (How does that even compute, when we have a capacity in excess of 45,000MW? I.e. 25% = 11,250MW shortage.)
The Western Cape produces > 4000MW through gas turbine, renewables, and nuclear (probably excluding the new wind turbines).
Yet Eskom seemingly cuts off Cape Town to supply Gauteng & Mpumalanga (where over 90% of electricity production comes from), but barring predominantly white suburbs like Craig*.* and farmers.
"Stage one allows for up to 1,000MW of the national load to be cut, stage two for up to 2,000MW, and stage three for up to 4,000MW." ~http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2015/01/27/power-cuts-pushed-to-stage-two
The rural Transkei region of the Eastern Cape has been recently electrified with a 400kV line according to this 2012 diagram, and direct experience:
Yet they don't reduce the load from here?
» 400kV is roughly 523MW (if a 765kV line delivering 1000MW = 765 * 1.307189543). More than half the Stage 1 reduction target.
And we should know, since we're right near the end of the line they ran from Bizana/Port Edward. And we haven't had a load shed (rolling blackout) yet.
Who's fooling who? Koeberg alone supplies the 2000MW 'Stage 2" shortfall. And the WC produces far more than the 4000MW shortfall.
EXCEPT despite roughly 30% lower diesel prices, "The diesel reserves have been depleted at Mossel Bay’s Gourikwa and Atlantis’s Ankerlig gas turbines, leading to their shutdown." ~http://www.iol.co.za/ios/news/eskom-blackouts-hurt-durban-1.1791703#.VMh2mnKUe00
A diesel shortage with the lowest prices in roughly 4 years? Now that's a no-brainer!
(Apologies to cars.co.za for the poorly edited graphic.)
Perhaps another way of putting it is 'whites off'.
In rural Transkei, right towards the end of the new 400kV line, and where the govt finished providing thousands of rural households with free basic electricity (FBE) shortly before elections, there hasn't been a 'blackout' yet.
Koeberg alone can provide enough electricity to supply the Stage 2 requirement of 2000MW, yet SA's tourism hub has had at least 5 rolling blackouts in the past 2 weeks to keep the more economically challenged areas alight.
And keeping Mossel Bay and Atlantis gas turbines offline because of a diesel shortage, with diesel the cheapest in 4 years, is beyond insane.
But it's not possible there is a political agenda of destabilisation, when one should never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.
UPDATE 30 January:
Last time oil was down at these prices in 2009, the price of diesel was around below R7.00.
/Just behind the dozer. :p
Australia based MRC controls Tormin: Disregards Environmental Protection Regulations
Quote: "For locals it was another instance of Tormin's disregard for the environmental protection conditions required by its licence."
Xolobeni and N2 toll road disaster will follow if their application is granted to strip mine the Wild Coast's titanium deposits at Xolobeni.
Ann Crotty | 22 November, 2014 20:12
What happens at Tormin is being watched closely not just by people in the area but also by a community thousands of kilometres away on the other side of South Africa. Australian-listed Mineral Commodities (MRC), the muscle behind Tormin, has plans to mine titanium from the sand at Xolobeni, a pristine area south of Port Edward on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape.
The Department of Mineral Resources confirmed it had received a new application for a prospecting right at Xolobeni and said the application was under adjudication.
On the West Coast, Tormin has ambitions to expand mining for zircon, garnet, rutile and ilmenite - used in ceramics, paint, paper and plastic. But, if the allegations are correct, it could be that, without more effective monitoring, economic benefits will be overwhelmed by damage to the environment, including the roads.
In Vredendal, locals say they are not against mining but their concerns include damage being done to the roads by the trucks that ferry the zircon from Tormin's plant to Cape Town and garnet and ilmenite to Saldanha. "We have a huge problem with the trucks. The roads are not designed for this, but when we mention that, [Gary] Thompson [the Australian GM] says it's not his responsibility, it's the responsibility of the trucking company," said a resident after a public meeting to discuss a proposal to double the size of the plant.
Tormin is required by the National Nuclear Regulator to exercise considerable care when handling and transporting the low-level radioactive material produced from mining the sands. There are indications that these regulations are being contravened. The regulator and the Department of Environmental Affairs did not respond to requests for comment.
On the other side of the country, Nonhle Mbuthuma of the Amadiba Crisis Committee said disturbing reports from the West Coast confirm their determination to prevent MRC from mining the Xolobeni sands.
"Their plans would destroy a stretch of the South African coast that is uniquely beautiful. It could be harnessed to support a valuable ecotourism industry that would provide livelihoods for generations to come."
She explained that the mining activity would destroy surrounding farms and homesteads, and transporting the material to a harbour would cause huge damage.
Xolobeni is regarded as a valuable source of titanium, with production expected to reach 65000 tons a month if MRC is given the go-ahead.
"We fear there could be as many as 60 trucks a day travelling from the mine through an area that has no tarred roads and has lots of children going to and from school, and livestock roaming free. Mining will destroy this area and the lives of everyone in it," said Mbuthuma.
She suspects that the South African National Roads Agency Limited's determination to build the N2 highway so that it passes just a few kilometres from the Xolobeni site reflects a desire to accommodate the miners. At Vredendal, Tormin is providing employment to about 140 people. However, most management jobs are held by Australians and, in a move that has caused consternation among locals, a large number of staff have been brought in from the Eastern Cape.
The prominence of Australians in the top ranks reflects MRC's control of Tormin. That dominance has become more evident since South African Andrew Lashbrooke resigned as CEO of MRC's local operator, MSR, in September. Several other South African managers left after Lashbrooke. Most were replaced by Australians.
Lashbrooke's involvement was tied to the belief that his company, Blastrite, had rights to the garnet that was a by-product of zircon production and is used in sand-blasting. In exchange for these rights, Lashbrooke managed Tormin and undertook to assist MRC in securing the Xolobeni mining rights. To this end, Lashbrooke introduced MRC's executive chairman, Mark Caruso, to the Eastern Cape-based black economic empowerment company Blue Bantry/Xolco.
In July, MRC told its shareholders that it had entered into a three-year garnet offtake agreement with GMA Garnet Group of Australia. People with knowledge of Tormin say Blastrite did not have sufficient capacity to take up all the garnet produced by Tormin. This resulted in stockpiling of the low-grade radioactive material and in some instances in it being dumped back into the sea. For locals it was another instance of Tormin's disregard for the environmental protection conditions required by its licence.