Press Releases

Amadiba Crisis Committee 2015-07-22:
ACC asked DMR visitors to Xolobeni: "Does a man have the right to rape a woman if she continues to say No to marry him?"

On Tuesday 21 July, the executive of the Amadiba Crisis Committee met with three representatives of the DMR at the Komkhulu (Great Place) of the Amadiba coastal communities. The DMR had requested to meet the leaders of ACC. However, the news of the meeting had spread. More than 200 community members met up outside the hall in black T-shirts "Amadiba Crisis Committee - No Mining on Our Land!" and waiting for the report from the two hour engagement.

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Amadiba Crisis Committee 11/05/2015

A Letter of Demand has been sent by Amadiba community attorneys to 13 employees and partners of Australian mining company MRC after an armed attack Sunday 3 May in two villages on the Wild Coast. For the content of the Letter of Demand: See attachment

Sunday 3 May, a dozen men driving 4x4s, fired shots in Mtentu and in Xolobeni. This is three of five villages affected by the Australian MRC's mining application for a 22km long and 1.5km wide strip on the Wild Coast.

A well-known business man in Bizana, Zamile Qunya, led the attack on the villagers. He fired shots and beat community members in Xolobeni with the butt of his pistol. One of his bullets grazed the head of a community member.
Zamile Qunya is an employee of MRC and a Director of Blue Bantry 255, which is a MRC BEE partner. MRC's other partner is the private company "Xolobeni Empowerment Company" (Xolco).
Of the 13 who yesterday received a Letter of Demand from Richard Spoor's office, half of them are directors and former directors of Xolco and Blue Bantry. Chief Lunga Baleni is one of them.

-- Mr Zamile Qunya seems to enjoy impunity in Bizana. Instead of being arrested, he is interviewed as development expert by SAFM and other radio stations. He should be in court, not in radio speaking to us about "development".

A woman (61) has pressed charges against his brother Bashin Qunya.
During last Sunday's attack, she was stabbed in the arm and kicked when lying on the ground. In the same evening, two unknown men came looking for her. Since Friday, she is in hiding. She is determined resolved to bring Bashin to court. Forces in the municipality are hell-bent on not letting this happen as Bashin is a member of the Qunya family.
A new car with men has since then been visiting the homestead of a friend to her.

- MRC beneficiaries are trying to create an atmosphere of terror in the coastal communities. Many families have moved their children to relatives after Sunday 3 May and continued nightly visits by cars with unknown men.

ENDS
Amadiba Crisis Committee:
Nonhle Mbuthuma 0763592982; Mzamo Dlamini 0721940949

For inquiries about the Letter of Demand sent yesterday to 13 MRC/TEM affiliated persons:
Richard Spoor 0836271722

The Tribal Authority of Umgungundlovu, Amadiba Administrative Area, Section 24 (coastal) and the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) are represented by Sarah Sephton at LRC in Grahamstown and Richard Spoor's office in Johannesburg.



SWC Statement. Wild Coast Mining Conflict 08/05/2015

When will No mean No?

Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC) is gravely concerned about recent violent confrontations at Xolobeni between local community members and supporters of MRC's Wild Coast mining proposal.

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AmaMpondo Royal House visits the Amadiba community, Wild Coast, Wednesday 12 February, to solve crisis.

Press Statement 2014-02-06:

On Wednesday 12th of February, the Qaukeni Royal House together with the Queen of Pondoland, are visiting Amadiba-Umgungundlovu Tribal Authority (TA). The reason for the visit is actions by Amadiba Chief, Mr Lunga Baleni, to shut down and demand the keys to the hall of the Umgungundlovu TA Great Place and the keys for Umgungundlovu Sub TA hall.

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Politicians fail yet again to listen to their constituents - EC Premier rides roughshod over Pondoland wishes.

16 July 2013

A visit by the Premier of the Eastern Cape, the Honorable Mrs N. Kivit and her MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Zoleka Capa to Xolobeni in north-east Pondoland was the subject of exteme criticism by Wild Coast communities for creating divisions and sowing discord amongst them.

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Mis-reporting Around the N2 Toll Road

Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC) the human and environmental rights NGO, is very concerned about the widespread misinterpretation as reported in the media of recent developments in the N2 Toll Road saga.

SWC Chair Sandy Heather says 'We have received many messages of congratulations regarding the media reports suggesting the N2 Toll road is to be scrapped, but this is not so. These reports actually only refer to cancellation of plans to build one toll plaza in KZN at Izipingo. This may well only be temporary, and does not mean the whole road will be scrapped. It merely requires a new funding model, which means more taxpayers money to support a private business venture.' SWC will continue to question the rationale for the Toll road whilst local communities have to continue to live without local road networks.

SWC Community spokesperson Sinegugu Zukulu added 'We deplore the way in which the advocates for the road are taking advantage of the recent death of the rightful King of the amaMPondo to try to divide the community. A proper meeting of traditional leaders, including the late King's widow anddaughter, has been convened urgently to discuss the matter. Astatement will be forthcoming in due course.ends

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Statement from Amadiba Crisis Committee in response to new prospecting rights application on Pondoland Wild Coast.

24th May 2012

The Amadiba Crisis Committee was formed under the jurisdiction of the Mgungundlovu Tribal Authority in June 2007 in response to efforts by a private company known as the Xolobeni Community Empowerment Company (Pty) Ltd to force the local occupants of the area to accept a proposal from an Australian mining company MRC (Ltd) to mine their ancestral lands for heavy minerals.

The mining rights were awarded in July 2008 but after a long struggle the Minister of Minerals was ultimately persuaded to revoke them.

To now be told by representatives of that same private company Xolco that a new prospecting rights application has been lodged, and that a public participation meeting was to take place at the Umgungundlovu and Dangeni Tribal Court houses has only served to again stir up anger and conflict within the community.

It comes at a time where we were just managing to get the eco-tourism venture back on track, after Xolco members had actively worked to undermine it because its success had conflicted with their ambitions to mine the coastal dunes.

If the Department of Mineral Resources had any respect for the planning proposals for the Wild Coast or prevailing legislation governing mining they would not have even allowed the application to be submitted in the first place.  The following points of information are placed on record.

  • The Xolobeni area is of extremely high ecological and environmental importance. In terms of marine biodiversity it lies in the heart of the Pondoland Marine Protected Area. In terms of terrestrial biodiversity the Pondoland region has been acknowledged as one of the most important centres of plant diversity and endemism in South Africa.  The Xolobeni area forms part of what has been defined as the Pondoland Centre of Endemism (“the PCE”).  The PCE is regarded as the second most species rich floristic region in southern Africa.

  • Section 39(1) of the Transkei Decree 9 (Environmental Conservation) of 1992 creates a 1 kilometre wide coastal conservation area. The proposed mining is well within that zone which has been reserved for a public purpose which prohibits mining.

  • Accordingly the area has been zoned for conservation under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Environment, dedicated to eco-tourism and coastal conservation.  Section 48 of the Mining Act prohibits mining taking place in an area that has been reserved for a public purpose of this kind.

  • We have been advised by officials in the department of environment as well as numerous specialist environmental scientists that the proposed mining will cause unacceptable pollution, irreversible environmental degradation and damage to the environment.

  • Apart from the environmental considerations the area is communally owned land and regulated in accordance with the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act.  The Minister of Land Affair holds title for the land in trust on behalf of the beneficiaries and is under solemn obligation to only consent to an alteration of current land use if it is manifestly in the best interests of the beneficiaries.  Prior to any change of land use a communal land rights resolution consenting to any proposed land use must of necessity be agreed upon by all households who derive their livelihood from the land, be it from crops grazing of livestock and vegetable gardens and whose identity is rooted in the soil because of the presence of their ancestral graves.

  • On 12th September 2007 a very well attended meeting of local residents was held at the Mgungundlovu Great Place with the King and Queen of the AmaMpondo, the Executive Mayor of the OR Tambo District Municipality and our tribal authorities and representatives of the SA Human Rights Commission present.  At that gathering the residents expressed overwhelming opposition to the proposed mining venture.

  • Notwithstanding the investigation by the SA Human Rights Commission which found that the local residents had not been consulted about the proposed land use change, the Director General decided to award mining rights for the Kwanyana Block in July 2008.

  • After considerable public protest, on September 2008 the Minister of Minerals and Energy Ms Buyelwa Sonjica visited the Mgungundlovu Great Place to again be faced with overwhelming opposition to the award of mining rights. She was told unequivocally that as far as the local residents were considered mining was out of the question as an economic development option. She suspended the mining rights soon thereafter.

  • After another three years of internal review Minister Shabangu finally agreed that the mining rights had been illegally awarded and revoked them in May 2011.

  • We regard the repeated and consistent expression of opposition to mining as a de facto communal land rights resolution to that effect.
To once again be faced with another mining rights application after all the above is an outrage.  Notwithstanding, the ACC have decided to use the opportunity presented by these public consultation meetings to put the following questions on record.

  • Is this application a renewal of TEM’s previous prospecting right or is it an entirely new application?   We would like to have a copy of the prospecting right application before proceeding further with these meetings, because if this process is conducted as an attempt to renew a license that has been already revoked we have been advised that this is illegal and that the matter needs to be immediately taken to court.

  • Why is DME allowing the prospecting rights application to proceed when they already have evidence of the immeasurable and irreversible environmental degradation that will ensure?

  • Why has GCS used Xolco members as agents to represent the interests of TEM? They can in no way claim to represent the interests of local residents, and have proved themselves to be dishonest manipulators of information.  In this respect we refer to the attached sample pages from a list of 3067 names of local residents submitted by Xolco claiming their supposed consent to the mining venture.  Several names are of long deceased residents, and the list includes known members of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, with forged signatures.

  • Why has the Department of Mineral Resources not instituted proceedings against Xolco for fraudulent submission of false information in support of the previous mining rights application?

  • With respect to heritage and sacred sites, the constitution guarantees the rights of cultural linguistic and to have their sacred sites undisturbed and respected. How do the mining rights applicants intend to address the deep spiritual connection we have with our land especially since they rely on dishonest and deceitful representatives from Xolco who have deeply offended and violated our ancestral traditions?

Finally we note that MRC Ltd, the Australian company who owns TEM will be holding a shareholders AGM on Thursday 31st May 2012, in Perth, Australia.

We call upon the Australian Securities Exchange to carefully monitor the meeting for compliance with rules of the ASX and to ensure shareholders are fully informed about the latest developments with respect to their investments in South Africa.

We further call on the Australian media to make it known to the Australian public how much onerous hardship and frustration MRC has caused us ever since Mr Mark Caruso and his brother Patrick Caruso started meddling in our community affairs in 1996 with the intent to develop a dune mining operation.

Finally as a way forward we call on the Minister of Land Affairs to direct the Department of Land Affairs to arrange for the Independent Electoral Commission to organise and supervise a process whereby a formal communal land rights resolution can be adopted to place the matter of the local residents wishes with respect to the Xolobeni mining venture beyond all doubt.

Issued by the Amadiba Crisis Committee.

For further information contact:  
Mzamo Dlamini: (ACC spokesperson) 072 194 0949   Email: mzamor@vodamail.co.za
Nonhle Mbuthuma: (ACC spokesperson) 076 359 2982   Email: nonhlem@vodamail.co.za
Sarah Sephton:  (Attorney representing ACC) 083 310 7646   Email: sarah@lrc.org.za
John GI Clarke: (Social Worker) 083 608 0944   Email: johngic@iafrica.com


AmaMpondo Objection to prospecting rights application for Wild Coast dune mining.

King Justice Mpondombini Sigcau of amaMpondo Qaukeni.

24th May 2012

For immediate release.

We address this statement to the Traditional Leaders of amaDiba area under the jurisdiction of the Royal House at Qaukeni concerning the application for the prospecting rights lodged by the Australian backed mining company Transworld Energy Minerals (Pty) Ltd and their BEE partner Xolco (Pty) Ltd on 2nd April 2012, for the Kwanyana Block of the Xolobeni Mineral Sands.

It is released to the media with an appeal to assist in ensuring widespread distribution.
We are alarmed that the Traditional Leaders of the affected area have not been correctly approached in terms of custom and tradition and that we are only learning about this latest application through other sources. The institution of Traditional Leadership is crucial to ensuring that the constitutional rights of all our people are upheld and protected, and in this instance most especially the right to an environment that is protected and conserved for the benefit of present and future generations (section 24) and the right to self determination (Section 235).

The Amadiba Coastal Residents have already successfully convinced the Minister of Mineral Resources to revoke the mining rights awarded in July 2008, when after a protracted internal review process it was found that issues raised by Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (as it was then) had not been satisfactorily addressed to ensure the venture met requirements for ecological sustainability and that mining was a wholly inappropriate land use from an economic development perspective.

The Acting Director General said inter-aliaThe Eastern Cape Biodiversity Conservation Plan indicates the area as of being of the highest conservation priority from both aquatic and terrestrial perspectives and the protection of this area is required to meet the national biodiversity conservation targets.  The Mkambati Nature Reserve will be impacted on from the perspective of a sense of place and the visual impact will be significant and permanent.  It must be assessed by taking into consideration that the mining is a short-term economic activity with long-term negative impacts where the ecotourism in the area has an unlimited life span.  One of the economic activities of the area may not impact negatively on other sustainable activities in the area.” (Correspondence dated 20 December 2007 addressed to Department of Minerals and Energy Regional Manager commenting on Xolobeni Draft Environmental Management Plan).

It is clear from this statement that mining the Wild Coast is simply absurd. It can be likened to the slaughter of rhino for their horns: the destruction of endangered species of life for short-term commercial profit of greedy foreigners.  It is a wholly unjustifiable social and economic development option and if the Department of Mineral Resources continues to entertain the prospect of dune mining along the Wild Coast they will be doing so in gross violation of the constitutional right defined in Section 24 of the Bill of Rights.

Conscience and civil courage is again called for.  Conscience on the part of Government officials, Political leaders, directors of the mining company and shareholders, and civil courage on the part of the Amadiba Crisis Committee and the Traditional Leaders of the AmaDiba Tribal Administrative Area in calling the mining company and their supporters to account for their conduct in their ongoing attempt to subvert the traditional authority of the area.  Their methods are clearly aimed at removing any obstruction to the ambitions of Mr Mark Caruso, the CEO of the Australian mining company MRC Ltd, and their local BEE partners to make money at the expense of the AmaMpondo people and the natural environment.

Ends.

For further information contact:
Richard Spoor (attorney)

Tel: 013 7511662.  Mobile 083 627 1722.
Email: Richardspoor@iafrica.com,