Enough is enough: Communities in Newcastle Protest Ikwezi Coal Mine

A coal truck passes through a village in Dannhauser, Newcastle. Photo: News24

11 March 2021 – The mining affected communities in Newcastle are protesting on Thursday and Friday, 11-12 March 2021. The communities of Kliprand farm, Cloneen, Kàlvlakte, Jan Farm and Dragan Farm of Dannhauser in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal Province, are protesting against the Ikwezi Coal Mine about its Kliprand colliery which has continuously refused to take responsibility for the impacts from its mining operations. The Australian company which operates an opencast coal mine in the area is accused of abusing and bullying communities.

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.
  • The mine brings no benefit to local people as labour is outsourced.
  • Community livestock are dying in numbers because they are grazing grass covered with coal dust.
  • The mine management refuses to engage with community members.

This two-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.

Resources:

Back to business for Ikwezi Coal Mine in Newcastle (groundWork news item dated 04 October 2018.


Dannhauser communities say illegal mining is destroying their homes (Mercury news item).

New coal mining bulldozes villagers (Newframe online item).


Ikwezi slapp-suit activist (BizNews online item).

Ikwezi coal mining project in Dannhauser Newcastle-South-Africa – (ejatlas.org entry).

Contacts:

Themba Khumalo
+27 68 135 1984
mntungwatpk@gmail.com
Tsepang Molefe
+27 74 405 1257
media@groundwork.org.za

SOURCE: https://www.groundwork.org.za/archives/2021/news20210311-Communities_in_Newcastle_Protest_Ikwezi_Coal_Mine.php

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