On Thursday 13 May 2021, almost two years after the first meeting and first application in this regard, the civil rights organisation AfriForum and Saai participated in a public participation meeting in Marloth Park in the run-up to a proposed coal mine on the doorstep of the Kruger National Park.
The meeting and process that was put forward in 2019 was already lacking and so too the latest public participation process. The environmental consultant Limpearth & Environmental (Pty) Ltd that led the public participation meeting on behalf of Tenbosch Mining (Pty) Ltd was not able to make the relevant information available to the public and was unorganised in general.
In April 2021 AfriForum was forced to instruct their legal team to direct a letter to Limpearth & Environmental (Pty) Ltd wherein it was requested that the necessary documents for comment be sent to the interested persons, as the necessary information was not sent to AfriForum when this organisation registered as an interested and affected party – no feedback has been received yet. During the public participation meeting of 13 May members of the community asked various questions but none of the questions were really answered.
Lambert de Klerk, Head of Environmental Affairs at AfriForum, says Manzolwandle Investments (Pty) Ltd, that originally submitted the application for the coal mine in 2019, has in the meantime been bought by Tenbosch Mining (Pty) Ltd. During the public participation meeting on 13 May this information was also conveyed to the community by Limpearth & Environmental (Pty) Ltd.
Since the application for the coal mine was rejected, Manzolwandle Investments (Pty) Ltd appealed against the decision – the appeal was granted. “We question the decision to grant Manzolwandle Investments’ appeal seeing that the correct public participation process was not followed and some of the documents they used for their environmental impact study was investigated for plagiarism which is a form of fraud,” De Klerk added.
AfriForum has already met with its legal team and is in the process of taking further steps.
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