The civil rights organisation AfriForum met with the Marloth Park Taxpayers’ Association and other interested parties today in the run-up to a process to oppose an intended coal mine on the doorstep of the Kruger National Park.
AfriForum’s legal team has sent a letter to Singo Consulting (Pty) Ltd and Manzolwandle Investments (Pty) Ltd, intending to mine coal, regarding the lack of processes which have been followed to date.
Lambert de Klerk, AfriForum’s Head of Environmental Affairs, says the letter was necessary because the involved parties neglected to make sufficient information about the intended mine public. Furthermore, no proper consultation or public participation process has been followed. Interested parties had no opportunity to register as an interested group and no documents such as an environmental impact assessment have been made available.
It was also revealed that parts of the impact assessment match the impact assessment of another mine in the area word for word. AfriForum is consulting with its legal team to take the necessary legal steps.
After the letter the parties did register AfriForum as an interested group, but only allowed until 15 August 2019 for input to be provided. AfriForum pointed out that this timeframe is unreasonable and asked for an extension. AfriForum will appoint an expert to prepare proper input against the mine.
According to De Klerk it is clear that those who intend to mine have to date not acted in good faith. Two meetings were held on very short notice, making it impossible for the affected communities to attend or provide any input.
Manzolwandle Investments wants to start mining for coal over an area of 18 000 ha in close proximity to the Kruger National Park. This holds enormous disadvantageous and destructive consequences for the immediate environment, the Crocodile River and other water sources, nature reserves, wildlife, the road network in Mpumalanga and agricultural activities. De Klerk is of the opinion that Mpumalanga as a tourist destination can also collapse economically if illegal mining activities are continued.
De Klerk also points out a recent judgment of the Court of Appeal against the Departments of Environmental Affairs and Mineral Resources having approved Atha Africa Ventures Pty Ltd’s continuation of a coal mine in the Mabola region in Mpumalanga. These departments approved the application quietly, while this area is a proclaimed conservation area. The court found that the ministers were not transparent and that the decision was taken hastily.
“It would appear that there are an increasing number of such violations in Mpumalanga and AfriForum will not look on while these illegal mining activities destroy the country,” says De Klerk.
You can help us by supporting our #ConserveOurEnvironment campaign. Sign the petition: https://afriforum.co.za/en/away-with-mine-at-kruger-park/.