MEDIA ADVISORY

Imfolozi Community and Wilderness Alliance

COMMUNITY SAYS NO TO IBUTHO COAL MINE

Fuleni/Richards Bay, South Africa, 21 April 2016 – This morning an angry but well-behaved crowd of well over a thousand Fuleni residents forced the Regional Mining Development Environmental Committee (RMDEC) to abort their visit to Fuleni, the site of Ibutho Coal's proposed open cast mine on the boundary of the iMfolozi Wilderness Area. The site visit was to familiarise RMDEC with the area before the meeting tomorrow, at 10h30, at Enseleni Nature Reserve, KZN, to hear submissions from I&APs and their lawyers to substantiate their comments and objections to the Fuleni mine.

Irate Fuleni residents blocked the main road to Ocilwane with rocks and burning tyres to create a barricade to prevent vehicles entering Fuleni. Ocilwane is the village that will be most affected by the proposed coal mine. The police eventually managed to get assistance from members of the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO) and researchers from the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) – UKZN, who persuaded the local residents to assist with removing the rocks and tyres.

Once the road was cleared of obstacles, the people surged on to the road and created a human barricade to prevent vehicles crossing the bridge. They held a big banner that spanned the road saying: WE WILL NOT MOVE. A stand-off ensued but eventually the RMDEC team had to concede defeat and turn around and drive back to Enseleni.

Phila Ndimande, co-convenor of the Ocilwane demonstration, expressed surprise and gratitude for the extent of the opposition to Ibutho Coal. “MCEJO's focus has been on the seven villages directly affected by the proposed mine. It was heartening to discover today how many villages and people do not want the mine,” Nimande stated.

Attached is the Memorandum MCEJO would have presented to the RMDEC team at the end of the Ocilwane demonstration which never took place because of the blockade. Lebo Ngobeni will now be reading it and presenting it at the RMDEC meeting tomorrow.

MCEJO is a community based organisation established in November 2015 to coordinate activities like the successful Isolesizwe Film Festival, on 28 February 2016, and various projects in Fuleni including their current clean-up campaign.

MCEJO's slogan is "Nothing about us and our land without us."
CONTACTS
Phila Ndimande - 074 579 3004
Billy Mnqondo - 060 630 5138
Lebo Ngobeni - 060 686 2716

Download the Memorandum here.