Court date approaches for Coalition's defence of Mpumalanga water source area
11 October 2018 - The High Court application launched by the coalition of 8 civil society organisations in July 2017 to review the decision of former Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane and the late Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa to permit Atha-Africa Ventures (Pty) Ltd to mine for coal in the Mabola Protected Environment will be heard by the Pretoria High Court from 16 to 18 October 2018.
As the proposed coal mine is in a protected area, declared under the Protected Areas Act, the mining company applied for special permission from both Ministers in order to mine there for commercial purposes.
The Minister of Environmental Affairs gave her permission to Atha in August 2016, and the Minister of Mineral Resources gave his permission in November 2016.
Neither Minister conducted a public participation process, nor notified interested and affected parties that they had received, or were considering, Atha’s application for permission.
The coalition challenging the Ministers’ decisions will argue, among other things, that the Ministers:
- failed to take their decisions in an open and transparent manner;
- ignored the Protected Areas Act’s requirement that mining will only be allowed in a protected environment in exceptional circumstances;
- failed to take into account the interests of local communities;
- failed to apply the precautionary principle and the vulnerable ecosystems principle;
- failed to take into account that Atha has failed to make adequate provision for rehabilitation;
- failed to take into account South Africa’s international responsibilities relating to the environment;
- ignored key planning and other instruments; and
- failed to take into account that the use and exploitation of non-renewable natural resources must be responsible and equitable.
The coalition’s application is opposed by both Ministers and by the mining company.
- the coalition’s Heads of Argument
- Atha’s Heads of Argument
- the State’s Heads of Argument
- all court papers and other resources for the media
For more about why we must secure our Strategic Water Source Areas now, visit our interactive website and map.
Previous media release issued in relation to this court case:
- 3 August 2017: Coalition defending Mpumalanga water source area launches further High Court proceedings
For media queries, please contact Annette Gibbs on firstname.lastname@example.org or 082 467 1295.