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Case against Tendele Coal in the Supreme Court of Appeal

02 November 2020 - On Tuesday, 3 November 2020 at 9:45, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein will hear the appeal by the Global Environmental Trust and others against a 2018 judgement of the Pietermaritzburg High Court, in which that court had refused to grant an interdict application brought by the Applicants against Tendele Coal Mining (Pty) Ltd and had ordered public interest litigants to pay the legal costs of the coal mining company.

The court hearing is of particular significance because of the shocking murder of 65 year old Fikile Ntshangase at her home in Somkhele, KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday, 22 October 2020. Mam Ntshangase was a member of the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO), one of the applicants in the appeal, and a vocal activist against the expansion of the anthracite mine near the border of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve.

The court papers can be accessed here: https://cer.org.za/programmes/mining/litigation/somkhele-anthracite-mine

Parties and their legal representatives:

On 13 February 2020, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) admitted the Centre for Environmental Rights as an amicus curiae(friend of the court) in the appeal. The CER intervened in the matter because of its concerns that the judgment opened the door for mining companies to operate illegally. The CER is also concerned that the negative costs order against public interest litigants would discourage communities from approaching the courts to defend their constitutional rights through the fear of being debilitated by having to pay the legal costs of industry and the State. This would have a chilling effect on Constitutional litigation.

 

Media queries:

Resources:

On Tendele Coal Mining Pty Ltd and its anthracite mine at Somkhele, KwaZulu-Natal:

On activist threats, intimidation and killings: