Mining community organisations join Chamber against DMR’s Charter

Two organisations, CALS and LHR, representing mining communities have been granted leave to join the Chamber of Mines in its application for a review of the DMR’s reviewed Mining Charter.

The Chamber of Mines has acknowledged the judgment handed down by the High Court in terms of which two parties, Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) and Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) have been granted leave to become co-applicants in the Chamber of Mines’ application for a review of the Department of Mineral Resources’ (DMR) reviewed Mining Charter published on 15 June 2017.

CALSLHR’s clients — Bakgatla Ba Sefikile, Lesethleng, Babina Phuthi Ba Ga-Makola and Kgatlu residents — argue that contend, among other things, that mining-affected communities were not properly consulted in the formulation of this latest Charter, and that certain critical provisions are too vaguely drafted to be valid. They believe that development of a new Charter, which reflects the rights and interests of these communities, including their rights to development and transformation, is essential. 

“It is gratifying that the court saw fit to ensure that the people most affected by mining operations will be heard in the review of the Charter,” says Michael Clements, head of the Environmental Rights Programme at LHR. “The voices and experiences of mining-affected activities must be considered when new mining regulations and policy are formulated.”

LHRMining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA), Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA) and the Mining and Environmental Justice Network of South Africa (MEJCON-SA), represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, have now been joined to the Mining Charter review. “We are very pleased with today’s ruling, which promises communities will have a voice in the Mining Charter review,” says Nester Ndebele, national convener of MACUA. “This is a step towards recognising that communities are a core stakeholder in mining and must have a say in the laws and policies that affect them.”

The court further ordered all parties to strictly adhere to the timelines previously laid down by the Deputy Judge President of the Gauteng High Court for the serving and filing of pleadings and heads of argument.

‘The Chamber respects the outcome of today’s proceedings and will now shift its focus to studying the Minister’s answering affidavit which was served and filed on Friday 10 November 2017 and preparing its replying affidavit which must be filed and served on 22 November,’ reads a statement by the Chamber. The dates for the hearing of the Chamber’s review application by a full bench of the High Court remain 13 and 14 December 2017.


 

 

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