SOUTH AFRICA: Fuleni community blockade stops mining authority visit

Originally posted by SaveOurWilderness. Words by Sheila Berry, photos by Rob Symons.

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 site visit to Fuleni for Ibutho Coal’s proposed open cast mine on the boundary of the iMfolozi Wilderness Area. The site visit would have familiarised 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.

In the early hours of the morning, irate Fuleni residents blocked the main road to Ocilwane with rocks and tyres, which they set alight to create a barricade to prevent vehicles entering Fuleni. Ocilwane is the village that will be most affected by the proposed coal mine.

IMG_5064

The police eventually managed to enlist assistance from march convenor, Phila Ndimande, when he arrived at the scene en route to the demonstration he had organised in Ocilwane. Phila, together with other Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO) activists and researchers from the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) – UKZN, managed to persuade the local residents to assist with removing the rocks and burning 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. When the RMDEC team arrived, a stand-off ensued but eventually they had to concede defeat and turn around and drive back to Enseleni.

IMG_5102

Billy Mnqondo, the other march convenor and co-founder of MCEJO, explained that, in 1963, his family was one of many families forcibly removed from their traditional land near Mpangeni to Ocilwane to make way for the Owen Sitole Agricultural College. At the time, the local magistrate promised they would never be relocated again. According to Billy “Forced relocation is not something a family should ever have to experience. The Ocilwane community is adamant that no one is prepared to move to make way for the Fuleni coal mine. When we say No, we mean No! We definitely will not move.”

Phila Ndimande expressed surprise and gratitude for the extent of the opposition to Ibutho Coal. He was initially unaware the blockade was to prevent the RMDEC team entering the area. “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,” Phila commented.

IMG_5005

Over the past few weeks there have been many protests and demonstrations in the area. A recent protest was sparked by lack of water. The current devastating drought has left much of KZN without water and climate change is expected to make the situation much worse. The Fuleni residents find it incomprehensible and irresponsible that, under these conditions, the government appears ready to agree to the new thirsty Ibutho Coal mine that will steal their water like the existing Somkhele mine steals water from the Somkhele communities. The Fuleni communities are also feeling the impacts.

MCEJO opposes coal-related climate change and questions the obvious disregard the government has for international protocols and agreements it has signed to reduce green house gas emissions. It casts serious doubt on whether one can put any trust in the government if this is their attitude. Fuleni residents have also been angered by strangers coming into the area unannounced. This week the Department of Agriculture sent work teams to drill boreholes. Given the experience of the Fuleni residents with Ibutho Coal, when their contractors were digging boreholes all over the place without any explanation or consent, the Fuleni residents have learned not to trust or welcome strangers.

Earlier this week a young woman from SA, attached to Uthungulu municipality, was sent packing after she was discovered going door-to-door gathering data about the number of people in certain households. She was not wearing her identification bib, which immediately aroused suspicions that she was working under cover for Ibutho Coal to gather information in anticipation of tomorrow’s meeting. There are good grounds for suspicion. Today an elderly woman at Shayamoya appears to have been tricked by an Ibutho Coal representative into signing a deal to move from her house. MCEJO is busy investigating.

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 at the RMDEC meeting tomorrow and presenting it to the RMDEC chairperson.

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.”

 

 

Related Posts

#RighttoSayNO to mining campaign takes off in South Africa
Protect sacred natural sites to realise indigenous rights, says African Commission
In Photos: Solidarity in action at rally to stop Druridge Bay coal mine
We stand in solidarity: South African and UK communities unite to reject plans for Druridge Bay open-cast coal mine
Open Letter: South African communities ask UK planners to reject new open-cast coal mine
Demonstration targets Petmin’s key investors with demands to divest from Tendele coal mine
Amadiba Commemorates Environmental Defender Sikhosiphi Bazooka Radebe
Resistance, exchange, (post)extractivism: YLNM Coordinators meet in Galicia- in photos
Community Mapping & Resistance Ghana

Community Mapping & Resistance Ghana

  • Written on: 03 February 2017
  • Posted under: Videos
The Matatiele Manifesto: South African communities unite to say yes to life, no to extraction!
In Madagascar, the village of Soamahamanina manages to stop a Chinese mining giant!
Women Building Power- Toolkit for climate and energy justice for African women
New Women Building Power toolkit for women’s rights activists launched
REPORT: The New Colonialism: Britain’s scramble for Africa’s energy and mineral resources
#MineAlert South Africa
Mining, Murder and a British Millionaire: Protestors stand in solidarity with South African communities opposing mining
#StandWithAmadiba

#StandWithAmadiba

  • Written on: 11 May 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
Follow the Money – From Pondoland to London Wall
Talking Africa: Podcast on Mining in South Africa and Issues of Violence and Community Engagement
KZN residents up in arms over proposed coal mine

KZN residents up in arms over proposed coal mine

  • Written on: 25 April 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
SOUTH AFRICA: Fuleni community blockade stops mining authority visit
Respect communities’ right to say “NO” – Benchmarks Foundation to Australian High Commission
Graham Edwards: Divest from MRC!

Graham Edwards: Divest from MRC!

  • Written on: 06 April 2016
  • Posted under: Campaigns
Suspend Wild Coast mining, say leading health academics
Violence and Intimidation at Funeral of ‘Bazooka’ Rhadebe
UnderMining Life: Activists Threatened in South Africa

UnderMining Life: Activists Threatened in South Africa

  • Written on: 31 March 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
Statement: 82 civil society organisations condemn the assassination of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, chairperson of Amadiba Crisis Committee!
Amadiba Crisis Committee chairman brutally murdered
The Rise of Investor-State Dispute Settlement in the Extractive Sectors: Challenges and Considerations for African Countries
Urgent YLNM Letter: Protect Ekuri Community Forest, Nigeria
Stop the construction of the Cross River State Superhighway immediately!
We need a real “Alternatives to Mining” Indaba
Report: Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Power the Global Trade in Cobalt
South Africa: 350africa.org, EarthLore and Womin call on Government to protect water and declare climate change state of emergency
PETITION AGAINST THE ACTIVITIES OF AZUMA RESOURCES IN TOME
Take Action: Support the people of Lamu to prevent coal-fired misery!
Diamond mining continues to cause suffering for Bushmen
Mining firm reconsiders Zululand plans

Mining firm reconsiders Zululand plans

Midland Community Take a Stand Against Fracking

Midland Community Take a Stand Against Fracking

  • Written on: 23 November 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
OUR ROOTS, OUR RESPONSIBILITY: INDIGENOUS CUSTODIANS CALL FOR RECOGNITION AND PROTECTION OF SACRED NATURAL SITES
Report: Corporate tax dodging costs Zambia $3billion a year
Revival

Revival

  • Written on: 12 November 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
A Call for Legal Recognition of Sacred Natural Sites and their Customary Governance Systems
Let communities act on water crisis

Let communities act on water crisis

Communities, Companies and Conflict in Zimbabwe
[Briefing] Rights Extracted: Toward transparency & respect for human rights in mining, oil & gas in Francophone Africa
Human Rights Defender Myness Musaamba assaulted at a ‘Community Development’ Meeting at Arda Transau
Map of Abandoned Mines in sub-Saharan Africa
Ngisika elijikayo/The tip of the iceberg

Ngisika elijikayo/The tip of the iceberg

Zimbabwe: Disaster strikes in Arda Transau Mining Relocation Area
The Fuleni coal mine serves no-one

The Fuleni coal mine serves no-one

Zimbabwe: Villagers of Arda Transau displaced by mining told they must pay to farm
Communities being stripped of their heritage by mining
Outrage over coal mine bordering Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Wilderness
Our Resistance, Our Hope: Unity Statement of the International People’s Conference on Mining
‘Rivers of Acid’ in Zambian Villages

‘Rivers of Acid’ in Zambian Villages

Huge Opposition to Zululand coal mine ‘catastrophe’
Campaigning against coal in KwaZulu Natal

Campaigning against coal in KwaZulu Natal

  • Written on: 27 August 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Lesethleng Community fight to recover lost farmland
African Civil Society Says Yes to Life, No to Mining!
Dirty Diggers: A report on gold mining in Upper West Ghana
Social Cartography: opportunities for social movements, activism and resistance in South Africa and Zimbabwe
Achievements of the Global Day Against Mega Mining
Fatal Extraction: Australian Mining in Africa
Ibutho Coal must leave us alone

Ibutho Coal must leave us alone

On Kenya’s Coast, a Struggle for the Sacred
Mining on Top Africa: London Summit Disrupted
Africa-UK Civil Society Letter to the Mining on Top Africa: London Summit
Case Studies: Is Mining really ‘on top’ in Africa?
Corporate Social Investment in South Africa: A view from the inside
PRESS RELEASE: African Civil Society Challenges London Mining Conference
The Community Speaks: Coal Mining in the Tete Province

The Community Speaks: Coal Mining in the Tete Province

  • Written on: 25 June 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Communities of South Africa’s Wild Coast: Stop forced mining on our sacred beaches!
South Africa: Fuleni communities tell Ibutho Coal to leave and never return!
Support the Maputo Declaration on Climate Justice!
Women‘s Perspectives on the Impact of Mining on the Right to Food
Conservation Refugees – Expelled from Paradise

Conservation Refugees – Expelled from Paradise

  • Written on: 08 April 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
A Healthy Relationship? Wellcome Trust’s refusal to cut ties with fossil fuel industry is unacceptable
In Pictures – Yes to Life No to Mining raises the voice of African civil society against the extractives
Let them eat carbon! The corporate plan to cook Africa in its own fossil fuels
African civil society and global allies challenge Chatham House conference on ‘Extractive Industries in Africa’
Divestment, in Solidarity: NAPE Uganda reach out to London’s divestment campaigners
DECLARATION:  WOMEN STAND THEIR GROUND AGAINST BIG COAL
Mining Our Roots

Mining Our Roots

  • Written on: 19 January 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Nnimmo Bassey says #YestoLifeNotoMining

Nnimmo Bassey says #YestoLifeNotoMining

  • Written on: 11 December 2014
  • Posted under: Videos
Ghana’s Upper West Coalition on Mining, Food, Water and Sacred Sites calls President to halt Mining activities in Upper West Region
United in resistance – Letters spark solidarity across continents
Save the Lower Zambezi Campaign

Save the Lower Zambezi Campaign

  • Written on: 10 November 2014
  • Posted under: Campaigns
Gold Rush: Protecting Sacred Groves in Ghana’s Upper West region
Ugandan Communities Resist Oil and Gas Extraction in Bunyoro Kingdom
Sierra Leone’s Mining Boom and Human Rights
War and the Militarisation of Mining in Eastern Congo
Drillers in the Mist: Soco International in Virunga National Park
The Impact of Mining on Human Rights in Uganda
Mining and its Impacts on Water, Food Sovereignty and Sacred National Sites in Uganda
South Africa’s Rainmakers Fight Against Coal

South Africa’s Rainmakers Fight Against Coal

Sacred Voices – A film and a message for the world

Start a Conversation. Share Words of Solidarity.

This website is about building a movement. We can only build a movement when we connect with one another. We invite you to do just that…

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *