The Crowd vs. Destructive Mining in Zululand

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Destructive Mining in Zululand


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The Crowd claims

Coal companies and the South African government have to stop with coal mining that puts Zululand and its people in danger and threatens the world’s greatest concentration of rhinos in the wilderness area of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve.

Next legal action of the crowd

Preparation for interdicting Tendele Coal (Pty) Ltd and appealing the Mining Right granted by the Department of Mineral Resources. Taking decisions made by Department of Mineral Resources and/or Environmental Affairs on review. Bringing claims for compensation for people on the border of the mining activities. These are scheduled for 2018. To cover the ongoing cost for preparation of this winnable environmental case, The Crowd is targeting to raise US $3,000 or 2.500 euros per month.


Around the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, with the greatest concentration of rhinos in the world, is current and proposed open cast coal mining. The mining causes irreparable environmental damage and hazardous living conditions for the people who have water shortages, health issues, cracked houses, loss of land and livestock, and ongoing dust and noise. The light and noise pollution already negatively affects the Game Reserve, a place where thousands of visitors go to enjoy the peace of the bush. Permitting mining to continue unabated will put the health and daily food of the surrounding communities under further threat. Many people are forced to leave their homeland. Their lives are mined away. For just a few there will be work for a couple of months or years in a coal mining industry that is destroying their own land.

Legal Progress

At the same time the legal team is working on bringing claims for compensation for the hundreds of people who have already suffered as a result of being relocated by the mine or suffering as a result of living so close to it. Meanwhile, in the Fuleni Reserve to the south of the wilderness area, a new mining rights application is imminent. We successfully fought Ibutho Coal’s previous application and will do so again.

Case background and who The Crowd supports

January 2014 Ibutho Coal applied for mining rights to construct an open cast coal mine. The iMfolozi Wilderness lies within the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa, home to a vast array of wildlife, including the Big Five. The area currently supports the greatest concentration of rhinoceros in the world. It also has a strong cultural heritage, dating back to the Stone Age with a strong connection to Zulu people, including King Shaka.

Two other mining operations are already working nearby, with devastating effects on nature and people, not to forget the water shortage for everyone. Targeted legal action can push Ibutho Coal back and will help put an end to mining in South Africa at the expense of people, their cultural heritage, and nature in the form of animals like rhinos.

The Tendele coal mine at Somkhele has been operating since 2004 without environmental authorizations or compliance with cultural heritage legislation and planning laws. The beautiful rural landscape and the peace and tranquility of the area is ruined. The trucks can be heard up to 15km away 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In surrounding communities people wake up in the middle of the night from the noise. People suffer as a result of loss of their grazing and agricultural land, no water, and loss of livestock. Their houses are cracked from the blasting and they suffer from respiratory illnesses.

Targeted legal action can push Tendele and Ibutho Coal back and will help put an end to unscrupulous mining in South Africa at the expense of people, their cultural heritage, and nature in the form of highly threatened animals, like rhinos.

The Crowd Versus works together with Global Environmental Trust (GET), which assists communities in areas of environmental significance affected by bad planning and unscrupulous environmental practices.  GET protects the human rights of individuals and communities in South Africa who are fighting against harm to their environment.

  • Imvukuzane Resources Threatens Fuleni Reserve and iMfolozi Wilderness

    Posted on 15 June 2018

    Imvukuzane Resources threatens the Fuleni Reserve and the iMfolozi wilderness  June 15, 2018 Tendele Mine – Somkhele   URGENT APPEAL – REGISTER NOW AS AN INTERESTED AND AFFECTED PARTY (IAP) WE NEED YOUR HELP TO STOP A DEVASTATING NEW COAL MINE ON THE BORDER OF THE HLUHLUWE-IMFOLOZI PARK Background For the second time in four […]

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  • Fighting destructive mining in South Africa

    Posted on 10 March 2018

    Fighting destructive mining in South Africa: help MACUA activists raise profile of “right to say No!” campaign  March 9, 2018 Mining Affected Communities in United Action started this petition to the South African Department of Mineral Resources and 3 others Mining-affected communities are repeatedly denied what is known as the right to free prior and informed consent (FPIC) when it comes […]

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  • Urgent letter to DMR

    Posted on 10 March 2018

    Urgent letter to DMR  March 8, 2018 “Based on information received via the attached map received today, it is clear that Tendele Coal Mining (Pty) Ltd is mining in KwaQubuka North, near the red star depicted on the map. This is an area authorised by the mining right under appeal.” RE: NOTICE OF APPEAL AGAINST […]

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  • Two Day Report of the meeting held in Somkhele 26&27 Jan 2018 – Hosted by the MACUA/MCEJO (NGO) and GET

    Posted on 22 February 2018

    By Oscar Gwala On the 26th January 2018, the first day of a two day workshop, 17 participants attended: 7 males and 10 females representing the 6 Somkhele villages directly affected by the Tendele coal mine, namely: Kwamyeki, Dubelenkunzi, Mahhujini, Qubuka, Emachibini and lastly Esiyembeni. The day started off with Billy Mnqondo introducing everyone who […]

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  • High Court Application brought against the other mine (Tendele Coal Mine)

    Posted on 15 October 2017

    Evidence has come to light that Tendele’s open cast coal mine near the boundary of the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park has been operating for 13 years without the required environmental authorisation, prompting an application to the High Court to stop operations until the mine is compliant. PIETERMARITZBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – On Tuesday, 10 October 2017, an […]

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  • Good News!

    Posted on 9 September 2017

    With Ibutho Coal (Pty) Ltd having gone to ground in mid-2016, we breathed a short sigh of relief and basked in our victory. For mining to be pursued again in Fuleni, a new mining right application and EIA process would need to instigated. For now, Fuleni is safe.

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  • Imfolozi bridge

    Posted on 9 September 2017

    Update from teh save our Imfolozi Wilderness Campaign: The Department of Transport has submitted an application for the development of a large bridge over the Mfolozi River only 2 kms from the boundary of HiP and suggests that it will attract ‘regional traffic’. This will also attract coal trucks through rural villages, creating major safety […]

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  • A message from Kirsten Youens, attorney of the The Crowd vs Ibutho Case

    Posted on 6 September 2017

    Dangers of being a defender of environmental justice in South Africa The fifth anniversary of the Marikana mine massacre on 16 August 2017 serves as a stark reminder that mining is a very dangerous industry to oppose. A recent report issued by Global Witness states [1] that “at least 200 people were killed in 24 […]

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