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.

  • Hluhluwe National Park

    Posted on 22 September 2016

    Just an amateur film of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi National Park, by Dave Rutherford. To read more about this Case, click here.

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