MAC/20: Mines and Communities

A famous victory

Published by MAC on 2006-07-27


A famous victory

27th July 2006

Last week the Ga-Mawela community succeeded in obtaining a court order which will force Anglo American's subsidiary, Anglo Platinum, to surrender part of its surface mining lease.

This may seem minor, in terms of the land area now made available for sustainable farming.
Nor can the decision necessarily provide a precedent for other beleaguered black farmers to press their claims (such as those fighting the same company in Maandagshoek - see http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Action/press1150.htm)

Nonetheless, this is "the first case of [South African] labour tenants having expropriated land restored to them, "according to Ga-Mawela Land Claims committee secretary, Tiny Mangkwe.

Although Anglo Platinum decided not to contest the claim when it finally came to court, the battle continues between the community and company over construction of a dam (whose benefits would be shared with Xstrata plc). The Ga-Mawela say that, not only is the dam unnecesary and would flood scarce agricultural land, but will also reduce access to vital water supplies.

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