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FF Plus welcomes court ruling that prohibits coal mining in natural conservation area in Mpumalanga

The FF Plus welcomes the Constitutional Court's ruling on Monday that prevents the mining giant, Atha Africa Ventures (AAV), from commencing with mining activities in the Mabola conservation area near Wakkerstroom before all pending court cases and applications against it have been finalised.

AAV has been trying to start mining coal in the well-watered conservation area Mabola in the Pixley Ka Seme Local Municipality (Volksrust, Wakkerstroom, Jantjieshoek, Amersfoort, Daggakraal) for the past six years, but has been confronted with unyielding opposition from eight different conservation organisations.

In March 2021, the FF Plus tabled a motion in the provincial Legislature requesting that the provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs must be compelled to answer questions, dating as far back as March 2020, that relate to the abovementioned mining issue.

The ANC rejected the motion.

In June 2021, the FF Plus sent written questions to Mpumalanga's former MEC for Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs, Mandla Msibi, regarding the fact that the protected status of a large part of Mabola was revoked, unilaterally and without valid reasons, by his predecessor, Vusi Shongwe, thus ensuring that the mine falls outside of the borders of the conservation area.

These questions have remained unanswered to this day.

Mpumalanga is at the top of the list of provinces with coal-mining companies that do not comply with the requirements of water-use licences in South Africa and the AAV issue is just one example of many where the required documentation is outstanding.

The rash allocation of applications for coal mining will end in disaster and the FF Plus will not rest until it has made sure that every law and regulation relating to mining and environmental conservation has been complied with.

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