MEDIA RELEASE – High Court Application brought against Tendele Coal Mine

Ancestral graves behind blade wire – Tendele Coal Mine

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 application was filed in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg against Tendele Coal Mining (Pty) Ltd by the Global Environmental Trust (GET), the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO) and a resident of Somkhele, Sabelo Dladla, whose family have been seriously impacted by the mine.

In addition to Tendele mine, other respondents include various government departments and municipalities.

Tendele is an open cast coal mine, owned by Petmin, and has been operating near the border of the historic Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park (HiP) since 2004. HiP is home to the largest concentration of Southern White Rhino in the world. This is a highly sensitive environmental area. Recent investigations by Youens Attorneys has revealed that the mine has done no environmental impact assessments (EIA) and has none of the environmental authorisations required to operate. As a result, the Tendele coal mine is operating illegally under the The National Environmental Management Act (and, prior to that, the Environment Conservation Act.) This is just one aspect of the case being brought against them.

By its own admission, Tendele has been relocating graves without the required permission in terms of Section 35 of the KwaZulu-Natal Heritage Act 4 of 2008. The mine also does not have a waste management licence as required by the Waste Act, nor any planning authorisation.

Though not part of the submission, Tendele operated without the required Water Use Licence for six years from the time the mine started its mining operations in 2004 until September 2010.

Given this concerning record of non-compliance, particularly the lack of Environmental Authorisations for the 222 square kilometre mining rights area in such an environmentally sensitive area, the submission appeals to the Court to stop all mining operations until the mine is compliant.

Sabelo Dladla is hoping for justice at last. Since 2007, his father, the late Mr Gednezar Dladla, led the Somkhele community’s challenge against the mine and various other authorities concerning the non-compliance of Tendele mine, but sadly never lived to see Tendele mine being called to account.



Court papers relating to this matter available at the links below:


Notice of Motion

Founding Affidavit


For comment or further information, please contact:


Spokesperson’s surname: Youens

First name: Kirsten

Designation: Attorney acting on behalf of the Applicants

Email address:

Mobile phone number 061 226 6868/ 032 5254657

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