Media Release – Summary of Proceedings: Tendele/Somkhele Coal Mining Case

MCEJO outside the Pietermaritzburg Supreme Court – photo by Rob Symons

The application brought by The Global Environment Trust (GET) and members of Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organization (MCEJO) against Tendele Coal Mining (PTY) LTD, on 24 August 2018 in the Pietermaritzburg Supreme Court has been heard. Judgement to be handed down in about 3 months

PIETERMARITZBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: Our day In court: Our senior counsel, Advocate Dickson, supported by Advocate Mazibuko and instructing attorney, Kirsten Youens, put our case across very well. During our argument, Judge Seegobin expressed concern at granting an order to close the mine while it applies for the necessary licences because of impact this could have on the economic situation of the country. Our argument is that if Tendele has no environmental authorisations, no waste management licenses, no cultural heritage permits and no planning permission, it is operating illegally. An order for the mine to continue operating in spite of this would be to clothe illegal acts in the legitimacy of a court order.

Later in the proceedings Judge Seegobin stated that mining in South Africa has come under the spotlight for various reasons. One of these was the huge impact that it has on poor people and on the environment. He mentioned the South African Human Rights Commission Report that was recently released and formed part of our court papers. He further stated that as much as Tendele may argue that they are operating legally, we can’t “lose sight of these issues”.

Tendele was represented by their attorneys and advocates from Johannesburg. Mine management and several Indunas were present in court. Their advocate stated that it is not really new that mines have a massive impact on communities. “There are always inevitable conflicts and there have been since the 1950s.”Their argument is that, with the exception of the cultural heritage laws (which they concede were needed but not complied with), the legislation does not apply to them and no authorisations are needed.

Our 3000 MCEJO members were represented by 200 people who travelled from Zululand at 3am to be there. SAPS and Msunduzi municipality officials were happy with the way MCEJO organised themselves.

We trust that Judge Seegobin will be strong in his statement against mining in contravention of the law and finds in favour of thousands of people who want justice and confirmation that #LawApplies2All.

Judgement to be handed down in about 3 months.



All photos in the following albums are available for download. For photographic enquiries please contact Rob Symons – 082 495 6249

Tendele Mine/Somkhele

Tendele/Somkhele Court Case

Here are some useful links:

The Truth about Tendele – Mine throws Lie Line:

Summary of the Court case with links to court papers:

For background on Save our iMfolozi Wilderness Campaign:

Website for The Global Environmental Trust


Kirsten Youens, Legal advisor for GET and MCEJO – 0612266868

Sabelo Dladla, MCEJO, Second Applicant – 0834647671

Sheila Berry, Spokesperson for the Global Environmental Trust – 082 295 7328

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