DA slams Mantashe for ‘apartheid’ tactics
The DA has accused minister of mineral and resources Gwede Mantashe of trying to bulldoze the community of Xolobeni in Bizana into agreeing to a titanium mine.
This follows Mantashe’s visit to the area on Wednesday, which turned violent when police fired stun grenades to disperse angry villagers.
“There must be broader participation and there must be consensus with the community. We can’t allow ministers like Mantashe to bulldoze our people,” DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga said.
Bhanga added that he was planning to visit Bizana to engage with the community together with party parliamentary chief John Steenhuisen.
An impassioned Bhanga lambasted Mantashe, saying that the government was trying to use the same measures of forceful removal that the apartheid government had.
“The government is trying to dictate to the people. It is trying to expropriate and bulldoze people out of that land.”
Community members are against the issuing of a titanium mining licence to Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM).
The community has been at loggerheads with the government waging a 15-year battle, led by the Amadiba Crisis Committee, against the issuing of a licence to strip-mine the red coastal dunes at Xolobeni.
Mantashe, however, has argued that the area needs the jobs and development a mine would bring.
Last week, agrarian and food doctoral researcher Andrew Bennie wrote in the Daily Maverick that there was no research and no evidence to show that the mine would create jobs and development. He said existing research showed that “mining will not bring more benefits to those living in Amadiba than other options such as supporting local tourism, agriculture and ecological protection”.
Bennie said his empirical research showed that agricultural production had expanded and informal sales of sweet potatoes and madumbes was earning farmers in the Sigidi area alone around R4.5m a year.
In November, the high court in Pretoria ruled that the minister of mineral resources may not grant mining rights without the consent of the community and the people directly affected by that mining right.
Mantashe is appealing the ruling.
In Buffalo City Metro, Bhanga said the party was counting on the factional battles within the ANC to secure a vote of no confidence in the mayor, Xola Pakati. The DA will table its motion during the next council meeting on Friday.
“The DA will be moving that motion with the hope that the factions of the ANC are going to support our call and we will wake up the day after that motion with a new mayor.”
As it stands, the ANC has an overwhelming majority in council with 60 seats followed by the DA with 24...