The Department of Mineral Resources on Thursday rejected claims that it is distributing food parcels to appease the community in the Xolobeni matter.
“The department has noted with concern false claims from the Amadiba Crisis Committee that the department is involved in a ‘campaign’ in Xolobeni through distribution of food parcels ahead of the independent survey announced by the Minister of Mineral Resources,” it said in a statement.
It further added that it has no knowledge of the claims and appealed to the Amadiba Crisis Committee to desist from spreading false information and misleading the public.
“All affected parties will be duly notified when the survey commences,” it said.
Last week, Minister Gwede Mantashe announced the imminent commencement of an independent survey to be undertaken in Xolobeni. The survey, which is intended to establish if mining will proceed in that area, will commence in the next few weeks.
The announcement of the survey followed the Minister’s second meeting with the broader community.
The survey is in line with one of the outcomes of the court judgment of the High Court in North Gauteng last year, which called for thorough consultation of the Xolobeni community prior to any granting of a mining right.
Announcing the survey, Mantashe said based on the outcomes of the survey, “we will then take a firm decision on the way forward”.
“If the community says no, there will be no mining. If the community says yes, mining will proceed. If mining goes ahead in Xolobeni, it must be sustainable and coexist with tourism, agriculture and other economic development initiatives,” he said at the time.
The debate on Xolobeni was sparked when an Australian mining company was granted a licence to mine in the area. The matter has been hanging from 2002. – SAnews.gov.za