Battle over mining rights in remote Eastern Cape villages

WILD COAST – Resident Zenzele Gampe says a battle over mining land has divided his community.
“We are no longer the community we were and never will be the same. Now some people can’t even visit each other because we have become enemies,” Gampe said.

“If a person who is against the mine has a funeral, those who want the mine won’t come and vice versa. Before it was never like that.”

Gampe added: “I know I can be killed anytime because there are people who want to force us to leaving our homes and our traditions.”

Gampe was born and raised in Sigidi, which is the first village in Umgungundlovu as you travel from Bizana, the nearest. He lives here with his wife and nine children, and spends most of his time in the garden where, like most villagers, gets most of his food.

Gampe is hostile to attempts by Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources (TEM), a subsidiary of Australian mining company MRC, to get mining rights for titanium in the area of Xolobeni,one of the villages in Umgungundlovu.

The battle over mining rights is violent. Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe was assassinated in March 2016.

Minister Mosebenzi Zwane announced in September 2016, that an 18-month moratorium on mining in the Xolobeni area, which froze the application by TEM and prevented any further mining applications.

Photo Credit- All Africa

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