In the wake of the brutal murder of KZN activist Fikile Ntshangase, Petmin, the unlisted mining house behind the expansion of the Somkhele mine the activist opposed, has defended its plans as good for the community. But the company has transparency issues, which do not help its case.
Petmin on Wednesday sought to clarify some of the issues around the Somkhele mine via a virtual media briefing and a statement. The heat has been on since activist Fikile Ntshangase was gunned down in front of her 11-year-old grandson outside her house at Ophondweni near Mtubatuba in KwaZulu-Natal on 22 October.
The vice-chairperson of a sub-committee of the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation, Ntshangase was at the forefront of a challenge against the expansion of the Somkhele mine. Several civil society organisations have condemned her murder, as has the company.
“Somkhele is the primary source of economic activity for a community of 220,000 people in the area 85km north of Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. To be sustainable for more than another two years, the mine needs to expand its operations to be able to mine a new ore body which will extend the life of the operation by another 10 years….