A woman who was an activist against the expansion of a coal mine next to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, has been gunned down in front of her 11-year old grandson.

According to a joint statement issued by a number of environmental organisations, Fikile Ntshangase was shot dead when four attackers burst into her home in the Ophondweni area, near Mtubatuba, on Thursday evening. Indications are that nothing was taken during the attack.

The Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation – also known as MJECO – says tensions in the area have been increasing as one of the court challenges against the expansion of the Tendele coal mine has been drawing nearer.

The case will be heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal on the 3rd of November.

The expansion cannot take place until an agreement is reached about the relocation and compensation of 21 families.

It is alleged a recent MJECO meeting that Ntshangase attended was broken up by a number of men. Threats were that there would be bloodshed were also allegedly made.