Tendele Coal Mining should be ordered to declare its profits: Ngcukaitobi

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Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (Mjeco) has argued in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein that Tendele Coal Mining should be ordered to declare profits made from alleged illegal mining operations next to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast.

Mcejo is appealing the High Court order which dismissed their application to interdict the mining operations of Tendele.

Senior counsel, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi has argued that Tendele failed to comply with various pieces of legislation, which included contravening the provisions of the National Environmental Management Act.

Ngcukaitobi has submitted that the illegality should be undone and that there ought to be consequences.

Tendele Coal Mining has been in operation at its Somkele operation since 2007. The mine’s planned expansion requires 21 families to be relocated from their ancestral land which many have lived on for generations.

They are arguing that Tendele has been operating without environmental authorisations. Ngcukaitobi contends that the consequences of failing to obtain the authorisations before and after the commencement of mining operations should be declared unconstitutional and unlawful.

He says all the profits which were acquired illegally should be paid over to communities or other entities.

“Often, people break the law in the name of good, but if we allow the breaking of the law in the name of good, the law itself will come into disrepute. So, it is necessary in fashioning a just and equitable relief. No one is going to close the mine. The idea is farfetched. My client did not ask for the mine to be closed. What is necessary is that one should draw a distinction between allowing rampant illegality and a case where people say well what about our jobs.”

Tendele has argued that the appellant’s case is merely bland allegations.

Advocate Peter Lazarus contends that appellants should specify which activities they are talking about in their case.

Judgment has been reserved.