Community activist Lucky Shabalala faces charges of assault and intimidation after leading a protest on Ikwezi Coal. His lawyers and the community of Kliprand believe the cvharges are just a smokescreen and an attempt by Ikwezi to initmidate those who raise objection against human rights violations by Ikwezi. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media
Ernest Ngwenya’s home of over 40 years may soon be reduced to rubble. Already it’s surrounded by rubble from the Ikwezi Mine in Kliprand, a rural settlement near Danhausser in KwaZulu-Natal.
The area which consists of families that rely on subsistence farming is in the throes of a scramble for coal by Ikwezi which has demolished homes, displaced families and dug up graves to expand its operations.
“I think we will
be removed as time goes by,” says Ngwenya, whose family faces the daily challenges
of black dust from the coal, noise and dust from trucks passing just by his
“I don’t know
what will happen. We are just confused,” he says.
whose family home was demolished last year allegedly with an inappropriate
court order, now find themselves squatting on a relative’s piece of land near
Osizweni in Newcastle. They have never been compensated for the loss of their
home, furniture, cattle and for their dignity.
Elizabeth Hadebe also finds herself in a similar situation, living in a shack
on land she doesn’t own after her home was demolished last year. They are
victims of a new scramble for land which pits mining companies and communities
whose traditional way of life is under threat from mining.
“Life has changed a lot. We are devastated. The mine has brought us misery. I’m suffering even the kids are not coping at school. They are sick too,” says Hadebe on the impact of her forced removal from her home.
*This is part of
Ledwaba’s upcoming book on land reform and land politics in the new South Africa.