Amnesty International is calling on the government to respect a high court decision that stopped mining in Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape because the community does not want their land to be mined. The precedent-setting judgment prevents the government from issuing a mining licence without the consent of the customary community that owns the land. Amnesty International made the call at a media conference in Rosebank, Johannesburg, on Monday to mark global Human Rights Day.

Johan Lorenzen, a lawyer for the Xolobeni community, said the department of mineral resources had until Thursday to issue its intention to appeal the judgment — and the community was expecting this to happen. Shenilla Mohamed, Amnesty International SA’s executive director, said: “We are calling on the government to respect the community’s wishes.” High court judge Annelie Basson ruled in November that the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act gave customary communities the right to say what happens to...

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