A group of 38 villagers won an important victory in the Constitutional Court against their own community mining company and set a precedent for how land owners should be dealt with by mining companies. In a ruling that encompassed the broad sweep of the Mineral & Petroleum Resources Development Act, customary law, the constitution and the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act, a full bench of Constitutional Court judges agreed the 38 owners of 13 sections of a farm had their rights infringed. The Itireleng Bakgatla Mineral Resources company set up by the traditional council of the Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela community, of which the 38 villagers were part, had run into resistance to the construction of a platinum mine on the farm. Itireleng approached the high court in Mafikeng and secured an eviction order against the villagers and an interdict to prevent them from returning to the farm subject to the outcome of an appeal launched by the villagers. The high court refused them leave...

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