The judgment recently handed down by the Constitutional Court in Maledu and Others vs Itereleng Bakgatla Mineral Resources comes after years of the constitutionally protected land rights of South Africans living in the former homelands being ignored by the department of mineral resources, traditional leaders and mining companies. The applicants before the court were called the Lesetlheng Village Community. They have been fighting for more than a decade to protect land near Rustenburg that their ancestors purchased almost 100 years ago. The community was finally vindicated by October’s unanimous judgment, which held that the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act requires a mining rights holder to comply with all applicable legislation in the exercise of those rights. That includes the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act, which requires that the holder of an informal land right must be consulted and give his or her consent before being deprived of that right.

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