Mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe deliberately misinterprets the findings of the court in the so-called Xolobeni judgment. To recap, the Pretoria high court said the department of minerals resources cannot grant a mining right in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) unless it complies with certain provisions. The main provision cited is compliance with the Interim Protection of Informal Rights to Land Act of 1996 (IPILRA). The court declared that the department is obliged to obtain the full and informed consent of the Umgungundlovu community, as holder of rights to land, prior to granting any mining right to the mining company concerned. The court further said that the MPRDA must be read together with IPILRA, in keeping with the purpose of IPILRA — to protect the informal rights of customary communities that were previously not protected by the law. Thus, they may not be deprived of their land without their consent, and must be placed in a pos...

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