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The guiding document of the ANC, the Freedom Charter, states that SA’s mineral wealth shall be transferred to the people. The constitution establishes a democracy that requires meaningful participation by people in decisions that affect their rights and interests. In spite of this, the former liberation movement in power today often acts with little regard for the wishes of the communities directly affected by mining. The department of mineral resources seems determined to impose mining in Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape against the wishes of the communal landowners who will be directly affected, and who have waged a perilous struggle against the development for 15 years under the banner of the Amadiba Crisis Committee. Xolobeni is not an isolated case. The 2018 process of revising the Mining Charter, a central tool for transforming the mining industry, provides a case in point. Not because it illustrates the worst example of community engagement by the department, but rather because i...

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