The sham "consultation" visit to the Wild Coast by mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe on Sunday shows key sectors of the government still have a lot to learn. It is tragic that so many lives have been lost in violent confrontations — chief among them Marikana — that could have been resolved peacefully. Mantashe rolled into Xolobeni, just south of Port Edward, accompanied by a heavy contingent of riot police, to hear the aMadiba community’s objections to plans to mine its land, but neglected to include those opposed to mining in the programme. The tent was filled with people who had been bused in, while those whose land would be mined made their way to the tent on foot. As those who came before him found out the hard way, Mantashe learnt that you cannot ignore the other side. The meeting descended into chaos when the aMadiba Crisis Committee demanded to be heard. Teargas was fired and its lawyer was arrested.

The situation in Pondoland requires careful, impartial handlin...

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