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Joint letter to Minister of Environmental Affairs re: permission to conduct commercial mining in protected environments

February 17, 2017 at 2:12 pm

On 17 February, the Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD), BirdLife South Africa (BirdLife), Centre for Environmental Rights (CER), Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE), groundWork, the Mining and Environmental Justice Community Network of South Africa (MEJCON-SA) and the Worldwide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA) wrote a letter to the Minister of Environmental Affairs noting their concern for the dangerous precedent set by her recent decision to allow commercial mining in the Mabola Protected Environment in terms of section 48(1)(b) of the National environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003 (NEMPAA). In the letter, the Minister was also called upon to conduct pubic participation in relation to all decisions relating to the exercise of her discretion in terms of section 48(1)(b) of the NEMPAA.

Section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

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