16 October 2018 at 2:13 pm
On Friday, 12 October 2018, more than 4 years after the declaration of the Mabola Protected Environment, the MEC for Environment in Mpumalanga, Vusi Shongwe, published a notice of intention to exclude the properties that make up the proposed coal mining area from the Mabola Protected Environment, declared in 2014. The notice provides for a comment period of 60 days.
On Monday, 15 October 2018, the State Attorney filed an affidavit in the judicial review brought by the civil society coalition to set aside the joint permission given by former Mineral Resources Minister Zwane and the late Environment Minister Molewa in 2016, requesting the Pretoria High Court to postpone the coalition’s review application sine die, or without a new date. The coalition filed an answering affidavit, opposing this request, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday, 16 October 2018, Judge Norman Davis was not happy about the fact that the MEC sought a postponement, but had not deposed to an affidavit himself. Instead, the State Attorney, acting for the state respondents, had deposed to the affidavit, stating that he had not been able to reach the MEC. The Judge accordingly stood the matter down until Wednesday morning, requiring that MEC Shongwe files his own version of events on affidavit – to explain to the court the late publication of the gazetted notice, given its potential impact on the judicial review application to be heard one court day later.
All court papers are available here under the drop down headings “Legal Challenges” and “Judicial review of the decisions by the Minister of Mineral Resources and the Minister of Environmental Affairs to give Atha-Africa-Ventures (Pty) Ltd permission to mine in a protected environment in terms of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003″, as well as the court papers relating to the postponement application (highlighted in red), which we will update continuously.
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