Mantashe, you are not welcome – anti-mining group

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The Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) has drawn a line in the sand, vowing that all hell will break loose should mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe visit Xolobeni in Mbizana on Thursday.The anti-mining group has also threatened a second Pondo Revolt, saying if Mantashe and the ANC-led government wanted war, they would meet them on the battlefield.However, Mantashe said he would not be intimidated by a small group and confirmed that he, tourism minister Derek Hanekom and economic development minister Ebrahim Patel would visit on Thursday.Mantashe’s office and the ACC have been at loggerheads about the planned mining in Xolobeni for years now.In 2018, the Pretoria high court ruled that the mineral resources minister would have to obtain full and formal consent from the Xolobeni community before granting mining rights in the area to Australian company Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources.Mantashe has appealed against the decision.However, he announced his department would hold a referendum to decide whether or not the planned mining would go ahead.Crisis committee spokesperson Nonhle Mbhuthuma said they would fight to the bitter end to ensure there was no mining in the area.“We won’t cower out of this one. There will be a second Pondo Revolt if it must happen.“[Mantashe] and the ANC government want war.“If they want to fight, they must fight us, but the only thing we’re not doing is giving up our land – never.”Scores of people were killed during the Pondo Revolt between 1950 and 1961 when amaMpondo revolted against apartheid and traditional leaders who were seen to have been co-opted by the state.Mbhuthuma said Mantashe was imposing himself on Xolobeni.“We’ve told him he’s not welcome in Xolobeni because the matter is in court, and he has lost in court.“We should communicate with him only through courts and not contradict ourselves.“We will be out in numbers to deliver the message to him.“He’s hiding behind development – he is not the minister of economic development, so why is he coming?“He’s hiding behind that department to push his mining agenda.”The group’s lawyers have written to Mantashe after they “received instructions” that he had no basis to visit Xolobeni until he dropped his appeal.Mantashe said the people of Xolobeni wanted him there.“In a conflict [over] an idea, you don’t block engagement.“You go, engage and convince everyone, including me.“I gave the Amadiba Crisis Committee an opportunity and had discussions.“It’s not [ACC’s] land that I’m going to. It’s the land of the people of Xolobeni.“I’ve never faced a hostile environment in Xolobeni, except a group calling itself Amadiba Crisis Committee.“I can’t give up the lives of the people of Xolobeni to a small group.”Xolobeni Youth for Sustainable Development spokesperson Sifiso Ndovela said the promining group welcomed Mantashe’s visit and backed a referendum.

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