The application by the Chamber of Mines and seven mining communities against the Mining Charter was postponed indefinitely by the high court in Pretoria on Monday.
The Chamber of Mines‚ one of the applicants‚ had reached an agreement with the Minister of Mineral Resources to postpone the application.
However‚ seven other applicants‚ which represent the mining communities‚ were not part of the discussions. Their lawyer‚ environmental rights programme manager at the Lawyers for Human Rights‚ Michael Clements‚ said the court heard arguments on the postponement of the application.
“It is our view that the postponement of the application by the Chamber of Mines and the ministry is reflective of the pattern of exclusion of the communities‚” he said.
Lawyers for Human Rights represents the Sefikile‚ Lesetlheng‚ Babina Phuthi Ba Ga-Makola and Kgatlu communities‚ which all host mining operations on their land.
The Mining Affected Communities United in Action‚ Women Affected by Mining United in Action‚ and the Mining and Environmental Justice Community Network of South Africa were also applicants in the matter.
The communities wanted the court to rule that a new Mining Charter be drafted‚ and that these communities and others like them be properly consulted in the development of that document to ensure their rights and interests are protected.
Clements said in postponing the matter indefinitely‚ the court order recognised that the communities were stakeholders who should be consulted on any future discussions on the Mining Charter.
“This is a victory for the mining communities and we would encourage other mining communities to make themselves known to the Department of Mineral Resources‚” Clements said.