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Victory for mining community networks

- Lee-Anne Bruce

High Court rules community networks must be joined to Mining Charter review and Chamber of Mines must pay costs for opposing their application

Today the Pretoria High Court ruled that mining community networks be granted leave to intervene in the review of the Mining Charter brought by the Chamber of Mines against the Minister of Mineral Resources. The Court further ordered that the Chamber of Mines must pay legal costs for opposing the community networks’ intervention in the case.

Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA), Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA), and the Mining and Environmental Justice Network of South Africa (MEJCON-SA), represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, have now been joined to the Mining Charter review. During today’s hearing, the Minister of Mineral Resources made it clear that community networks were welcome to join the review provided that they were able to keep to the agreed time frames. The Chamber of Mines made it equally clear that they opposed the communities’ intervention.

“We are very pleased with today’s ruling, which promises communities will have a voice in the Mining Charter review,” says Nester Ndebele, National Convenor of MACUA. “This is a step towards recognising that communities are a core stakeholder in mining and must have a say in the laws and policies that affect them.”

“The Court has acknowledged the urgency of this application and accepted that the community networks would not delay the review or prejudice the other parties by intervening,” says Wandisa Phama, attorney at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies. “It is gratifying that the Court recognised there was no basis for the Chamber of Mines opposing the communities’ intervention by awarding a cost order against them.”

The main review is set to be heard on 13 and 14 December 2017

For inquiries, please contact:

From the mining community networks:

From the Centre for Applied Legal Studies:


Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) is a co-ordinating body representing and advancing the rights and interests of mine-affected communities across eight provinces of South Africa. The network is made up of 50 community organisations and calls for communities to be granted a greater say in issues that affect their human rights and which they believe is denied to them in current regulations governing the mining sector.


Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA) is an official national platform formed within MACUA with the purpose of advancing the rights and interests of women in mining affected communities. WAMUA aims to advance and support women in mining affected communities to strengthen their participation in community decision making processes and influencing local, provincial and national policy and legislative process in the mining sector.


The Mining and Environmental Justice Community Network of South Africa (MEJCON-SA) is a network of communities, community based organisations and community members whose environmental and human rights are affected, directly or indirectly, by mining and mining-related activities. Since its constitution on 17 October 2012, MEJCON-SA’s membership has continued to grow and includes representatives of various individuals, community-based and civil-society organisations throughout South Africa.


The Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) is a public interest law organisation based at the School of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand. Founded in 1978 by Professor John Dugard, CALS continues to use a combination of research, advocacy and litigation to advance human rights and social justice. Read more about our work at