By Aninka Claassens
The Constitutional Court ruled unanimously last week that mining and the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) cannot trump the constitutional rights of the 17-million South Africans living in former homeland areas.
Rural people who had travelled to Johannesburg last Thursday to hear the Court’s decision in the case of Maledu and Others v Itereleng Bakgatla Mineral Resources cheered and hugged at the news.
The right affirmed by the court is contained in Section 25(6) of the Constitution, which protects people whose tenure is legally vulnerable because of past racially discriminatory laws and practices. Currently most former homeland land is registered in the Deeds Office as belonging to the government of the Republic of South Africa. Most homeland dwellers do not have recorded rights to their land.
At the same time traditional leaders are increasingly claiming that they, and not the people who have inherited it over generations, own the land and are entering into deals with mining companies without the consent of the rights holders directly affected. This is the situation that gave rise to the Maledu judgment.
Last week’s judgment rules…
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Publish date : 2018-11-01 14:45:57