SPEAK OUT: Women Activists VS Tendele Mine
Women activists from Somkhele in northern KwaZulu-Natal, an area afflicted by a an open cast coal mine, have fought for over five years to have their voices heard and their rights to water, land, livelihoods and lives respected. Dismissed as ‘troublemakers’ for their resistance to mining activity activists there, including women, have repeatedly sought the attention of the Tendele mine, through letters, petitions and marches, but have yet to receive adequate response and redress.
According to participatory action research (PAR) carried out by women activists in Somkhele and the nearby area of Fuleni, the Tendele mine operations have had extremely negative impacts on the surrounding communities. These impacts are extensive and include land and water grabs; infections of the skin, eyes, lungs and reproductive organs caused by coal dust and water pollution; mine blasts that have cracked houses; grave desecrations; and community conflict. Women bear the heaviest burden of many of these impacts due to their roles as caregivers and subsistence producers.
Drawing on PAR and a women’s water assembly held in northern KwaZulu-Natal in August 2016, WoMin and its allies published an article for Amandla Magazine (September 2016) on the experiences and struggles of women in Somkhele and Fuleni. This provoked a detailed written response from Tendele, which WoMin and its allies have, in turn, responded to. Amandla Magazine covered this response in its December issue. WoMin is sharing this important written record that exposes Tendele Coal for its lies, flouting of law and general disregard for the people of Somkhele and Fuleni. All contributions of allied organisations and of our sisters in Somkhele and Fuleni are fully acknowledged. Access all the documents below: