AmaMpondo Royal House visits the Amadiba community, Wild Coast, Wednesday 12 February, to solve crisis

AmaMpondo Royal House visits the Amadiba community, Wild Coast, Wednesday 12 February, to solve crisis.
Press Statement 2014-02-06:

On Wednesday 12th of February, the Qaukeni Royal House together with the Queen of Pondoland, are visiting Amadiba-Umgungundlovu Tribal Authority (TA). The reason for the visit is actions by Amadiba Chief, Mr Lunga Baleni, to shut down and demand the keys to the hall of the Umgungundlovu TA Great Place and the keys for Umgungundlovu Sub TA hall.

This is the TA in the coastal area of the Amadiba clan. It is this area that would be directly affected by the plans for mining on the Wild Coast entertained by MRC, an Australian mining company.

Chief Lunga gave order to Head Woman Cynthia Baleni to close the halls and bring keys on Wednesday 29th. On that day she was accompanied by tribal councillors and close to 300 community members, travelling 30 km inland with the keys, to hand them to the chief but first demanding explanation for his request. On arrival, the community learnt that the Chief had invited police from Mpisi Police station. The encounter was non-violent. Maybe the Chief expected harsh confrontation for his decision. He refused to engage and to give an explanation. He left the site in a new Toyota Fortuna.

The back ground to this conflict is the long standing opposition of the Amadiba community to mining on their ancestral land. MRC is once again applying for 'prospecting rights' in Kwayana bloc. This is a part of a 22 km long and 2 km wide coast line strip where MRC wants to do open cast mining. At a well-attended community meeting 18 April 2013, the prospecting application was again opposed by all present. Chief Lunga announced that it was up to the affected community in Umgungundlovu to decide. However, in January this year the TA and the community have become aware of a letter from him to the mining consultant dated 26 April 2013. In the letter he gives his warm support to the MRC plans, speaking for the whole Amadiba. The letter undermines the existence of the coastal TA and it does not mention the meeting that he and community of Umgungundlovu attended on April 18, 2013.

A delegation from Umgungundlovu met the Royal Family on 2 nd of February to report about the community predicament. The response by the Royal House was to request chief Lunga and the community affected to attend a meeting to be held at Umgungundlovu Great Place on the 12 February 2014.

For further information and directions:
Nonhle Mbuthuma 076 359 2982 or Mzamo Dlamini 072 194 0949.
Amadiba Crisis Committee -- Press Statement 2014-02-06

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