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To: Dr. Gion George DFFE, Gwede Mantashe DMRE

De-COAL-onise Tendele!

Zululand, home to the proud Zulu nation, rich traditions, historical artefacts, and the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game park, attracts tourists and historians. However, this idyllic image is marred by the brutal reality of exploitation. Rich history and natural beauty are bulldozed for profit, displacing communities, increasing crime, and causing fear. The Tendele (Somkhele) Coal Mine, replacing the mighty kings, leaves death and destruction, with sickly communities, school dropouts, and violence against those protecting their cultural lands.

Tendele (Somkhele) has been bullying the Zulu Kingdom for decades, it’s time to tell the Coal-onisers at Tendele, “Hamba- leave Zululand alone”.

Why is this important?

Tendele was granted the Mining Rights (MR) in October 2016. The MR was contested and on 4 May 2022 the Pretoria High Court handed down a judgment relating to the Area 4 & 5 MR and its associated Environmental Management Programme (EMPr) held by Tendele (Court Case No: 82865/2018). The decisions to grant the MR and approve the EMPr were declared invalid by the Judge. [1]

The MR and its EMPr were not, however, set aside by the Court but the appeal proceedings before the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) have been reopened and the abuse and bullying has continued. Fear of reprisals, intimidations and assassinations are part of the Zululand communities daily lives, your punishment if you say no to the coal-onisers. Just recently, an Activist, Mama Fikele, who stood up against Tendele Somkhele coal mine was assassinated. [2]

Tendele Somkhele are now on their 3rd Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP) in as many years, and each time a new EAP is assigned to push the Tendele Somkhele destruction. The consultations are flawed and EIA critically flawed.

Disturbing facts have come to light, no sooner had Tendele Somkhele’s consultants put out their flawed I&AP, even although the consulting period is not halfway through, Tendele Somkhele is bulldozing it’s way through community lands, forcibly removing households or leaving them to watch their neighbour’s lands being bulldozed. Traumatizing and bullying communities yet again. [3]

Very little rehabilitation has taken place in past open cast mining areas as required by the Department of Agriculture, mined areas to be returned to arable land. Instead, in the wake of the Tendele Coal-onisers, all that has been left is vast spaces of destruction. 

The destruction left behind by Tendele’s previous mining has created amongst the environmental destruction and health impact, additional fire risks.

South Africa is a water scarce country, where will Tendele get their water from as coal needs thousands of litres of water to wash their coal? Does the community, their livestock and our wildlife once again need to fight for access to water or is Tendele given priority, Profit before people? The UN has recognised water as a fundamental Human Right. [4]

Clean Air is also a basic human Right, it is a well researched fact that wind can carry particles of coal dust for up to 40 KM, contaminating and affecting human and environmental ecosystems. Stockpiled or left over coal undergoes atmospheric oxidation and desorption processes during open air storage, these processes release gases into the atmosphere, to once again, negatively impact human and environmental ecosystems.

Every few years, the Zululand communities and their homesteads are needing to play hopscotch with the Coal-onisers as they’re forcibly removed from one area to another because new destructive coal mining is needed. Each new coal mining application brings with it empty promises of job creation, what happens to the workers from their previous mine, were their contracts terminated and they’re now left unemployed or have they left due to bad health caused by coal mining, or worse, have they passed on, also due to the impact of coal mining? [5]

What do we want!

Tendele Somkhele’s latest onslaught and bullying on the Zulu Kingdom needs to come to an end, South Africa has signed the Paris Agreement and needs to adhere to the Presidential Climate Commission, we don’t need more coal, we need a just transition to renewable energy!  End coal by coal-onisers before it ends us!! PeoplePower!!!

What you can do in 2 easy steps! 

  1. Sign and share this petition.
  2. Copy and paste the email below to send your comments against the Tendele Somkhele Expansion:

Subject line: I OBJECT to the proposed Tendele Somkhele expansion!
Send to: [email protected] 

To whom it may concern,
I, (your name), the undersigned, am an I&AP in the proposed expansion of Petmin's Tendele coal mine.

I OBJECT to the proposed Tendele expansion ref: 41106422 for the following reasons;
  • The coal mine will destroy the natural biodiversity of Zululand
  • Coal dust from the mining area will contaminate our waterways and compromise our air quality 
  • List more reasons. (as many as you feel is right for you).

Title of Project: Tendele S& EIA
Document on Public Display: Draft Environmental Impact Report and EMPr
Public Disclosure Dates: 15 May 2024 to 19 June 2024
Contact Person: WSP Public Participation Office([email protected])
Reference: 41106422

Signed (your name and contact details – email add is good)

Photo credit All RISE Attorneys


2024-06-15 08:36:28 +0200

100 signatures reached

2024-06-14 09:25:06 +0200

50 signatures reached

2024-06-12 08:21:21 +0200

25 signatures reached

2024-06-10 23:02:17 +0200

10 signatures reached