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CCS joins Greenpeace and R2K in solidarity meeting with Somkhele coal victims, northern KZN, 12 April

“Leave the coal in the hole”
say women from KwaZulu-Natal’s mining war zone

By Faith ka-Manzi and Patrick Bond

Skeletons of cattle and other animals litter a desolate looking land once lush with vegetation. The phenomenon of drought has never been experienced as badly, say the indigenous people of this ancestral land of the Zulus known as Fuleni.

Two coal companies are being blamed. One, Johannesburg-based Petmin, has operated in Somkhele since 2007. Early on, it dug out graves of ancestors to get at the rich anthracite. But in doing so, the Johannesburg firm removed the bones without requiting the long-rested spirits of the dead, in violation of sacred traditional protocol. Residents remain livid.
Hundreds of people removed from their land around Somkhele were also abandoned by their traditional leaders and elected leaders. Bought-off chiefs and politicians decided to side with the Johannesburg tormentors, thus permitting the rapid pollution of nearby water, land and air.

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