Skip to Content

Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

Support Us Subscribe Search


Environmental justice by advocating for better environmental laws and improved implementation of laws.

Somkhele Anthracite Mine

CER as Amicus Curiae in re: Global Environmental Trust, Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation and Mr Sabelo Dladla v Tendele Coal Mining, Ingonyama Trust and others

In October 2018 judgment was handed down in a matter where the Global Environmental Trust, the Mfolozi Environmental Justice Organisation and Mr Sabelo Dladla (the Applicants) had applied for an interdict restraining Tendele Coal Mining (Pty) Ltd from continuing its coal mining operations at the Somkhele anthracite mine in KwaZulu-Natal near the border of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Nature Reserve. The Applicants had asserted that Tendele Coal Mining did not have all the necessary environmental authorisations required for its operations and that it was therefore mining illegally.

Finding that the mine did not lack the necessary environmental authorisations, the High Court dismissed their application, and ordered the Applicants to pay the mine’s legal costs.   Global Environmental Trust, the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation and Mr Sabelo Dladla applied for permission to appeal that judgment.

CER took issue with both the High Court’s interpretation of the law as well as the costs order against the Applicants in circumstances where they acted in the public interest and sought to vindicate their Constitutional rights. CER therefore applied for leave to intervene as amicus curiae in the application for leave to appeal, the hearing of which was held in September 2019.

The CER was granted permission to be admitted as amicus in the leave to appeal application and the applicants were granted permission to appeal the judgement in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

An additional amicus curiae, consisting of the Mpukunyoni Traditional Council, Mpukunyoni Community Mining Forum, Association of Mine Workers and Constructions Union and the National Union of Mine Workers, was also admitted in the matter.

The SCA appeal was heard on 3 November 2020 and we are currently awaiting judgement.

Pleading in the Supreme Court of Appeal

Centre for Environmental Rights’ Amicus papers

Additional applications for admission of amici