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Environmental activist Fikile Ntshangase feared for safety before being murdered

30 October 2020 2:05 PM
Tags:
KZN
environmental activist
Fikile Ntshangase
Opencast mine

MCEJO's Billy Mnqondo said she felt her life was in danger after she refused to sign an MOU agreeing to the expansion of KZN mine.

The news that 65-year-old KwaZulu-Natal environmental activist Fikile Ntshangase had been shot dead in her Ophondweni home on 22 October sent shock waves through the community.

A legal dispute was in process, over the extension of an opencast mine near Somkhele, close to the oldest nature reserve in South Africa, Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park.

The mine is operated by Tendele Coal and local community activists, and conservationists have been trying to stop the expansion.

Nshangase was a member of the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO)

Founding member of MCEJO, Billy Mnqondo talks to Lester Kiewit about Fikile Ntshangase.

Mnqondo says the mine began operating in 2006. MCEJO did a social audit to ascertain whether the mine was complying with the law.

That was when we found the mining company was not complying with the law.

Billy Mnqondo, Environmental activist and founder - MCEJO

Mnqondo says, in his view, her murder is linked to her opposition to the expansion of the mine and relocation of certain communities as she had expressed her unhappiness.

Before she died...she called our chairperson to say the dogs had been barking all night...and then had she had requested of our chairperson to make sure that she had airtime so that if anything happened she must just call.

Billy Mnqondo, Environmental activist and founder - MCEJO

That was on the Monday night before she died, he says.

After that, she kept on calling saying I feel like something bad is going to happen because the dogs are barking all night.

Billy Mnqondo, Environmental activist and founder - MCEJO

She was about to sign the affidavit at the local police station to make sure MCEJO lawyers knew about the memorandum of understanding that she refused to sign, he explains.

She said the MOU was not a mandate from the community. And that is where the problem when she refused to sign it.

Billy Mnqondo, Environmental activist and founder - MCEJO

Listen to the interview below:




30 October 2020 2:05 PM
Tags:
KZN
environmental activist
Fikile Ntshangase
Opencast mine

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