The coal-mining community says the action by the NPA to block the sale of Optimum Mine is ill-fated.
The Community of Hendrina and Middelburg in Mpumalanga have marched to the NPA offices in Tshwane, this as the National Prosecuting Authority approaches the courts for control of the mine.
The community delivered their memorandum just after midday, Tuesday 14 Dec 2021.
In a statement, the residents say should the mine be closed the locality will bear the brunt of the move by the prosecuting authority.
Last week the NPA filed a preservation application in the North Gauteng High Court to have the infamous asset owned by Tegeta Resources seized and forfeited to the state.
The NPA says it now believes the mine was purchased with the proceeds of crime.
However, community leaders are questioning why now after four years that state capture allegations have been out in the public domain.
Community spokesperson Clifford Masinga said they believe the NPA is playing politics with the livelihoods of thousands of people.
“If the NPA succeeds in these proceedings, they will have in effect taken food from the mouths of 500 members of this community,” said Masinga.
The Investigating Directorate (ID) of the National Prosecuting Authority last week filed two High Court applications for preservation orders under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.
In one of the applications, the NPA states its claim to R1.3bn in debt, arising from coal prepayments and loans, belonging to UK-based Templar Capital.
The other application seeks to take the Gupta family’s shares in Optimum Coal Mine and the lucrative Optimum Coal Terminal in Richards Bay.
Masinga said it is incomprehensible that the NPA would order the mine to be put in the care of a government that has consistently failed the community, and proven on a national level to be incapable of managing the state-owned entities it currently controls.
“We, therefore, appeal to the NPA to consider the consequences of their goose chase on the livelihood of the people of the surrounding community, and demand that their attention be redirected to matters to which their attention is required most,” said Masinga.
More than 200 communities arrived at the prosecuting authority’s offices in Silverton, Tshwane just after 10 am and began a short march on Hartley street toward the Victoria & Griffiths Mxenge Building, in Silverton Pretoria.
NPA director Rodney De Kock came out shortly before 12 pm to receive the memorandum amid a volley of struggle songs and chanting.
De Kock promised to answer the grievances before the end of the week.
(edited by MGB)
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