Tendele Mining threatens court action against ‘hold outers”
In February 2020, Tendele issued “formal final offers” to several Ophondweni households which had yet to consent to relocation, giving them 14 days to respond or risk being taken to court.
Tendele’s business development manager, Nathi Kunene, set out the terms of the final compensation offer, both in English and isiZulu.
One of these letters states: The “majority of households” have already signed relocation agreements with Tendele and the “Mine is now at a point where [they] need to decide whether there’s going to be mining within the Ophondweni area or not”.
It was “regrettable that your household is holding the Mine, its 1500 employees and many families that have signed contracts and indeed the entire Community to ransom”.
Kunene told the family that Tendele’s offer was final and would expire within 14 days.
If the offer was not accepted, the Mine would withdraw its offer in full, “including all upset allowance and minimimum payments ([which] in law … do not exist) and will either apply for arbitration and or will request the Court to make a determination in respect of [the] fairness of [the mine’s] offer that will be based on historic principles followed taking into account relocation protocol in the area, historic offers, offers that have been accepted by more than 300 families, local conditions, Eskom rates etc and no upset allowance and no minimum rates will apply”.
He further stated that the DMRE will “withdraw” from the Section 54 process if the mine and the community were unable to find common ground, kickstarting either arbitration or court proceedings (reiterating the threat set out in its November 2019 “final offer).”
Tendele listed visits and offers made to the relevant homesteads over the last 24 months in accordance with the principle that the “one should be equal to or better off than the current lifestyle”.
The mine made a final offer of R400 000, a breakdown of which was set out in an annexure to the letter.
Kunene repeated previous statements that while an “upset allowance or base line payment does not exist in law”, Tendele had “nevertheless” increased its offer in this regard from R148 000 to R200 000.
He concluded by informing the household that on 27 November 2019, Tendele had written to the “leaders in [the household’s] area, including the Induna and the DAC Chairman and both the Local and Governmental [sic] explaining [the mine’s] situation and the effect if [they] don’t get Future Mining … [by attaching this letter, Tendele sought] to help [the household] familiarize [themselves] with the negative impact that lack of future mining will have in the community”.
>> Click here to read the original document: Final formal offer to Ophondweni DAC household