[PRESS STATEMENT] Agreement reached between the Lesetlheng community and Pilanesberg Platinum Mines (Pty) Ltd to mine on the farm Wilgespruit.

Date: 11/06/2020

This agreement is a significant milestone following protracted litigation and ongoing negotiations between the Lesetlheng community and Pilanesberg Platinum Mine.

In 2014, PPM who has mining rights, brought an application to evict certain members of the Lesetlheng community from the farm where they had farmed for more than a century. Thereafter, the High Court in Mafikeng granted an interdict against PPM, preventing it from continuing with mining operations on the Wilgespruit farm. Notwithstanding appeals by PPM being successful in both the High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal, the Constitutional Court, on 24 October 2018, overturned the High Court order that had been awarded to PPM to evict the community members from the farm. The ConCourt held that mines can no longer rely only on their mining right to displace any person or community from their land. The ConCourt essentially directed PPM and the Lesetlheng community to engage and negotiate a settlement.

This was a significant victory for all communities who host mines on their land and also affects mining companies who plan to apply for mining rights. While this problem has affected individual landowners, many communities have also lost their land rights in the past, often without any compensation. It is difficult to separate the apartheid land laws, the role of the traditional authority, and more specifically, their relationship with the mines from why these communities cannot receive real benefits from mining.

This agreement is unique in many respects and is a rare example of what can be achieved, if there is true intent from a mining company to build meaningful partnerships with community landowners, in order to benefit both parties over the long term from mining activities.

The settlement not only provides for significant monetary compensation to resettle community members from the Wilgespruit farm, where mining will commence, but also includes a transparent and fair procurement model, together with a progressive Social and Labour Plan, that will certainly benefit both the mine and the broader community.

Community members in their individual capacities are party to the agreement and not the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Tribal Authority.

“These days community members affected by mining are in a much better position to obtain procurement contracts and have real financial benefit, especially in rural areas where a lack of economic opportunities drive people to informal settlements in cities” says Louise du Plessis from Lawyers from Human Rights, acting for certain members of the community.

Community voices have expressed their satisfaction and have said that although negotiations were not always easy, they are excited by the opportunities this will create for their community, as well as for other mining-affected communities, involved in similar negotiations with mining companies.

Erich Clarke CEO of PPM commented:

“We have travelled a long road together and I am pleased that this agreement enables both the mine and the community to realise future benefits. We look forward to converting words into action to deliver demonstrable value to our communities and broader stakeholders. We see this as a victory for all parties and a historical milestone for our industry”.

In conclusion, it is hoped that this agreement will be used as a roadmap for the participation with interested parties and for the benefit of all.

LHR’s efforts in this matter are made possible by the generous support of the Raith Foundation, Open Society Foundation,  Ford Foundation, Fastenopfer, and the Constitutionalism Fund.


Lawyers for Human Rights – Louise du Plessis | 082 346-0744

Pilanesberg Platinum Mine | 014 555-1800

Media enquiries


Johannes van Niekerk | 082 921-9110

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