Fikile Ntshangase, 65, a South African environmental activist who opposed the extension of a coalmine near her home has been shot dead in her home.
The activist was involved in a legal dispute over the extension of an opencast mine operated by Tendele Coal near Somkhele, close to Hluhluwe–Imfolozi park, the oldest nature reserve in Africa.
Local police told the Guardian that four men entered Ntshangase’s home in Ophondweni, KwaZulu-Natal province, at about 6.30pm on Thursday and shot her dead. A 13-year-old child witnessed the murder and is helping authorities with their investigation. No arrests have been made.
Tendele Coal condemned what it called a “senseless killing” and called for calm, in a joint statement with local leaders.
The coalmine had been the focus of a protracted legal dispute between the company, conservationists, and some locals who are in favour of extending it for economic reasons.