The open cast coal mine in Somkhele has been operating since 2007 in the uMkhanyakude District (one of the 11 districts of the KwaZulu-Natal Province). This district is known for its lack of hydraulic resources and its poor delivery services of water and sanitation. This situation is worse in the Mtubatuba area because the Somkhele mine uses underground water to wash the coal, increasing the area’s water scarcity. The Somkhele open cast coal mine is only 10 kilometers upstream from Mtubatuba on the Mfolozi river as well as the proposed Fuleni mine (see case on the EJAtlas) opposed by locals. The mine operated without a water use license until August 2014. It was therefore violating national mining and water use laws during its first 8 years. Numerous communities of the uMkhanyakude District suffer water shortages, whereas the Department of Water Affairs removed five water tankers by the beginning of 2016 with no explanation. Early in 2016, the kwaMsani township was left without water for weeks. Residents had to either travel more than 2 kilometers to collect water from a communal water tap or to buy it from private dealers, including smugglers selling illegal water from the dry Mfolozi river.