Published 7 February 2019

South Africa: Authorities must protect coastal community’s right to consent to future mining on their land

We from The Crowd Versus strongly support the following Public Statement, issued by Amnesty International’s about the visit by Gwede Mantashe, the Minister of Mineral Resources of South Africa, to the community of the Indigenous Amadiba community. They have been fighting for their #RightToSayNo for over twelve years now. Not many years ago, the community suffered when their leader Sikosiphe ‘Bazooka’ Rhadebe, the Chairman of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, was brutally murdered at his home on the Wild Coast in March of 2016. This remains a harsh reality for those people on the ground, who are brave enough to take on these big corporations.

In part, the Public Statement reads as follows:

“Amnesty International strongly condemns the failure of the Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, to allow an effective voice to the Indigenous Amadiba community at a meeting held on the 16 January 2019. The meeting was part of ongoing consultations that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) initiated regarding proposed mining in the area.

As part of the meeting’s proceedings, the contested local traditional leader, King Sigcau, claimed that the Amadiba land belongs to him, and that mining will take place there. The King thereby effectively sought to exclude anyone else from the affected community, including women, youth who were at the meeting, from participating in decision-making on the future of mining on their land.

During a Question and Answer Session a man who claimed to be an Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) member, claimed that the ACC want mining. Since this view does not represent the views of the ACC who oppose mining, a commotion then ensued. The purported ACC supporter’scomments drew wide disapproval from community members present, resulting in the Minister bringing the meeting to a premature closing. Nonhle Mbuthuma, the ACC spokesperson, pleaded with him not to close the meeting, and asked which village the purported ACC supporter came from in Amadiba. Minister Mantashe ignored the question, however and exited the marquee.

Amnesty International is alarmed by the Minister’s misrepresentation of the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) as having interrupted the meeting. In effect, the Minister’s actionsdisregarded affected community members who wanted to share their views on proposed mining in Amadiba, including environmental human rights defender Nonhle Mbuthuma, the spokesperson of the ACC. The government effectively excluded the community from the purported consultations.”

Link to Public Statement here

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