Tshintsha Amakhaya supports Xolobeni community of the Wild Coast in their continuous battle to protect their land rights and minerals.
Xolobeni community will be at the Tshwane High Court next week in opposition to Australia’s Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC), who insist on overcoming local resistance to their plan to mine the dunes for titanium.
Under the leadership of Amadiba Crisis Committee, the Xolobeni community has opposed the mining investors for over a decade. This resistance has escalated to great tension with instances of threats and violence against activists. This tension is highlighted by shots that were fired into the home of a member of the Amadiba Crisis Committee soon after a protest against the proposed mine, including the assassination of Sikhoziphi ‘Bazooka’ Rhadebe – a chairperson of the Committee – in 2016.
As Tshintsha Amakhaya, we understand the violence they face could have been avoided if the Mineral Commodities Limited had sought, through adequate consultation and engagement, to obtain free and informed consent of this community prior to pursuing mining on their land as expressed in FPIC. Secondly, after consultation, they should still be offered an opportunity to say #NoToMining and pursue their choice of land use with regards to development.
The fact that their predicament has not received ample attention despite their struggle over a decade highlights the need for just negotiations and a right to say #NoToMining, the negative social and economic impacts that mining brings when dispossessing communities of their land, and the inadequacy of South African government’s interest to pursue alternative development in the instance that communities reject a destructive mining.
As Tshintsha Amakhaya, we have learned from this resistance of over a decade that the right to consent should be given a meaning for communities, using Xolobeni as a case – as the plight of the community has been chiefly overlooked. What transpires in Xolobeni validates how the right to consent cannot be examined superficially, as this obscures injustices taking place in communities and take away a right to say NO. Ordinary rural citizens have a right to security of tenure, as enshrined within the Constitution.
Their struggle to defend their land rights echoes that of many women and men in other rural parts of South Africa who are fighting the same course.
We support grassroots community driven resistance, because it is the experiences and interests of ordinary citizens that should inform laws and policies for development.
For more information, contact Sobantu Mzwakali, Advocacy and Campaigns Officer at Tshintsha Amakhaya.
Tel: 021 447 5096