Date: 26 May 2020
To: All Media Editors, Journalists and News Outlets
RE: MACUA & WAMUA launches National Signature Campaign to demand that Mining Affected Communities are protected through representation on all regulatory and statutory structures.
Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) and Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA) have rejected the latest attempt by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to reopen mines without due regard to the death that it will bring to mining affected communities and have embarked on a campaign to collect 100 000 signatures from affected communities to Demand that their concerns and voices be heard and incorporated in Covid 19 Health and Safety Measures.
The campaign which launches on Wednesday 27 May 2020 has already gathered over 5000 signatures and Meshack Mbangula, the National Coordinator of MACUA says that MACUA branches across the country will have collected over 50 000 signatures by the start of June.
With the number of infections increasing drastically around mines, with 250 already confirmed, “our communities are angry and excluded, he said, “as branches from across the country have reported on the overwhelming support they have received in the community for the petition.”
“It has been a consistent practise of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to exclude communities from participating in the decisions that directly affect them” says Meshack Mbangula, the National Coordinator of MACUA. “We have long argued that mining affected communities are used as sacrificial lambs in the mining sector with profits going to foreign shareholders and fat-cat government perks, and now, when thousands of lives are at stake, the DMRE has once again left communities to face death and starvation in order to produce profits which we will never see” he said.
Despite yet another court affirming that mining affected communities are interested and affected parties that must be “meaningfully engaged”, the DMRE has once again sort to pay lip service to the Constitutional values of the country and to a lawful order of a court.
Nester Ndebele of WAMUA suggested that “it is no surprise to us that the DMRE has once again ignored community concerns and have made it easy for mining bosses to reap profits while we are going to die so that they can live in luxury”.
Instead of finding a mutual accommodation for communities, we were completely left out of the guidelines and the final product appears not to be informed by the concerns of mining affected communities. Instead we have been offered up as sacrificial lambs who will pay the ultimate price for the greed and avarice of the few.
But in line with our historical oppression, exclusion and exploitation the DMRE still refuses to include the voices of communities and to address the concerns of communities. By excluding communities, the DMRE is condemning our communities to face the danger of the pandemic without adequate protection and health facilities and support.
We demand that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, the Portfolio Committee of Mineral Resources and Energy and the President of South Africa, Immediately take steps to ensure that mining affected communities are represented on all Statutory and Regulatory bodies with immediate effect and that our right to FREE PRIOR and INFORMED CONSENT is recognised in the law.
This is the only way to ensure that our voices are heard, and our concerns addressed.
We Demand: NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US
As MACUA and WAMUA we reject governments denial of our rights and denial of our humanity and citizenship. We are not your sacrificial lambs and we demand JUSTICE!