On Tuesday 08 December 2020, members of MACUA and members of the Mononono Community in the Northwest Province gathered at the site where Ikwezi has been prospecting since 2012 without any community consent or consultation. In 2019 Ikwezi started a process of Bulk Sampling, which has been a loophole within the Mineral Resources Development Act (MPRDA), used by mining companies to start the process of mining while bypassing the minimal requirements of the MPRDA to consult with communities.
According to Nicholas Legodi, a MACUA organiser in the North West, the mine has been shipping out truckloads of minerals without accounting for it or without ensuring that the community was consulted on the mining activities.
The community had been growing increasingly agitated at the arrogance of the mine who used the access to money, resources and political connections to deny the community not only on their right to be consulted and participate in the benefits of mining as required by the MPRDA and the Mining Charter, but has also has now resorted to denying the community the right to protest.
The mine appears to be so arrogant about its shady activities that it used its private security on Tuesday 08 December to open fire on community protesters who had gathered for a peaceful protest.
The actions of the mine`s private security, who were so bold in their actions that they even shot and injured police officers who had arrived to monitor the protest, begs the question as to who really is in control of this country, said Meshack Mbangula, the National Coordinator of MACUA.
While the Zondo commission deliberates on one aspect of State Capture, a more violent and brazen capture of the state by mining interest such as Ikwezi, is spilling the blood of impoverished communities and undermining the standing of the state in the name of profits at all costs.
Ikwezi mine`s use of stolen mineral loot to fund its muzzling of community voices , and to fund its seeming impunity which allows it to wilfully open fire on representatives of the state and members of the community, cannot go unchallenged.
“As MACUA and WAMUA we ask why the Police deem it acceptable for private interests to open fire on the Police and unarmed citizens without consequences” said Nester Ndebele, the National Convenor of WAMUA. “The silence from the Police and the Department of Mineral Resources and
Energy in the face of this insurrectionary and even treasonous actions leaves a lot of questions unanswered, and we demand answers”, she continued.
The arrogant violence unleashed by Ikwezi mining on the people and the state underpins the urgency of MACUA and WAMUA`s submission of 50 000 signed petitions to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mme Thandi Modise, demanding Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) to be incorporated into mining legislation.
We call on the Police to urgently arrest and charge the managers of Ikwezi who gave the order to fire on protesters and police.
We call on the DMRE to immediately stop the operations of Ikwezi and to urgently engage the community in a consultative process.
The time has come for our government to clearly stand with the interests of the people and to deal with unscrupulous profit mongers who would kill, shoot and injure people and officers of the state in pursuit of their own interests.
Or has our state been sold to the highest bidder?