President Cyril Ramaphosa will once again stand before the nation, making big promises which will inevitably benefit the minority politically connected politicians and businesses.
The President has built up a history of standing at the podium making grand claims but with little or no substance.
A case in point is when the President promised during his SONA speech in 2018 that he would be more open and inclusive. The SONA speech was delivered a few days after we had won a victory in the Pretoria North High Court in February 2018. The court had ordered that mining affected communities must be consulted as interested and affected stakeholders in the development of the Mining Charter. The President in response promised during his SONA address that:
we are determined to work with mining companies, unions and communities to grow the sector, attract new investment, create jobs and set the industry on a new path of transformation and sustainability.
This year, we will intensify engagements with all stakeholders on the Mining Charter to ensure that it is truly an effective instrument to sustainably transform the face of mining in South Africa.
By working together, in a genuine partnership, underscored by trust and a shared vision, I am certain we will be able to resolve the current impasse and agree on a charter that both accelerates transformation and grows this vital sector of our economy.
This promise, like many others he has so easily made, has proven to be merely hot air designed simply to bamboozle and fool the media and the public. Rather than engage and consult and work together in “genuine partnership” with mining affected communities, his government has shunned communities affected by mining and has instead failed to consult and proceeded like the colonialist and apartheid oppressors before him, to enrich corporates at the expense of mining affected communities.
In May 2021 we again go before the Pretoria North High Court to ask for the current iteration of the Mining Charter to be reviewed and set aside, and for the development of the
Mining Charter to be started afresh with a specific directive on meaningful consultation and participation of relevant stakeholders, interested parties, and Mining Affected communities.
Everything that Cyril Ramaphosa’s government has done thus far has been based on the same blueprint which has led to deep inequality and systemic poverty. Even in the face of the pandemic, Cyril Ramaphosa’s government has continued to turn a blind eye to the abuses suffered by mining communities while handing out mining licences as if they were sweets.
The environmental and social destruction that this effort to enrich the few will manifest, will live with us for decades, and long after the President retires to his multi-million Rands homes and billions of Rands worth of wealth extracted from the lives of the poor and vulnerable.
All the while the poverty and inequality will have deepened and we will have to live with the outcomes.
It is obvious to us, and it should be to any objective observer, that if the Executive continues to ignore the Judiciary`s injunctions for greater inclusion of mining affected communities and continues to treat those who are excluded and marginalised, and who suffer the degradations and violence of mining, like worthless distractions, while government and the legislators live in luxury, at our expense, then our country is doomed to social conflict for years to come.
Let it be clearly stated that the Government, through its wilful blindness to our appeals, continues to lay the groundwork for social conflict and the breakdown of social cohesion.
We once again urge the President to live up to the high ideals of our constitution and to ensure that our concerns are treated with the same urgency and preference that they appear to give to their comrades and pals in big business.
We demand, as does the constitution mandate: Nothing About Us Without Us