The violent shooting in Braamfontein yesterday in which a Father of 3 was brutally killed at the hands of state sponsored violence against members of the public is yet another example of the type of violence faced by mining affected communities every day.
The daily reports of Police brutality and abuse of power which we receive from our branches across the country, points to the fact that the murder in Braamfontein is not an isolated case.
Our members have reported indiscriminate shootings, unjustified arrests and random acts of brutality, which is reminiscent of the worst experiences of Apartheid, rather than that of a democratic state.
This disregard for the lives of the excluded and vulnerable stems not from the lower ranks of the Police, but its genesis can be found in the arrogance of Government leaders, who feel that their positions have elevated them to demi-gods who can decide on the fate of the ignorant masses” without obtaining their consent.
Our most recent experience of this “governmentality”, was during submissions to the Portfolio Committee on Natural Resources and Energy where MACUA and WAMUA called on the legislature to heed our petition signed by 50 000 people to include them in decision making, through including elements of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) into legislation. The response from officials of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), who expressed their blind commitment to imposing “the law” on people without any consideration for its fairness or equity, is a prime example of the type of attitude that permeates every corner of governing institutions and which leads to death and violence.
Our institutions are not listening to the people and the agents of the state are increasingly resorting to mindless brutality and violence to impose structural exclusions of the poor and vulnerable.
As we have said to the Portfolio Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, the Minister of Natural Resources and Energy and to the DMRE, we also say to the Police Minister and the relevant authorities;
“Our brutal history of Apartheid Colonialism has taught us nothing, if not, that a state, no matter how powerful, cannot silence the people through exclusion, and it cannot maintain that exclusion through violence. It is time to heed our constitution and to create more inclusive decision-making structures so that voices of the marginalised and excluded can be heard and their concerns and struggles included in our decision-making processes.”
In the final analysis the demand for “Nothing About Us Without Us”, must be understood and heeded. It must be incorporated into the practical working of the state, given that the Constitutional injunction to do so, is undisputed and clear.
For further information please contact:
Meshack Mbangula – National Coordinator of MACUA: 0749775588
Nester Ndebele –National Convenor of WAMUA: 083269570