The community of Mononono in the North West, have last night embarked on a rolling protest in which they have vowed to occupy the area currently illegally occupied by Ikwezi Vanadium mine to highlight the ongoing dereliction of duty by the DMRE and the injustice of a mining regime which allows mines to forcefully occupy community land without community consent.
During the course of last year (2020) the community of Mononono began a series of protests against Ikwezi mine which has been mining on their land without due and proper consultations with the community.
On the 17th of November 2020, a letter was sent to the Regional Manager Phumudzo Nethwadzi requesting the intervention of the DMRE in connection with Ikwezi Vanadium Mine which has been doing trenching and bulk sampling without the consent of the community on Syferskuil, Haakdoornfontein 12JQ, and Morewag 921 JQ. These farms are currently used by the Mononono Community for cattle grazing and at least 4 of the houses on Haakdoorntontein 12JQ have Mononono Community members occupying them. The Mononono Community, as residents who have been enjoying usage of and living off the land, must be seen as lawfully impacted by mining operations on the land, and as such they should be consulted before any limitation of their rights are granted to any third party.
On 8 December 2020 Ikwezi Vanadium’s private security took matters into their own hands and shot and injured 15 community members along with 2 police officers.
The Mononono Community was gathered peacefully to protest and affirm their right to protect their land from the gross violations of their rights by Ikwezi Vanadium.
During a meeting between the Portfolio Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, MACUA and the DMRE, in March of this year, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy reported to the Portfolio Committee that the DMRE was engaged in discussions with the community and the mine, and that the matter was being resolved.
No sooner had the Minister made this statement, when Ikwezi Mine, in violation of existing mining laws and despite not receiving authorisation from the DMRE, continued to mine illegally.
Either the mine feels that it is above the law, or the mine does not fear any kind of legal consequences that would derive from a mining regime (and it would appear, a Regulator which is not willing or able to enforce the law) which protects the interest of profit seeking mines above the interests and well-being of the communities in which they mine.
As the Mononono community embarks on their protest we call on surrounding communities to come out in support of the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent and we call on the Minister to urgently step up to the plate to hold these criminal actions to account.