The National Coordinator of MACUA, Meshack Mbangula, and the National Convenor of WAMUA, Nester Ndebele, has lamented the recent judgement handed down in the Pretoria North High Court which has far reaching consequences for the sector and which further protects greedy corporations who have been looting the wealth of the country with impunity.
It is our initial reading of the judgement that the court has in effect, ruled that the Mining Charter has no force and effect in law and that the few provisions in the Mining Charter that would have allowed mining affected communities to hold mining companies to account, are no longer enforceable.
This judgement has far reaching consequences for mining affected communities as the small avenues offered by the Mining Charter to mining affected communities have been removed and brings into question the entire architecture of the Minerals Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) and its impact on mining affected communities.
While we will be discussing the implications in more depth over the next few weeks to decide on a strategy going forward, our branches have renewed their call for the MPRDA to be scrapped and for new legislation to be drafted which places affected communities squarely at the table where decisions and policies are crafted that affect them directly. Without the very few injunctions provided for in the Mining Charter, communities now have absolutely nothing if the current legislation is not changed to include affected communities.
In December 2020, MACUA and WAMUA delivered 50 000 signed petitions to the National Assembly calling on Legislators to engage mining affected communities on redrafting the MPRDA to include elements of Free Prior and Informed Consent(FPIC) and to investigate how the structure of the MPRDA has led to the assassination of Fikile Ntshangase and Bazooka Radebe.
Nine Months later, despite commitments by the Minster and the National Assembly that they would take our calls seriously, they have yet to engage us in any serious way.
The 22nd of October 2021 marks a year since the assassination of Fikile Ntshangase and her killers are yet to be brought to book and the people who are supposed to represent us in parliament continue to arrogantly ignore the people.
MACUA and WAMUA will be announcing plans in the next two weeks, to mobilise communities on the 22nd of October 2021 to commemorate the life of Fikile and to demand new legislation which recognises communities as relevant and affected stakeholders who must have legal mechanism through which to hold corporations and the state to account based on the principles of Free Prior and Informed Consent.