In the wake of the recent brutal rape of eight young women, the country has once again been reminded of the harsh indignity suffered by those who live close to and work in mining operations. This cruel and violent act brought to the surface the full extent of the toxic reality of mining in this country, which is particularly brutal on women. It will remain forever in our collective consciousness, similar the Marikana Massacre of 2012, as a vivid and stark reminder that mining in this country continues to extract a heavy burden on those directly impacted by the sector.
Under the banner of MACUA and WAMUA, organised mining-affected communities have been calling on Parliament and the government for years to hear the cry of communities, but we have only been met with arrogance and broken promises. In 2020, MACUA and WAMUA delivered 50 000 signatures of affected community members
to Parliament, calling on them to meaningfully consult with communities to ensure that mining laws and regulations take into account the struggles of communities affected by mining and the particular risks faced by women.
Like our previous attempts to have meaningful dialogues with those meant to represent the people’s interests, Parliament promised much but delivered nothing.
Throughout 2021, we have sent email after email, memorandum after memorandum, and yet Parliament, specifically the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, Sahlulele Luzipo, failed to respond to our numerous requests. Even after Mr. Luzipo committed on Vuyo Mvoko’s SABC show The Watchdog, that he would engage MACUA on our recent Social Audit report, nothing has happened. The audit report found that communities received zero response from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy. The Chairperson continues to ignore our further requests for engagements with the Portfolio Committee, despite his public commitment just last month. With all doors closed to mining-affected communities and nowhere else to turn, communities have reached breaking point. Across the country, communities have erupted in sporadic protests from time to time, but nothing seems to change. As the country’s largest organised group of communities affected by mining, we must seek solutions to the closed-door arrogance of our public representatives and chart a way forward for the desperate communities affected by mining.
As a symbol of the desperation and urgency of the crisis facing mining-affected communities, 30 volunteers from affected communities across the country will arrive at Parliament on 16 August. They will hold a rally in front of Parliament commemorating the Marikana Massacre and call on Parliament to heed the voices of the people.
The volunteers have vowed to stay and sleep at Parliament until their voices are heard and until Parliament commits to meaningful engagements with affected communities that must lead to the amendment of existing mining laws that recognise their human dignity and sovereignty.
We are calling on all civil society formations committed to a more responsive and inclusive government to join us at Parliament on 16 August and to support those who will be sleeping at Parliament in protest.
For further information please contact:
Meshack Mbangula – National Coordinator of MACUA: 074 977 5588
Gilbert Moela – Media Liason : 079 777 6175
Maureen Siwela – National Convenor of WAMUA : 066 181 3743