“Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA), as the most representative organisation of mining affected communities in South Africa, strongly rejects the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) for its complete lack of community participation and its attempts to betray the struggles of mining affected communities by colluding with Mining companies and the vested interests of Capital.
The Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) started out as a genuine attempt to represent the voices of mining affected communities against the rapacious and destructive mining industry. However, over the years, the AMI has become the fiefdom of well-resourced and well-funded NGO’s and International Funders who have slowly eroded the community content and instead have consistently collaborated with mining companies and other organisations who promote the interests of Capital, to dominate what was supposed to be an alternative space for communities.
Increasingly emboldened by the false perceptions that they represent the voices and interests of mining communities, certain NGO’s who organise the AMI have started engeneering agendas and negotiations with mining companies without the input or mandate of those most directly affected.
Despite numerous letters and appeals to the organisers by MACUA and other civil society organisations active in the sector, they have continued to push a business-friendly agenda, which increasingly seeks to deliver the struggles of mining affected communities as Media and Publicity fodder for the mining industry.
What is claimed to be a progressive space for mining affected communities and activists to advance their interests, has become an expensive photo opportunity for mining companies to present themselves as caring and consultative.
The AMI has become a distraction from the real struggles of mining affected communities and has drained resources out of the sector while the elite NGOs enjoy expensive holidays in cape Town at the expense of the struggling masses of mining affected communities.
It thus came as no surprise for us to learn that a prominent executive of one of the NGO’s that control the AMI, has been working for and receiving money from mining companies to deliver mining communities for photo opportunities to bolster the public image of mining companies.
As MACUA, our struggles have been based on the idea that any discussion or decision-making process related to mining and its impact on our communities, must include the active participation and representation from those communities.
The Alternative Mining Indaba, which is being held without any community input or consultation, does not meet this standard and is therefore illegitimate in our eyes.
We call on the organizers to cancel the event and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with affected communities to address the real issues and concerns related to mining.
We also call on all NGO’s and Funders who will be spending exorbitant amounts of money to travel and live in luxury during their AMI in Cape Town, to donate an equivalent amount to support the REAL struggles of marginalised and excluded mining affected communities so that their voices can be heard and amplified in an authentic and direct expression of their will.
We will continue to fight for the rights and well-being of mining-affected communities and will not be silenced or disregarded.
Our voices must be heard, and our participation must be valued in any discussion or decision-making related to mining.”
For further information please contact:
Meshack Mbangula – MACUA National Coordinator: 074-977-5588
Gilbert Moela – MACUA Media Liaison: 079-777-6175
Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) is a National Movement representing and advancing the rights and interests of mine-affected communities across eight provinces of South Africa. The network is made up of branches across the country and advocates for communities to be granted a greater say in issues that affect their human rights and which they believe is denied to them in current regulations governing the mining sector.
Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA) is an official national platform formed within MACUA with the purpose of advancing the rights and interests of women in mining affected communities. WAMUA aims to advance and support women in mining affected communities to strengthen their participation in community decision making processes and influencing local, provincial, and national policy and legislative process in the mining sector.