Human Rights Day Urges Action Against Mining Exploitation
Human Rights Day serves as a reminder for South Africans to assess the nation’s progress in upholding human rights and to renew our commitment to achieving equality, justice, and dignity for all. Unfortunately, the lived experiences of many are in stark contrast with this ideal.
For generations, mines have lured young black men into gruelling labour underground, only for them to return home plagued by illness and little to show for their sacrifices. Countless individuals have fallen victim to incurable lung diseases like silicosis, enduring a slow and agonizing decline. Left behind are women and communities grappling with the aftermath, burdened with caregiving responsibilities and struggling to maintain stability amidst adversity.
The impact of mining corporations on these communities is profound. Women and girls are disproportionately affected, compelled into roles of caretakers and breadwinners, leaving them trapped in cycles of poverty with few opportunities for personal growth or education. In response to these ongoing injustices, organisations like the Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) have emerged to steadfastly advocate for justice, equality, dignity for all. We are a radical movement that sheds light on the systemic abuses endured by our mining affected communities.
MACUA champions the empowerment of women in decision-making processes and works tirelessly to address gender disparities in mineral supply chains. Mining companies must recognise that investing in women’s rights is not just a moral imperative, but a strategic imperative with far-reaching benefits. MACUA seeks to hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations through advocacy, engagement with policymakers, and legal reform.
We invite marginalised and affected communities wherever they may be, to join us in claiming our rights and dignity. We must resist the ongoing colonial model of exploitation and exclusion as we exercise our hard-won democratic rights by raising our voices and joining peaceful protests across the country. On this Human Rights Day, let us unite in our commitment to combatting exploitation and injustice, forging a more equitable and compassionate society.
Statement issued by MACUA’s National Executive Committee and the women-wing of the movement, Women Affected Communities United in Action (WAMUA).
For more information contact:
MACUA National Coordinator, Meshack Mbangula: 074 977 5588
WAMUA National Coordinator, Maureen Seshoka: 066 181 3743