No mining in Xolobeni, demand activists

Protests against Australian company in Cape Town and Perth

Photo of ACC march

Photo supplied by Amadiba Crisis Committee

By Tariro Washinyira and GroundUp Staff

25 May 2016

About 60 participants from civil society organisations marched through Cape Town today against attempts by Australian company Mineral Commodities (MRC) to mine titanium in Xolobeni on the Wild Coast.

The protest coincided with MRC’s Annual General Meeting in Perth today, where there were also protests according to the Amadiba Crisis Committee who organised today’s protest in Cape Town. (GroundUp has not independently confirmed this.)

Memorandums were delivered to the Department of Minerals Resources, and the Parliamentary Committees on Mineral Resources and the South African Police Services.

On 23 March the chairman of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, was assassinated in the Eastern Cape. His death is believed by many to be linked to his opposition to the MRC mine.

Amadiba Crisis Committee vice secretary, Sibusiso Mqadi gave a speech describing how the battle over mining in Xolobeni has caused violence, intimidation and division in the Amadiba community. He said that families no longer trust each other, that they have become enemies. He said that one can be easily attacked or poisoned at community gatherings. Because of the division, people no longer attend their neighbours’ ceremonies. He said their culture is being eroded.

“Today I am sending a message to MRC’s executive chairman, Mark Caruso. Stop bringing money and guns in our community. Our brothers are dying; you have turned us against each other. We never benefited from the Australian company and it is certain we won’t. Only a few people support mining who were once given some food parcels and had solar panels installed in their homes.”

He added, “This government does not care about us. There is only one school in Xolobeni. that is why we are not learning and living on subsistence farming. The government is lying. Mining will bring development.”

The memorandum, amongst other demands, called for Xolobeni to be declared a prohibited area for mining.

Requests for comment have been sent to MRC and the Department of Mineral Resources.