8 Apr 2016
Activists maintain their anti-mining stance
THE murder of an anti-mining activist on the Wild Coast, in the Eastern Cape, has served to strengthen the resolve of other anti-mining activists in the area to make sure that no mining takes place there.
This was made clear by Sinegugu Zukulu, another activist from the area who called on the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to “put an end to this nonsense”.
Bazooka Radebe, the chairman of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, which is spearheading the community opposition to mining in that area, was shot dead a few weeks ago by two men allegedly posing as police. No one has been arrested.
For the past 10 years the community has been locked in a battle with Mineral Commodities, an Australian company that wants to mine titanium, and its local subsidiary, Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources.
Speaking on the issue at a media and community gathering at the University Of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College campus yesterday, Zukulu said the community preferred eco-tourism to mining.
Activists from the Mtubatuba area also attended, to voice their objections to existing mines and proposed new mines in their area.
Zukulu said the mining issue had divided the community and caused fear, to the extent that those opposed to mining sometimes slept in the bushes as they feared being attacked and killed in their homes.
A video made by NGO organisations showed community members against the mining claiming they had been victims of intimidation. “What we need is for the DMR to say they are putting an end to this nonsense. This is no longer a crisis, this has been going on for 10 years,” said Zukulu.
He made it clear that the community would not agree to any mining in the area.
“The community prefers eco-tourism and studies have shown that in 22 years, which is the lifespan of the mine, the value of eco-tourism would be equal to the value of the mine, without the environmental damage,” he said.
Panel member Alice Thompson, of Earthlife Africa, said the department needed to put a stop to the proposed mining by declaring publicly that no mining licences would be granted there.
Bobby Peek, the director of the non-profit environmental organisation, groundWork, said the struggle of the Wild Coast community was a struggle for human rights. “They have realised that land is important and that water is important,” he said.