A noisy but peaceful demonstration, part of 350.org’s Global Divestment Mobilisation, was held outside Petmin’s head office to show major investors that Somkhele residents have many complaints about Tendele coal mine, sited near Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, in KZN.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Surprised shareholders from Investec, Old Mutual, Nedbank, Barclays Bank, Afena Capital, and RECM, who arrived at the venue in the leafy suburb of Bryanston yesterday morning, 8 March 2017, to approve Petmin’s delisting from the JSE, were greeted by singing and dancing demonstrators with noisy vuvuzelas. They waved posters calling on Investec and other major investors to “divest now” from Tendele coal mine, a subsidiary of Petmin. Trevor Manuel was personally targeted to pull out of Petmin given his influential position as Chairman of Old Mutual Emerging Markets.
The protestors from KZN, joined by representatives of Sustaining the Wild Coast, Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) and WoMin, wanted to draw attention to the negative impacts of Tendele coal mine to counter Petmin’s slick marketing of Tendele mine. For the past 10 years Tendele has been operating in the Somkhele community, neighbouring the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park. While Petmin boasts of 20% community shareholding and investing R1.1 billion in the Mpukunyoni community, people directly affected by the mine are more impoverished than ever.
Nonhlanhla Buthelezi, from the Mpukunyoni Community Property Association, who was at the demonstration, invited investors to visit Dubelenkhunzi village to see how people are living. “Our land has been taken by the mine but we do not see any of the money from Petmin because Tendele pays it to the traditional council that opens doors for the mine. Petmin says it gives the community so much money but we know it has cheated very poor people. Last month the archaeologist, Gavin Anderson, told us the mine must give a cow and goat for every grave they move. Instead Tendele called the people of Dubelenkhuzi greedy and so paid each family only one cow and one goat, no matter how many graves were moved. The mine has made us disrespect our ancestors and this is very painful for us. The mine also steals our water. We complain but the mine doesn’t care about us. All we get is coal dust that is killing us and our livestock.”
The Petmin demonstration is part of 350.org’s divestment mobilisation that is gaining momentum globally. Events are being held worldwide, during May, to demand that institutions divest from fossil fuels, particularly coal mining, which contributes most to the devastating impacts of climate change felt by vulnerable communities like Somkhele.
CONTACT: Dumisile Mwelase (MCPA) 073 965 9368; Sheila Berry (GET) 082 295 7328