South Africa updatePublished by MAC on 2007-06-11
South Africa update
11th June 2007
Although Anglo Platinum (controlled by Anglo American plc) has apparently halted its relocations of communities in Mohlohlo (see: http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Action/press1520.htm - at least for the time being. However, the company still adamantly refuses to meet with the people. The following statement, publicly released last week affirms their right to own the disputed territory and demands that Anglo American's subsidiary negotiate with them on the basis of full, free and informed consent.
Statement and Demands of the Ga-Puka and Ga-Sekhaolelo (Mohlohlo) Development Committees
History has shown that the relocation of communities often has very harmful social and economic consequences for the relocated communities and must therefore be undertaken only with a great deal of caution and consideration.
Rural communities are particularly vulnerable to exploitation by powerful corporations that have a monopoly on knowledge, skills and resources and therefore require special protection of the law and of the State.
There should be no relocation of any vulnerable community except with the full, free and informed consent of the members on terms negotiated and agreed and reduced to a formal written agreement between the parties.
Section 21 Companies
The Section 21 Companies have been structured in such a way that they are neither democratic nor accountable. They have no mandate or authority to represent the community or to enter into any agreement on its behalf.
The section 21 Companies and their legal representatives must stop claiming to represent the communities.
Anglo Platinum must stop its financial, logistical and technical support to the section 21 Companies forthwith. It is not proper for Anglo Platinum to interfere in the internal affairs of the community by sponsoring groups that do its bidding or by denying its critics jobs and opportunities that it offers its “friends” in the community.
Anglo Platinum cannot continue to maintain that the conflict and divisions in the community are matters internal to the community and not of its making when it is the main sponsor of that conflict and the author of those divisions.
An independent investigation and audit must be undertaken into the financial affairs of the Section 21 Companies and the results should be made public to allay community concerns that there has been widespread abuse, fraud and theft of moneys made available to them by Anglo Platinum, ostensibly for the communities benefit.
The section 21 companies are indebted to Anglo Platinum in the sum of several hundred million rand and they have no means or prospect of paying that money back, they are insolvent and should be wound up.
The Establishment of New Democratic and Accountable Structures
New democratic and accountable structures need to be established to represent the communities in negotiations with Anglo Platinum and to enter into binding legal agreements on their behalf.
For that purpose one or more Communal Property Associations (CPA’s) should be established in terms of the Communal Property Association Act, (Act no 28 of 1996).
The constitutions of the CPA’s must accommodate the institutions of traditional leadership from Ga-Puka and Ga-Sekhaolelo.
The establishment of the CPA and the elections of office bearers should be supervised by the Department of Land Affairs and the Independent Electoral Commission.
Whether or not there should be one CPA for the whole Mohlohlo community or two CPA’s one for Ga-Puka and one for Ga-Sekhaolelo is a decision that should be left to the members of the community.
No Negotiations under Duress
It is not possible to conduct good faith negotiations under duress.
Anglo Platinum has been working purposefully and deliberately to turn Mohlohlo into a ghetto by cutting off the communities access to the resources that sustain them including land for food production, water, grazing land, roads and schooling. It has created conditions that are difficult, dangerous and unhealthy in an effort to force people to relocate. This must stop.
Anglo Platinum and the Municipal Authorities must restore the water supply to the community.
Schools and other social resources and amenities should not be removed or relocated until there is proper consultation and agreement. Anglo Platinum has no right or authority to involve itself in these matters.
The authorities must ensure that there is adequate water and grazing or fodder for animals to replace that which has been destroyed or cut off by the mine.
The DME must intervene and take urgent steps to remedy the unacceptable environmental conditions created by 24/7 open cast mining operations and , blasting in close proximity to the residential areas where the levels of noise, dust, nuisance and damage to property has reached intolerable proportions.
It is completely unacceptable that residential areas have to be evacuated on a regular basis for blasting to take place and that damage is done to peoples homes. Blasting must stop immediately.
Mining and blasting should not be allowed until such time as the community has been relocated.
The Authorities must take urgent steps to compel Anglo Platinum to create a safe pedestrian and animal drawn vehicle access to and from Mohlohlo, as the razor tipped wire corridor established by the mine poses an extreme and unacceptable danger to the hundreds of community members who use that corridor every day. It has also become a trap where community members are preyed upon by criminals.
Relocations should be carried out in a dignified and respectful manner, the exhumation of graves without family members consent and without regard to cultural norms and values is unacceptable as is the unilateral seizure and destruction of community member’s land that has characterised the process to date.
Anglo Platinum should respect the communities’ right to deal with it on a collective basis. It is not acceptable that Anglo Platinum exploit the poverty and weakness of individuals by offering them sums of money to relocate graves or as compensation for land if the amounts offered have already been rejected by the community as inadequate and unfair. Many people are so desperately poor that they will accept a crust of bread if that is what it takes to keep their families alive, this makes them vulnerable to be cheated and exploited. Such people are entitled to the protection of the collective just as vulnerable individual employees are entitled to the protection offered by trade unions.
Renegotiation of Relocation Agreements
The relocation process must be halted until the terms of relocation have been renegotiated and agreed.
The “relocation agreements” that have been concluded by the section 21 companies with Anglo Platinum are of no legal force and effect. The Department of Land Affairs has made it clear that it will not sanction or give effect to those agreements inter alia because the Section 21 Companies are not suitable vehicles to acquire, to hold or to administer land and benefits on the community’s behalf.
Copies of all the agreements concluded by the Section 21 Companies must be furnished to the communities.
The terms of relocation must be renegotiated with the democratically elected and accountable representatives of the community constituted as a CPA.
Anglo Platinum should stop interfering in the internal affairs of the community by supporting its friends with money jobs and resources and punishing those it perceives to be hostile by denying them access to jobs and opportunities.
Anglo Platinum should stop its attempts to manipulate and to control traditional leadership structures and leaders for its own benefit.
The right of communities to independent professional advice, assistance and representation must be recognised and respected by Anglo Platinum.
Anglo Platinum must agree to enter into a dialogue with the Development Committees so that they may hear their concerns and grievances and to respond thereto and in order to create a proper climate for negotiations.
The dispute between Anglo Platinum and the members of the Mohlohlo community should be recognised for what it is a civil matter between the mine and the community. The police have no role in that dispute and to the extent that they are involved they should exercise maximum constraint. It is not acceptable for the mine to make available its earth moving equipment in support of police action against community members as happened recently.
Anglo Platinum should recognise and respect the right of community to organise and engage with it on a collective basis and should stop its efforts to fragment and divide the community by offering individuals money, jobs and other favours in order to give up their rights.
Anglo Platinum should stop its dishonest and self serving manipulation of the media and commit itself to honest and fair commentary on the relocation.
Minimum Content of a Relocation Agreement
The members of the community should be better off after relocation not worse off.
Any relocation agreement should provide for fair compensation for the full range of social economic and environmental costs associated with the relocation of the community.
Any relocation agreement must provide for the community to receive an equitable share of the wealth generated through platinum mining operations on community land.
It is not acceptable that the community be required to pay the cost of relocation itself. The replacement of houses and infrastructure should be for Anglo Platinum’s account not for the account of the community.
The lease value placed by Anglo Platinum on the community’s farms Overysel and Zwartfontein, (some R600 million) is too low. A sum of R 1 billion is more reasonable considering the impact of relocation on the community, the massive profits that will accrue to Anglo Platinum over the next 50 years from mining on the community’s land and the fact that open cast mining will destroy the land and render it useless in pertuity.
The Greater Mapela Community should also derive a benefit from mining on tribal land. In respect of the farms Overysel and Zwartfontein it is proposed that Anglo Platinum pay the balance of the lease amount , R400 million into a fund established for the benefit of the Greater Mapela Community. The terms of the 1993 lease in terms of which the Mapela tribe was to receive R5000.00 per annum per farm are obscenely exploitative and oppressive and must be set aside.
The 60 plus families from Ga-Chaba whose ploughing lands have been taken from them by Anglo Platinum without any consultation and without any compensation must also be fairly compensated.
The Community should own all communal land through the CPA.
Individual households should have full title to their homes and commercial properties.
All replacement homes should have proper sewerage systems, internal plumbing and ceilings.
Anglo Platinum must take responsibility for the quality of all houses and infrastructure and must remedy all patent or latent defects.
Anglo Platinum must guarantee that the supply of water to the community will be maintained and take responsibility if it is not.
The community’s food security should not be prejudiced by the relocation.
Adopted this 7th Day of June 2007 at Mohlohlo by the Ga-Puka and Ga-Sekhaolelo (Mohlohlo) Development Committees