Police Harass Maandagshoek Activist After He Speaks Out Against Councilor and Anglo PlatinumPublished by MAC on 2007-02-08
Police Harass Maandagshoek Activist After He Speaks Out Against Councilor and Anglo Platinum
Press Statement, Jubilee South Africa, National Office
8th February 2007
At around 20:00 this evening, police vans arrived in Maandagshoek, Limpopo (near Burgersfort) searching for Emmanuel Makgoga, the spokesperson for the Maandagshoek community in their fight against Anglo Platinum. Mr. Makgoga had spoken at a community mass meeting, where reportedly 5,000 people attended to air their grievances to representatives from the Limpopo Premier's Office and the Department of Minerals and Energy.
The community asked Mr. Makgoga to speak on their behalf about the lack of development, broken promises, the police brutality and human rights violations, and the fact that mining that has taken place without a proper agreement between Anglo Platinum (and its partner - Patrice Motsepe's African Rainbow Minerals) and the community.
Mr. Makgoga talked about the fact that the mine promised to improve roads and basic services, but never delivered. He also confronted a local councilor that was present, telling him that the councilor has done nothing for their community. The councilor was shouting angrily, moving toward Mr. Makgoga, when the community stepped in and chased the councilor from the meeting. Later the police arrived, but government representatives said that they were safe and secure and that it was a peaceful meeting.
Mr. Makgoga also stated in that meeting that he had recently attended the World Social Forum in Nairobi as part of the Jubilee South Africa delegation. He said "We met people from all different countries in Nairobi. We made solidarity across the world as we spoke about our problems with the platinum mines. We told them everything the mines have done to us and they have given us support."
As Mr. Makgoga arrived in Maandagshoek around 20:00 this evening, fellow community members informed him the police were looking for him. Hundreds of community members immediately began mobilising to protect Mr. Makgoga and to prevent the police from arresting him. These are the same police that recently beat, harassed, and arrested 15 community members from Magobading and other areas. In June of 2006, these same police arrested community leaders, including Mr. Makgoga, and two chiefs - Kgoshigadi Joyce Kgoete and Kgoshi Isaac Kgoete for courageously standing with the community to protect their land during a peaceful demonstration.
At this time the community continues its demonstration against the police in Maandagshoek. Mr. Makgoga stated, "We know our rights since 1994. They can't do to us what they did during apartheid. I'm not going to shut my mouth until we have everything we deserve from these mines. We own this land with platinum in it, but we are not benefiting at all. I'm not going to be intimidated to be quiet and we as a community are not afraid."
*Naga ke a rona! The Land is Ours!*
For more information, please contact Emmanuel Makgoga (Maandagshoek) 082 343 5095, Lazarus Moime (Maandagshoek) 082 544 8100 or Anne Mayher (Jubilee South Africa) 082 398 6882 firstname.lastname@example.org.