MAC: Mines and Communities

More assaults in South Africa, while Anglo American does nothing

Published by MAC on 2007-05-29

More assaults in South Africa, while Anglo American does nothing

29th May 2007

In late May, community members in Maandagshoek, South Africa, were arrested for trying to prevent exploration drilling by the Australian company, Nkwe Resources, on their land. Almost exactly a year ago, members of the same community were fired upon by police when they intervened to prevent drilling by London-based Anglo American's majority-owned subsidiary, Anglo Platinum.


On May 28, other communities at Mothlohlo awaited the outcome of a meeting between the UK giant mining company and the government, which presages the removal of more than ten thousand people prior to the digging of a massive open-pit on their land, and the demolition of their houses in favour of a waste rock dump. Shortly afterwards, Anglo Platinum was thwarted in its initial attempt to shift ten families from the site.

Here we publish an appeal by lawyer Richard Spoor (who represents all these communities) aimed at the authorities and the media urging that the removals should be halted. This is followed by a detailed argument, demonstrating that Anglo American has not fulfilled its obligations to consult with community members, while continuing to rely on "decisions" taken by so-called Section 21 companies which are not democratically elected.

In April, the board of Anglo American heard both Mr Spoor and community representative Phillipos Dolo eloquently argue that the company had an overwhelming moral and legal obligation to sit down and discuss future developments with those most likely to be impacted by them. Anglo American's chair, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart acknowledged that the actions of the Section 21 companies left a lot to be desired.

But - just as he did in 2006 - Moody-Stuart has ignored pleas to travel to the region and see for himself what the true situation is; and just as he did then, he has allowed Anglo Platinum to ride roughshod over local peoples' rights and livelihoods.

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