MAC: Mines and Communities

Anglo American continues community assaults in South Africa

Published by MAC on 2008-07-01

Platinum Protests in the Limpopo

Guardian Weekly

23rd June 2008

The platinum miners have cut off services to those communities thatrefuse to be relocated. They are using the police as muscle to throwpeople off their ancestral land so that they can mine there. To me itis a mess. The destruction taking place on the land is simplyunsustainable.

They say that they have relocated the remains of our ancestors, butthey leave us to wonder where the bones have been reburied. Where theexhumations took place, where the graves were, there are now bones andskulls. Right now, as I'm speaking, they are still there. This isreally a criminal insult to our ancestors.

Everywhere that Anglo Platinum are operating in South Africa they aremaking a mess. People have been ploughing our fields from generationto generation, but they can't use that land any more because of themining operations. Also, the industry has contaminated the water in somany of the villages in the area.

I cannot say that we will ever manage to stop Anglo Platinum. They areusing the police, and some of the government departments. I believethe South African government is on the side of the corporation,because they are looking at the revenues they are getting.

During the apartheid era, before we had any freedom or democracy inthis country, it was the tribal chieftain who made the decisionsconcerning communal land. It was only he who could enter into anagreement, and do so without the consent of the indigenous people. Asa result, these are the tactics that Anglo Platinum are using todefeat our people and encroach on our land without any consent fromus.

They are claiming that there has been a legal agreement about theland, but it is our position that they must provide evidence of thisin court. If there is an agreement it is only known to them and theconstituent companies they are using; they have not made thesedocuments public. It would be just a fake agreement to us because itwas done during the apartheid era. It would have been something thechieftains did without any involvement from the indigenous people.

We lodged a report against the company on March 25, at the SouthAfrican Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), who ordered Anglo Platinum tostop the evictions. They also instructed the company to stop theenvironmental degradation. Now the SAHRC is taking the matter furtherand bringing a report before the South African parliament.

We are working internationally. We are trying to ensure that everyonefrom jewel manufacturers to investors will stop doing business withAnglo Platinum. We staged demonstrations in April in the UK. [Dolojoined ActionAid at the Anglo-American AGM in London. Board memberswere invited to take the "Limpopo water challenge" and drink watercollected from a school near to the platinum mine. No onevolunteered.]

We are alone here, and we are fighting a big monster. The localauthorities and municipalities, the provincial government, they areall on the side of the corporation. They can arrest our people withoutcommitting an offence. The evictions will continue. They will use thepolice who hit our people and arrest them, and we can't stop them.

As long as Anglo Platinum continues with this inhuman and destructivebehaviour, and without any consent from the local community, we willcontinue to demonstrate. The mine has been in operation for 15 years -since during apartheid. It will take another five or seven years, butwe will continue until they agree to stop.

• Phillopos Dolo was interviewed by Francis Tamburin.



9th June 2008


Yesterday (Sunday 8 June) members of the Sekuruwe community went tothe site where their family members' graves had been located beforebeing exhumed by Anglo Platinum to make way for a tailings dam for thePPL Mine. They were angry and highly disturbed to find that there werehuman bones remaining at the site. They are estimating that the bonesare from several different graves and they suspect that some of theirancestors were not actually in the coffins that were moved.

The community members then called the police since the police alsoforced the community to allow the graves to be exhumed and reburied.The police told the community that they cannot do anything - that themine would have to come and deal with the problem. The police thencalled Herman Steyn of Amplats PPL Mine and another representative,who promptly came to the site.

The community members reported that Herman Steyn said they would putall the leftover bones in one coffin and make sure it is reburied.

This is a total affront to the culture of the Bapedi, and thecommunity members are very upset at the treatment of their ancestors.They are also concerned that the police appear to come in masses whenthe mine calls them to protect their interests, but when the residentsof the area call the police, the police tell them they can't doanything to assist.

The community members are demanding that the mine repair the damagedone and assist the community members to correct these problems. Theywant to check the graves to ensure that their family members areactually inside the coffins.

No one should stand for this complete disrespect of the Bapedi andtheir cultural traditions. They feel they were not able to protecttheir ancestors' memory, and that they have let their ancestors down.

We urge all concerned individuals and organisations to phone, fax, oremail Anglo Platinum and demand that they correct this situation andact on the requests of the people of Sekuruwe. Address your concernsto the CEO, Neville Nicolau using the contact information below:

Anglo Platinum

Phone: 011 373 6111

Fax: 011 373 5111

Phone (calling from outside South Africa): +27 11 373 6111

Fax (calling from outside South Africa): +27 11 373 5111

For more information, please contact Phillopos Dolo at 073 789 2489, Brand Nthako at 082 628 1362 or Anne Mayher 082 398 6882;



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