MAC: Mines and Communities

Anglo Platinum accused of community violations in South Africa

Published by MAC on 2009-12-06
Source: Jubilee South Africa (2009-12-01)

Being the world's largest miner of one of its most-prized metals, Anglo Platinum might reasonably be expected to adhere to basic human rights principles, when acquiring territory that's vital to poor farmers and their families.

Not a bit of it.

As substantiated by many stories on this website, the company flagrantly encroaches on Indigenous peoples' land without their consent, using security forces as a violent proxy to implement its objectives.

The latest example of such unacceptable behaviour centres on the black African community of Sekuruwe in Limpopo province, heart of platinum country.

Anglo Platinum is majority-owned by Anglo American plc.

However, the UK mining giant has shown a puzzling reluctance to criticise any destructive actions taken by its subsidiary.

Service delivery and other protests hit Anglo Platinum at Mokopane, South Africa

Jubilee South Africa Press Statement

1 December 2009

The police in Mokopane, Limpopo Province, arrested two activists from Ga Machikiri and Ga Mokaba and are searching for others from Ga Mokaba and Ga Molekane. The activists organised pickets over the past weekend in protest at the poor state of service delivery in the villages in the area, the impact of Anglo Platinum on affected villages and the planned expansion of its operations to more villages.

In a related development, the community of Sekuruwe has since last week been opposing yet further encroachment by Anglo Platinum on their land by means of protest action and intensifying their use of the land.

Ga Molekane, Ga Machikiri and Ga Mokaba pickets

On Sunday, in Ga Molekane, people picketed the houses of the Ward Councillor, members of the ANC, and members of the ward committee because of the lack of water, the poor condition of roads and the need for better houses. The water in the area has been severely contaminated by the Anglo Platinum mining operations and the air is heavily polluted by the slimes dump which is being expanded alongside the village. The picketers raised concerns that councillors no longer come to the community and when they do they are aggressive and bullying. According to an activist: "Communities are fed up and they are rising now."

In Ga Machikiri, there were pickets at the Ward Councillor and a ward committee and ANC branch executive committee member. The pickets were to demonstrate people's dissatisfaction at the impact of Anglo Platinum on their village. Their houses are cracking due to the mine's blasting operations and the air is polluted. These problems will be exacerbated by the new shaft earmarked for Ga-Machikiri.

There were pickets in Ga Mokaba at members of the ward committee and the ANC branch executive committee. They expressed concern at the close link between the political leaders and the mine, the lack of accountability, corruption in tendering and the imposition of decisions on the community. Anglo Platinum wants to fence off the cemetry and is intending to open two shafts at Ga Mokaba and Sandsloot.

The pickets were organised in keeping with the Gatherings Act which allows for pickets of up to 15 people on a picket. According to Phillopos Dolo, Jubilee Mokopane Coordinator, "We are trying to indicate to these people that we are conscious about their failures to us as the constituency. If we take peaceful actions through pickets, marches, the world can hear us."

Yet, the police have responded with arrests and the search for others, arriving at people's houses late at night with three or four cars and 15 to 20 personnel. This is clearly unwarranted intimidation in violation of the right of all South Africans to protest.

Anglo Encroachment on Sekuruwe Land

The community of Sekuruwe has come out in numbers to protect their land from Anglo Platinum and Fraser Alexander in response to drilling and the digging of a furrow on their land. Over the past year, Anglo Platinum has fenced off Sekuruwe community land to expand the slimes dump alongside Ga Molekane. Now it has gone beyond the fence into adjacent community land.

Last Wednesday, the community initiated their protest action against this further encroachment. James Shiburi of the Sekuruwe Committee explained, "The community is angry at Anglo Platinum for repeatedly ignoring our wishes and our rights. We are still fighting for that side in the camp, now you are coming this side."

More than 200 people protested until the company retreated behind the fence, "back into the camp". The community is maintaining an ongoing presence at the site. They are using hand tools, forks and spades, to plough the land and plant their seeds. They have also sent new letters Anglo Platinum and government, stating that the company is not welcome on their land on their land, these in addition to repeated letters throughout the year.

For further information, contact:

Phillipos Dolo, Jubilee Mokopane Coordinator, 073 789 2489
James Shiburi, Sekuruwe, 072 478 3894
George Dor, Jubilee South Africa General Secretary, 076 460 9620, george@mail.ngo.za


Anglo Platinum Bulldozes Sekuruwe Community's Mealie Fields

Jubilee South Africa Press Statement

3 December 2009

Today the Sekuruwe community stood and watched as Anglo Platinum proceeded to bulldoze land the community used for ploughing fields. This aggressive violation by the mining company is the latest development in a week of hostile action against the community on its remaining land, this after a year of systematic destruction of its most arable land.

One community elder said "Anglo Platinum has already destroyed everything where we ploughed. We had crops coming up already and they are now all destroyed."

The community has repeatedly stated that they did NOT give consent for Anglo Platinum to use their land. Despite repeated requests and demands that Anglo Platinum stop working on their land until the dispute is settled, Anglo Platinum proceeded to destroy the community's fields, and call the police to arrest anyone who attempts to go onto their land to protect their crops.

47 community members were arrested last year when the community tried to stop Anglo Platinum's contractor, Phuti Funeral Homes, from removing graves on the same farm without the community's consent.

The community intends to express their frustration by demonstrating at the site tomorrow, and they also plan to demand that the Minister of Mining intervene and stop Anglo Platinum from destroying their land. The community members wonder when will government ever come to their aid as they watch their land, their water, and their ancestors be destroyed at the hands of Anglo Platinum.

For more information, please contact Mr. James Shiburi 072 478 3894

George Dor Jubilee South Africa General Secretary +27 (0)11 648 7000 +27 (0)76 460 9620 george@mail.ngo.za

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