Stop the titanium death dunes

This week the mounting violence and intimidation against people opposed to mining on the Transkei Wild Coast took a frightening new turn. The chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe,  was shot dead outside his house in the village of Mdatya in what bears the marks of an assassination.

The killers allegedly arrived in a white vehicle with a rotating blue lamp on its roof, suggesting they were posing as police officers. When Rhadebe opened the door, they shot him eight times in front of his wife and two sons.

It is customary in some quarters to ascribe the worsening violence in the Xolobeni area to “factions in the community” that are at odds over mining. This looks increasingly wrong-headed: the attacks appear to be exclusively directed at anti-mining activists on the crisis committee.

Christmas last year saw a pattern of brutal scare tactics in Mdatya that left many villagers sleeping in the bush and sent three of them to hospital.

The imbizo at Mdatya in late December also strongly indicated that the mass of residents in the affected villages are not interested in mining and the kind of economic development it represents.

There has been a marked upsurge in violent incidents over the past year. Last May the committee won a temporary high court interdict against violence and intimidation, which was later withdrawn by agreement.

There is only one sure way to restore peace and security to this place: the government, which has long vacillated and now appears to be leaning towards corporate interests, must set its face against mining.

In March last year, the Australian company that is eyeing the titanium locked up in the Xolobeni dunes applied for a new permit to exploit all five blocks along the coast. The committee has lodged a formal objection.

To show that it respects the wishes of the majority of affected villagers, the mineral resources department should refuse the application – and do so as quickly as possible.

* Got a tip-off for us about this story? Click here.

The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) produced this story. All views are ours. See www.amabhungane.co.za for our stories, activities and funding sources.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Drew Forrest
Guest Author
Advertisting

Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Not a sweet deal, Mister

Mister Sweet workers say they will not risk their health, and the lives of others, to continue producing and packaging confectionaries

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world