The press statement below mentions Richard Spoor. Richard Spoor is a human rights lawyer who has represented communities resisting encroachment on their land by mining companies. He is currently being sued for defamation by Anglo American plc subsidiary Anglo Platinum and by African Rainbow Minerals.
Jubilee Mokopane, Limpopo
18 February 2010
LIMPOPO COMMUNITIES DEMONSTRATE AGAINST MINING WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT!
Note: All of the below activities in Limpopo are underway while Richard Spoor is tied up in court thanks to a defamation case against him filed by Anglo Platinum (a target of some of the actions listed below) and African Rainbow Minerals.
The community of Sekiming, supported by Jubilee Mokopane will be resorting to rolling mass action to stop Anglo Platinum and the Department of Basic Education from relocating the Seritarita High School to another village. The school is currently situated at Sekiming village which is considered to be most central and accessible by children and learners from all the neighbouring villages.
The school is close by and learners can walk to school so their parents do not have to incur costs for transportation. The community has been under siege by mining from Anglo Platinum as well as Lonmin (formerly London-Rhodesia Mining Company). In 2009, Sekiming successfully chased Lonmin’s prospecting rigs from their community.
If the school is relocated that would mean children would have to walk long distances and others may have to hire transportation – they do not have money for this. Transport is lacking in the area and their parents do not have extra money to cater for this extra cost.
On Monday 15 February, in the village of Sekiming, the community and Jubilee Mokopane were demonstrating, demanding that the councillor, Mr. Abram Kgaphola, stop the school from relocating. With this demonstration of not more than fifteen people the community highlighted their dissatisfaction with this plan to relocate the school. But they also agreed to embark on a number of peaceful pickets to plead with their councillor to intervene. He ignored the picket and did not meet the community.
On the 16 February 2010 another group of 15 community members from Matlou, Lelaka, Chokwe, Seema and Mashahleng staged a demonstration against the company Venmag. The workers were informed in advance of the demonstration and did report to work at all. Mr Lelaka, one of the community members, stated that if this kind of exploration is not stopped it would translate into further land loss by his community and more land dispossessions.
As if it is not enough to forcefully move and resettle the Ga Pila community from their ancestral land to a township called Sterkwater, the new Ga-Pila Township may face yet another removal of their community from the Sterkwater Farm. A notice has been placed that there will be prospecting for Lithium Ore by the state-owned mining company, Africa Exploration Mining and Finances.
Another demonstration took place at the Mapela Tribal Authority with several people from different communities on the 16th of February. These community members are protesting there because of the role of Kgoshigadi Langa in supporting Anglo Platinum’s operations while at the same time the community reports she has not properly engaged them.
The residents of these communities and Jubilee Mokopane say they that they are sick and tired of these big machines that are coming onto their land to do business without even asking for permission from the community. They said that they would continue to refuse to allow any machines on their land.
For more information, please contact Malesela Sekgala (Sekiming) 071 245 4788, Frans Pila (Sterkwater/Jubilee Mokopane) 071 344 3443 and Phillipos Dolo (Jubilee Mokopane) 073 789 2489.