(refers to alert of 26/1/09 – see below)
Since the Ministry of Land Affairs decided to sign the lease, giving way for Anglo Platinum to bulldoze ploughing fields and likely burial sites, an estimated 400-500 residents have gone onto the land, some with cattle, to stop Anglo Platinum from bulldozing their fields and erecting a fence around the land. They have been able to stop the subcontractors since yesterday, Wednesday the 28th of January. The Police arrived at the scene but there have been no arrests. A case is being prepared for the High Court to challenge the lease agreement that the over 1000 residents say they did not agree to.
The government continues to ignore the pleas of the community for justice and protection of their rights. The community remains angry and disillusioned as to why the government does not come to their aid. People are urged to voice their concerns to Anglo American, Anglo Platinum, and the Minister of Land Affairs (Please see contact information below). Even a short email can really assist the community.
For more information please call Phillopos Dolo +27 (0)73 789 2489, James Shiburi +27 (0)72 478 3894 or George Dor +27 (0)76 460 89620.
26 January 2009
We are calling on all activists, friends of Jubilee South Africa, and friends of mining-affected communities to urgently call Anglo American, Anglo Platinum, and the South African Department of Land Affairs to stop Anglo Platinum from erecting a fence on land currently used by the Sekuruwe community. Over ONE THOUSAND SEKURUWE COMMUNITY MEMBERS DENOUNCED THE PLANS OF THE AMPLATS mine at a meeting held this past weekend. DESPITE THE WISHES OF THE COMMUNITY, Anglo Platinum has sent subcontractors on land used for burial grounds, grazing, and other customs of the Sekuruwe people. Anglo Platinum wants to use this land for a tailings dam at its Potgietersrus Platinum Mine.
A lease was applied for to the Minister of Land Affairs, which the Sekuruwe community HAS ALWAYS CONTESTED. The community applied to the urgent court to temporarily stop the signing of the lease until the community members are consulted. The judge in the urgent court said that the matter was not urgent since it had been in the planning for some time, and he referred the applicants (Sekuruwe community members) to apply to the regular court. In the meantime, the Ministry of Land Affairs signed the lease and Anglo has begun working on that land WITHOUT the community’s consent. The community and its attorneys are working on filing a court case to challenge this lease. Despite this, Anglo Platinum has continually claimed that they are working on behalf of the communities. This is blatantly not true as over 1000 people said they do not want the tailings dam on their land until Anglo Platinum properly discusses with the entire community and its attorneys.
Furthermore, a recent report by a member of the Council of the South African Heritage Resource Agency and University of the Witwatersrand found that there were human remains on the same land that Anglo Platinum is now disturbing for the tailings dam. It was recommended that a proper investigation be conducted into the grave removals since human bones were found on the sites of graves that were over 60 years old. These graves are governed by the South African Heritage Resources Act, which requires a proper process to be followed to acquire a permit.
The community is frustrated that the government has not come to their aid, and Anglo Platinum continues to ignore their wishes. It is expected that the community will protest the mine’s actions, and in the past police have been called out to enforce the mine’s interests, often using brutality and violence.
For more information please contact Phillopos Dolo +27 (0)73 789 2489, Mavis Tsebe (Sekuruwe) +27 (0)83 770 5199, or George Dor (Jubilee SA General Secretary) at +27 (0)11 336 9190 or +27 (0)76 460 9620.
FOR THOSE ORGANISATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS WHO WOULD LIKE TO TAKE ACTION, please call, fax or email the contacts below. For Anglo American and Anglo Platinum, urge them to stop working on the Blinkwater Farm in Limpopo Province until the communities affected fully agree to allow the companies onto their land with their full, democratic, and informed consent.
Anglo American CEO, Cynthia Carroll (London, UK)
Phone: +44 (0)20 7968 8542, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7968 8687
Email:  eshinnie@angloamerican.co.uk (Cynthia Carroll’s secretary)
Anglo Platinum CEO, Neville Nicolau (South Africa)
Inside South Africa:
Phone: 011 373 6111, Fax: 011 373 5111
Outside South Africa:
Phone: +27 11 373 6111, Fax: + 27 11 373 5111
Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, Lulama Xingwana
Inside South Africa:
Phone: 012 319 7319, Fax: 012 321 8558
Outside South Africa:
Phone: +27 12 319 7319, Fax: +27 12 321 8558
Email: pa.minister@nda.agric.za