Press Release from the Bench Marks Foundation,
Anglo Platinum employee accused of disrupting community meeting
The Bench Marks Foundation has expressed its concern suggesting that an employee of Anglo Platinum was instrumental in preventing a meeting of the relocated Magobading community from taking place last weekend.
The community meeting was to have happened on Saturday 22 May, in order to implement an agreement that Anglo Platinum entered into with the relocated Magobading community on the 18th February 2010.  However, the meeting was prevented from happening by a group of angry young people from surrounding villages. It is alleged that the young people were organised by an employee of Anglo Platinum, Mr Trinity Mthiyana.
Bench Marks Foundation Executive Director, John Capel, says: “During the course of the past two months, Anglo Platinum has signed an historic agreement in France emanating from the meeting of the 18th February, committing itself to talking to the community and meeting its demands. We are very concerned at reports of intimidation of the community, some of whom were threatened with injury and even death. This kind of intimidation undermines the legitimate work of the community. We therefore call on Anglo Platinum to make every effort to ensure that none of its employees are involved in any way in such disruptive and intimidatory behaviour.”
The Foundation notes that Magobading is a relocated community, and that Anglo Platinum has promised to compensate it in various ways.  This includes promises to renovate halls and homes of community members.
The community has also called for an independent fund to be set up to provide resources to capacitate the community in various ways, including job creation.
Capel added that the Foundation will be talking to its national and international allies to assess the way forward. A meeting with COSATU, SACC the NGO Coalition of Limpopo will be held soon to mobilize support for the community. In addition, a complaint has been opened up with the South African Police Forces in Limpopo against those responsible for the threats against the community.
However, he added that many in the community are worried about a backlash against them and are living in fear of their lives. There are also allegations that a hit list has been drawn up by community leaders preferred by Anglo Platinum.
“The SA Human Rights Commission has already ruled against the way Anglo Platinum engages with communities, but Anglo Platinum insists on a policy of ‘divide-and-rule’ that further exacerbates tensions that can lead to people being killed,” Capel warned.
For more information, contact John Capel
+27 (0)11 832 1743
+27 (0)82 874 2650