August 2022

Dear Friends, the August bulletin once again has much to think and reflect upon. In the last few months, we kept you abreast with our work particularly in Marikana and, in this edition, we talk of our visit to the area. In addition, we try to provide some background to the socio economic crisis, and the organisations that seek to resist it in favour of the poor and working people.

Much has been written and spoken about illegal mining which we include here. This August edition also brings to the attention the momentous national actions of the workers movement which, despite seemingly deep fissures and fractures, decided to march and strike together. They did this on the simple realisation that their members need them to work together to hold what the workers have or else lose much more. This is a good sign for the future. 

What however remains unaddressed at the mass political action level is the war on women, as we raise in this bulletin. Read and share.

· EDITORIAL ·

We recall how the Minister of Police, journalists, the portfolio committee on mines and energy and political leaders of all hues rushed to the scene of the crime: a mining dump site in Krugersdorp. This is the site where a group of people were trying to shoot a music video which ended tragically as  8 or more women were raped. This took place towards the end of July 2022 but, after an initial concern, the “mass (media?)” focus quickly shifted away from the victims of the rape to that of illegal mining. 

The extensive media focus on “illegality” on the mines framed the issue in a way that implied that the lawful rights holders of mining licences were lawful and compliant with the laws. This is far from the truth and represents the illegality of the lawful rights holders especially when it comes to mine closures or delivering on Social and labour Plans. 

These arguments we have tried to address in the media. In addition, we have sought to focus the discussion on the need for employment of mining communities and the recognition of artisanal mining. In addition, we have focused on the authorities ineptitude and mismanagement of mine closures. We have pointed out that the Auditor General (AG) Tsakani Maluleke warned (already in March 2022!) that the DMRE must speed up its management of rehabilitating South Africa’s abandoned mines, as they “pose serious health, safety and environmental hazards for nearby communities.” This was at least three months before the rapes at the Krugersdorp mine dump took place. But it is not the first time the department has been hearing of the dangers posed by unclosed mines.

The Auditor General initial audit of ownerless and derelict took in 2019. In this latest audit, the AG found that the  department’s management of the 6 100 abandoned mines and 1 170 mine openings was ineffective and did not address the environmental, social and health impact of unrehabilitated mines within a set time frame. “Between 2009 and 2021, the department focused on rehabilitating the remaining 256 asbestos mines and closing mine openings. Only 27 of these mines were rehabilitated, and 507 mine openings were closed,” Maluleke said.

It is a long road and we in the movement must keep the corporations and the government to account. The resources are needed, as well as the political will to ensure the job is done. We do not know what to make of the statement of the Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe, in briefing the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), when he said that it will take 17 years to completely close Gauteng’s known abandoned mines to stop illegal mining. In their current form, we cannot be optimistic.

ARTICLES

Photo: Paul Botes

The National Shutdown of 22 August 2022

The two biggest union federations – COSATU and SAFTU – organised a national shutdown on 24 August 2022. This was seen by many in the business media as an event of little significance or ill-advised under the dire economic climate. We cannot agree with this sentiment.

The stay-at-home call and the decentralised strike took place in only 6 of the 9 provinces, which may itself be an indication of the diminished power of the unions, but may also mark the beginnings of a revival of union power. The unions remain apart – largely, it may seems because of ideological or political reasons and the thorny issue of being in alliance with the ruling African National Congress. The red shirts and the common action on the day however suggests that their differences may only be surface or leadership deep.

The federations’ demands were largely socio economic and political, yet these were not contained in one document itself reflecting the steps that must be taken to harness unity in action.

The SAFTU demands were derived largely from the Workers Summit 2022 they convened. These touched on a host of social issues, including the scourge of rape or the war in the Ukraine – which they said was the continuation of the USA strategy for geopolitical dominance. It included as well as a range of other socio economic ills, such as the impacts of load shedding and the demand to end the privatisation of Eskom. 

SAFTU demanded a living wage and a basic income grant. It noted that the “rising costs of living are rendering the minimum wage paltry. The current minimum wage of R23,19 per hour (R3 895,92 and R4 081 per month for those working 21 and 22 days per month, respectively) is between R668 and R825 less than the monthly cost of household food groceries of R4 748. The minimum wage was already pathetic when instituted and now is just insulting.” What workers wanted was a LIVING WAGE, not a dying wage like, they believe, the minimum wage is.

Furthermore, they argued for a universal income grant because of the dire poverty and unemployment said to be too high: “Official unemployment increased from 24% in 2012 to 34% in 2022. When we factor in those who have given up looking for jobs, the unemployment rate is 45.5%, about 12.4 million of the labour force is unemployed.”

COSATU, on the other hand, also saluted the workers and praised their utmost discipline in the way these strikes were conducted. They warned that if their memorandum of demands are not met, they will take to the streets again: “Our struggle to advance workers’ immediate economic interests, needs to be accompanied by the struggle to defend public services in the face of government’s threat to privatise and recklessly slash budgets, and thus incapacitating the public sector from playing its democratic and transformative role.

Never has this need to defend the public sector been so critical than in this period we are now in. The Federation remains committed not only to defending the public sector, but also to ensuring that the public sector plays an appropriate transformative role for a radical social and economic change in favour of the workers and the poor. We, therefore, will continue to expose and confront, without fear or favour, the forces of corruption and self-enrichment.

We caution all those who promised to respond to our memorandums, within fourteen days (14),  to do so because we remain ready and willing to confront them again on the 07th October 2022, if they fail to honour their commitment.”

Prayer in search of closure and healing. Photo by Friederike Subklew-Sehume.
Click here to see the rest of the photos of this trip.

BACK TO THE KOPPIE: Bench Marks Foundation re-visit Marikana

August in South Africa is Women’s Month and, as we have said, increasingly become associated with Marikana. The Bench Marks Foundation team has been in and out of Marikana as part of our ongoing work in the area, which culminated in an inspection in-loco to the Marikana townships on 10 August 2022. The delegation was led by Bishop Seoka and included other civil society representatives. What we found is very different from the official SIbanyeStillwater commemoration of the massacre. Much of o ur visit was broadcast live by community media and the public broadcaster. The day long SABC coverage of the visit can be found here, here and here.

Whereas we found little for the better had changed, there is something else.The Marikana Renewal Project held their event on the 18 August and they had a few speakers, including the CEO, Neal Froneman, Prof Habib and Bishop Makgoba. Guest speaker Adam Habib,  Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), argued that civil society – he said the union leaders – had “to be less ideologically rigid and more pragmatic with the view to finding solutions to contemporary challenges. None of this will be easy. It would mean insisting on corporations to take on their social obligations seriously and on having the courage to call out corrupt and inefficient practices, both within it and on the part of government officials. Too often corporates become complicit partners to official corruption.” Habib finally called for trust to be built, to which he believed attempts were “already undertaken by the government and Sibanye-Stillwater through the Marikana Renewal process under the leadership of Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.”

This is exactly what we set out to do. The Foundation is unashamedly a social justice organisation and therefore committed to fighting for a better deal in society for the poor and working people and could not leave our worldview out when we visited the place and people we have worked with for over a decade. But we were clear that the lived evidence will guide us, and hopefully this report will reveal what we saw on the ground. Unlike the “official” commemorations and their “official on-site inspections”, we found that little has changed for the better. In fact, many believe the conditions and the mood of the people have gone down and the masses are pessimistic and angry.

About Marikana

The name Marikana, like Soweto, has become a symbol of both repression and resistance. Marikana as a mining town was always accompanied by violence, long before 16 August 2012 and after. That police massacred 34 people who were involved in a wage / industrial dispute fighting for a living wage and social justice in mining communities, has correctly put the spotlight on policing and security in and around the mines. Sadly, the killing of activists and dissenters continues until today. They are killed by a range of actors: police, hitmen, or other unknown forces. Like many other parts of our country, Marikana has become a difficult terrain for those who work daily for social justice, be it at the workplace, at home, in places of worship or play. Working for social justice today is a risky business, but there is no alternative but to keep on working… and hoping.

The Bench Marks Foundation engaged communities around Marikana on 10 August 2022. This was part of this year’s program to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Marikana Massacre. The two preceding seminars included a community session and inputs from the academics, who sharply warned of little change to the conditions of Marikana.

Policy Gap 6

The Bench Marks Foundation released its report Communities in the Platinum Minefields- POLICY GAP 6: A Review of Platinum Mining in the Bojanala District of the North West Province: A Participatory Action Research (PAR) Approach on 14 August 2012 at the offices of the SA Human Rights Commission.

Our 2012 study focused on a number of corporations operating in the Bojanala region. These included: Anglo Platinum, Impala Platinum, Lonmin, Xstrata, Aquarius, and Royal Bafokeng Platinum Limited.

We measured them against various international standards and our own, the Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility – Bench Marks for Measuring Business Performance.

Already in 2007, the Bench Marks Foundation had published Policy Gap 1, looking at the impacts of Platinum Mining on local communities in the North West province. In 2013, we published Policy Gap 7 which specifically looked at Lonmin 2003 – 2012.

Lonmin PLC

We focused on Lonmin and made various findings regarding local employment, health and safety, the quality and impact of their CSR programmes. The methodology of the organisation was simple yet very effective. We compared the findings with those of Policy Gap 1, which was published in August 2007.

The launch of Policy Gap 6 coincided with a wave of strikes that rolled through Bojanala District from the far West involving Angloplats, Royal Bafokeng Platinum Limited and Implats operations through Aquarius operations onto Lonmin operations in Marikana. The workers’ demand was for a living wage of R12 500.

Earlier in August 2012, three mine workers participating in the strike were shot outside of the gates of Aquarius mine in Kroondal. In May 2012 the community of Marikana had brought Lonmin to a standstill agitating for more jobs for the local community.

The year 2012 has gone down as a most turbulent year, and flowed from massive profits realised by most of the mining companies after the recovery from the global financial crash of 2008.

PGMs, Profits for the few

From its modest use after WWII, the Platinum Group Metals has grown to be used in motor cars, in petroleum, the manufacture of jewellery and much more. Whilst the dominant corporations in the second half of the 20th century were the likes of Gencor, JCI and Lonrho (the former name of Lonmin), today this sector is dominated by Implats, Amplats and Lonmin now bought by Sibanye Stillwater. According to the Minerals Council, they are “responsible for producing up to 80% of the world’s PGM supplies.”

From about 2002 to just before the global economic crisis in 2008, the sector experienced a boom. Whilst the bosses took home the profits, the people and the planet sat with the problems of environmental degradation and poor health for the communities. The profits result from the externalisation of costs onto the poor and working people, the environment and the ecology at large.

More specifically, they come from the unattended workplace accidents and deaths at work, air and dust pollution suffered by those in the cities, towns and villages.

It goes without saying that workers, mining communities and the environment benefited very little from the long boom, or the post-crash boom. But the rock drill operators, key to any platinum mining operations, had had enough of super exploitation. The strike led to the massacre on 16 August 2012, two days after the launch of Policy Gap 12 and the killings of 10 other human beings the days before.

When we did the now well-known 2012 study, we found that things were worse than they were in 2007.

2022 – The road travelled

We did and have been doing similar investigations this year. Indeed, the first seven months of this year, we have been engaging the communities we work with and found nothing had changed for the better. We have found that, not only in terms of the desired living wage but also in terms of living conditions in communities, things have deteriorated significantly.

We found:

  • Overflowing sewage due to overcrowding housing and yards with backyard dwellings as a result of the living out allowance;
  • The same unsafe railway crossing traversed by platinum mine trains continues to pose a major risk to the public;
  • Air pollution levels related to the mineral processing and smelting plants that still do not comply with World Health Organisation recommended levels for a healthy and safe environment;
  • Massive and deepening local unemployment;
  • Limited access to potable drinking water for communities due to the impact of mining in the areas, affecting quality and availability of water and very low local water pressure;
  • Appalling housing conditions in the informal settlement;
  • Very poor road maintenance in these areas leading to roads that are barely traversable; and
  • Community access to quality and sustained electricity supply is very limited and informal connections have already caused numerous deaths.

Sibanye on site visitsSibanye Stillwater invited many civil society groups to join them on an official tour to reveal what they – the Marikana Renewal Campaign – were doing. A staff member on the visit observed thus: “We were taken to Bapo, Segwaelane and Majakaneng and saw health, education and vegetable projects far removed from the communities most affected by the 2012 massacre. On tour there the team leading us avoided roads displaying the degrading conditions in which people in Marikana have to use on a daily basis.The Town of Marikana was entirely avoided. There was also hardly any opportunity to engage with community members.”Bench Marks Foundation on site visits and what we found:

We visited the communities in Marikana to find out how their lives improved. As part of the programme, a delegation accompanied Bishop Jo Seoka through different communities. The delegation comprised civil society organisations, the media, community activists and local religious leaders. The delegation visited the communities of Lapologang and Mmaditlhokwa, the RDP section and Nkaneng at the Koppie.

Stop 1: Lapologang/Mmaditlhokwa

The communities of Lapologang and Mmaditlhokwa are both affected by the operations of Tharisa mine. The communities have suffered relocation by Therisa and continue to suffer other impacts of mining. What we heard was disturbing in that they are about to be relocated once again!

Communities are being divided

During our visit we were met with a vocal group of supporters seemingly aligned to the local councillor and Tharisa mine. We also met community representatives that we have been working with.

There were clear divisions between these groups, which community representatives we worked with believe they are manufactured and fueled by the elites and the company Tharisa mine. This sentiment was widely felt: “When we meet as the poor, mining communities during the day we are united – at night those linked to the company will come and divide us.”

Another community activist spoke of the difficult situation for Tharisa mine employees: “Once, there was a community meeting to discuss the community’s grievances. During the event, people noticed a drone that was used for filming. Over the course of the following months, many of those that had participated in the meeting and worked for Tharisa mine were fired”. A few activists believe that the company had used the footage as part of their corporate surveillance strategy that resulted in the dismissals.

The uncertainty that is constantly present in people’s lives in Mmadithlokwa is not only a result of the possible dismissals, but also because the current head of security in Tharisa mine was in a position of authority in the police during the 2012 Marikana Massacre where 34 miners were shot. Some believe that he was “hired to intimidate people”.

Chronic poverty and joblessness: This is the single most burning problem raised with us over and over again by the communities. Creating economic opportunities must be front and centre if community needs are to be met. Other issues raised included the poor quality of the roads and other social amenities in the villages.

Blasting: Daily blasting is also an issue that comes with its consequences. Usually in the afternoon, the big blast happens. The daily chaos is announced on a large billboard, in the middle of the Mmaditlokwa: “3 pm – 5 pm” is marked on the board in handwriting today, the period when blasting by the powerful neighbours Tharisa mine will happen. A community activist shares: “So far, the stones that have landed on other properties have spared mine but the dust also reaches my hut every time. I have hung blankets in front of my tin walls to somehow keep it out but even that doesn’t really help.“ says the activist. The trucks constantly passing to and from pits in Mmaditlhokwa add to the dust from the blasting: “We’ve put up with this long enough. Now it’s time to act. The fight against Tharisa mine has become part of our everyday life.”

Environmental pollution: At least a dozen boys and girls with disabilities live in the area, an unusually high number among only a few thousand residents. The high levels of chemical and dust exposure in the air could be responsible. Community activists say: “Many children have eye problems here. The dust and dirty water cause a lot of health problems in Mmadithlokwa.”

The situation in Mmadithlokwa raises questions about the nature of the reforms and the quality of political and municipal representation in the area. A community leader put this succinctly when asked by Bishop Seoka why the communities do not unite as they share a common experience: “When people are so hungry they become very vulnerable to many other offers and tend to look inwards to themselves and their families.”

Stop 2: The RDP section Marikana

The community has long given up hope, yet expect that our visit will give voice to their demands and with it their hopes and aspirations.

Unemployment: Once again, this demand was raised. The community members we spoke to raised the issue of the chronic lack of employment opportunities to work in the mines and related industries. Community members said at present their children only had opportunities to work in places like local stores or supermarkets. To get employment in the mines itself is a degrading and non-transparent process, exacerbated by the general lack of employment. Some community members reported that they were expected to pay bribes and, in the case of women, to give sexual favours. The artificially high standard set by the corporations for those it wants to employ were mentioned as another barrier to employment. Community members say: “They consistently demand for high qualifications for the new entrants as well as experience. How could this be obtained without them having ever worked?”

Sewerage: The issues of waste management and, particularly, the persistent problem of sewerage running in the stream in between people’s houses, are a major cause of anger for residents. The same sewage was already documented by Bench Marks in 2007.

Support for food production and alternatives to a mining centric economy: These issues remain part of the solution but have not been addressed by the municipalities and the companies.

Stop 3: Nkaneng

The community is still excluded from quality municipal services: there is no running water or electricity in people’s homes. Community members talked about the bad roads, potholes and lack of response from the authorities on their grievances. These roads even make it difficult for emergency services like ambulances to drive into the area. This failure, amongst others, have resulted in a few women having to give birth without assistance at their home or en route to the clinics.

Related to this is another thorny issue that is mentioned by residents: the SibanyeStillwater built Andrew Saffy Memorial Hospital which is within walking distance of Nkaneng. Community members say they cannot access and feel this is a violation of their human rights and their right to health.

Poor lighting and crime: Community members experience high levels of crime because of missing or dysfunctional street lighting. As a result, many women are scared to move around in the evening.

Stop 4: A minute of silence and reflection at the Koppie

We held a moment of silence to remember and respect the deceased. Bishop Jo Seoka led us all in prayers and encouraged each and every one to call out the names of the deceased they remember. We believe calling out their names keeps their legacy alive. All 44 victims who died were remembered in our prayers. They are all a striking reminder of the fact that the struggle for a living wage and social justice continues.

A further stop was prompted by the comments of women activists who said that there was a woman who was killed during the time of the massacre but has been unacknowledged.

When the delegation went to this informal housing area they found people living in bad conditions. They informed the Foundation that under extreme weather conditions, and particularly on rainy days, children are unable to go to school.

Unemployment is also appalingly high and, as a result, some women resort to sex work to make ends meet. Other residents resort to borrowing money from loan sharks who take their identity documents leaving them at the mercy of those who operate in the criminal underworld. To make matters worse, since they have no documents, they are unable to apply for social grants or the scarce jobs when they do become available. Under such circumstances, many go without food for days. Other societal factors include the fact that many of the youth have become hooked on drugs.

Conclusion

After a long day in the reflection session held at the Catholic Church, community leaders expressed their sadness of the material degradation and conditions of dire poverty, unemployment and inequality that community people have experienced since 2012. The painful neglect of their plight stands in contrast to the wealth and earnings of the directors of the platinum companies as well the profits that emanate from the sale of raw materials and the products of mining on the global market,

This situation is untenable and clearly unsustainable.

The overwhelming conclusion was that “Nothing has changed for the better – in fact, things have gotten worse!”

In such a terrain, all that the powers in government and in corporations are doing is to put a shine on things and, for that to work, communities have to be divided.The communities pleaded for greater efforts be made by us all to ensure that the corporations and the government do the right thing by the people.

A Photo Essay

Karin Schermbrucker, from Bread for the World (Germany) took these photos of Madithlokwa as part of their documentation of the work of the Bench Marks Foundation. See all the photos here.

Dear President Ramaphosa

Every month we say that your hands are full, but given that it is Women’s Month we have to raise our voice and ask you: are women human? If you answer YES, please tell us why it is that women are not free to walk the street any time of the day or night without being violated whilst men can do so freely? Is this not a denial of their basic human rights?

This comes from Stats SA recently released (30 August 2022) called Experience of crime in SA increased over the 2021/22 period. The report confirms that “the issue of crime is one that is experienced by almost all citizens, irrespective of their economic status or where they live”.  If anything, tackling crime and the causes of crime, is an urgent government necessity.

Whilst we all experience crime, it would appear even from this report that its most vulnerable face is still women. “A total of 99 000 households experienced assault in 2021/22; this is almost double the 2020/21 figures. Assault was most likely to be experienced by female-headed households and households in non-metro areas,” the report argues. 

If we consider sexual offenses, the reports confirms that “the percentage of households that reported all or some incidences of sexual offences to the police dropped from 69,0% in 2018/19 to 59,9% in 2019/20 before increasing to 88,7% in 2020/21, and then to 90,0% in 2021/22.”

We know that you have commissions, working groups, declarations and meetings but these do not easily  translate into real change in the streets, parks and homes of people.The recent rape of eight or more women who were filming in and around the mine dumps in Krugersdorp brought into sharp focus the violence of mines and the scourge of rape in South Africa. It also brought attention to the ills of illegal mining. Whilst initial reports listed the mine dumps where the rapes and robberies took places as an ownerless and derelict mine, it was later confirmed that the mine belongs to Mogale Gold (part of Mintails) whose mining right is valid until August 2029. However, the company’s mining operations were suspended by the DMRE in 2018 due to non-compliance with the approved Mine Work Programme.

As indicated elsewhere, the focus quickly shifted away from the rapes to foreigners, illegal migrants and illegal mining. This deflected from the real issues, as we argued in various of our media media interventions, which are all available on our website and social media pages.

As a person family with issues mining you also know that there are problems there but are we unable to address both issues with the same vigour and resources?

The Bench Marks Foundations advocacy attempted to deal with both the shift in the discourse away from rape and further violence against weomen and the real problems of illegal mining. What we found was a dire need for clear and effective oversight and accountability, as well as the need to affirm the existence and need for artisanal mining to combat rampant poverty and unemployment.

What is undeniable, as evidenced by the public noise, is that we are a country in crisis (at many levels), but we are also violent and xenophobic. We have our problems that are deep and seemingly unending, but blaming the foreigner for them will not address them adequately.

Some of the hate that is spewed from elected office bearers and those in the top echelons of administration will result in further violence against defenceless and vulnerable people.

Your party comrade, the ANC’s Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba told a patient, supposedly from neighbouring Zimbabwe who was admitted for treatment in a Bela-Bela hospital, that: ‘You’re supposed to be with Mnangagwa, he doesn’t give me money to operate you guys. Now I must operate you with my limited budget,” she was speaking from the playbook of the likes of Gayton McKenzie, Herman Mashaba and others.

Mckenzie, from the Patriotic Alliance, set the tone a few months ago. He said that, if he was the leader during the Covid 19 pandemic where “several foreigners were on an oxygen machine, and there is a South African who needs it, without the blink of an eye or even thinking about it twice, he would take that machine and put it on a South African.” He ended by saying that a country should have no conscience…

It would seem like those who hold these views are trying to outdo each other. This week, the media reports revealed that the campaign known as Operation Dudula has been vetting patients arriving at the Kalafong Provincial Tertiary Hospital in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria. This is  worrisome. To add salt to injury, it was reported that white people and light-skinned black people were allowed to freely enter the hospital, while dark-skinned people faced a barrage of questions to prove that they are indeed South African.

It seems that Black Consciousness has passed them by and it may be a sign of deep self loathing – not a love for South Africans. 

To end, I want to come back to the issue of rape. It is a scourge in our society and it is home grown. All the official statistics affirm, including those released on 19 August 2022 by the Minister of Police Bheki Cele, that South Africa is a violent place to live in, especially for children and women. Cele reported that there were  9 516 rape cases opened by the SAPS between April and June 2022.

Of these rapes, 3 780 took place either in the homes of the victim or the rapists. As if to underwrite the fact that women are not safe anywhere, these statistics released in Women’s Month confirm that around 1 546 women were raped in public places such as streets, parks and beaches. Buses, taxis and trains were said to be the “third most likely places” where rapes occured.

The prosecutions for rape during the period under review shows that 286 rapists were convicted through investigative work done by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit. Out of the 286 rape convictions, 46 of the rapists were sentenced to life behind bars. Only 16 offenders involved in 65 serial sexual offence cases were finalised and convicted.

These figures, however, are grossly under-estimations, as People Opposed to Women’s Abuse (Powa) have regularly asserted, which suggests the problem is much worse and a national crisis that must be ended.

Violence against women by men, rape and other forms that derive from patriarchy predates the economic and social crisis we are enduring now. The crisis makes things worse but blaming immigrants for stealing jobs will not fix our problems but will unleash a spiral of violence that will further drown us.

THE MEET - UP

A meeting place to learn about organisations, networks, movements and people resisting injustices and whom we work with.

MEET MACUA-MAMUA

The Bench Marks Foundation has worked with Macua / Wamua for years and a few of their current  leaders were community monitors. In a recent edition of the SABC programme The Watchdog, the two organisations, once again, shared the platform advocating for the rights of  artisanal mining.

The MACUA WAMUA Advice Office (MWAO) was formed in 2019 based on a mandate from the social movements, Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) and Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA). The mandate included the task of establishing a legal entity for the purpose of raising funds to support the political work of the movements. More of the history can be found on their website.

In addition, MACUA / WAMUA have been active in a number of campaigns and actions – the most recent being the protest and sleep-in outside parliament aimed at pressuring parliament to meet the demands of the mining communities, including institutionalising Free Prior and Informed Consent into law. They have produced very powerful Social Audit reports, a methodology which, they say, “allows communities to engage in the hard work of collectively building the kind of activism and agency that does not reduce communities to passive recipients of information, as the current legislative regime seems to frame community participation.

… Our research highlights the experiences of mining affected communities who face structural, political and social impediments to holding government and wealthy mining corporations to account. Legislative provisions are weak and vague in their composition and in their ability to protect the well-being of communities and the environment.”

Other highlights of their work includes the delivery of 50 000 signed petitions to the state president and the minister of mineral resources and energy, as well as their work supporting some mining community with food parcels during the Covid 19 pandemic and on artisanal mining.

Contact Details: 010 007 2137, info@macua.org.za

3rd Floor, 62 Juta Street, Braamfontein, 2000, Johannesburg 

UPCOMING EVENTS

📺 eNCA’s We the Nation highlights issues that matter and explores possible solutions while holding those in power accountable. It is hosted by Dan Moyane and includes a panel of experts and a live studio audience. Their recent edition of 18 August 2022 featured illegal mining: The scourge of illegal mining 📝 Submission as a response to the Draft Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Policy, prepared by BMF, ILRIG and LRC 📄 Auditor General’s Report: Follow-Up Performance Audit on the Rehabilitation of Derelict and Ownerless Mines 📢The CLIMATE CHARTER CAMPAIGN calls for a deep just transition that will ensure socio-ecological transformation. Learn more about this important campaign visiting cjcm.org.za.

PODCAST

🔊 Digital RIghts are Human Rights – A Bench Marks Foundation Podcast

The Bench Marks Foundation August 2022 podcast involves a discussion with Hassen Lorgat (Bench Marks Foundation) and community monitors Francina Nkosi and Thokozile Mntambo.

Francina Nkosi is a member of the Waterberg Women Advocacy Organisation (WWAO) formed over 10 years ago, with 500 members around Limpopo. They work on climate justice and gender justice, land and other human rights issues.

Thokozile Mntambo is a graduate of the Amandla.mobi Campaigner Fellowship and founder of the Ikhaya labantu, Black Lives Movement. They support the fight for low income black community and advocate for womens rights and the rights of the queer community. Thokozile is a digital rights campaigner, currently living  in Snake Park, Thulane, Soweto.

Moses Cloete serves as the editor at large of this edition. Unless otherwise indicated the writing and presentation of the Bulletin is by Hassen Lorgat. Marta Garrich helped with additional editing and layout of the newsletter. Simo Gumede is responsible for the members and partners database management. ** Cartoon used in this edition’s bulletin header image: by Zapiro, courtesy of the Daily Maverick.