Dear Friends, in this first edition of 2023, we will talk of the nominated head of the board of the BMF, the children of Kabwe, the continued exclusion of mining communities in the thinking (Umrabulo) and conferences (Mine Health and Safety Council) and real decision-making in matters that affect them. We also have the regular resources that we hope you may enjoy.
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· OPINION ·
Let there be light: a question of leadership
Hopefully when you read this newsletter you are not sitting in the dark. The cry and pain of South Africans have been around loadshedding is reflective of how neoliberal governments here and the world over have been managing the economy. It is common cause, whilst we swear Eskom that they have warned the government already in the late 1990s that new generation capacity was needed. Of course, we were derailed by the corrupt lot but, fundamentally, we did not maintain the facilities proactively and sustainability for future generations.
Governments from early on ignored those warnings and only late in the day started to build new power stations which were much more expensive to do, because we did not do it on time. But it was obviously worsened by corruption and mismanagement.
Whilst we sit in the dark, we must not countenance privatisation as some opposition parties are calling for. We can and must consider decentralisation and other forms of popular participation that will undergird the national power grid. Cooperatives and small scale energy producers are part of the solution and are not the problem. Time is of the essence but it cannot be achieved by words or slogans alone, we need bright ideas and firm actions that will illuminate our spirits as a people. If mismanagement and corruption and even sabotage are real, unions on the shopfloor must become the frontline against it. That was the lesson of the old unions!
There are so many issues we have spoken about before in these pages, in particular the chronic and systemic poverty and hunger in the country where the loadshedding burden is hardest felt on the poorest and working people.
We all know that more than half of the population are living in serious poverty. Whilst many some say half are recipients of some of state welfare, this in many cases is insufficient to meet the needs of the poor and the hungry. Whilst the national regulator NERSA has granted a tariff increase that is clearly unaffordable for many, it is tantamount to daylight robbery, as the nights have already been stolen.
People are coping and many are resisting. One form of resistance is the legal strategy which unions like NUMSA and the federation are party to. Saftu demands remain persuasive:
• hospitals and clinics, small businesses, schools, and other institutions of learning be exempted from loadshedding;
• the electricity tariff hike approved by the National Energy Regulator of SA of 18,56% be rescinded.
• Eskom management fix the current fleet and stop any decommissioning of Eskom stations whilst we are still in this energy crisis. Building of new renewable capacity is possible without having to decommission coal fired power stations, especially at the time when we desperately need to stabilise the grid and end loadshedding,
Stop plans to privatise Eskom through unbundling and auctioning of the energy generation division.
We agree with these simple demands and affirm that increasing the costs of electricity will not be sufficient to pay the ESKOM debt said to be 400 bn. I wonder if by changing ministries that are supposed to enhance transparency and accountability will be assisted by moving Eskom to Gwede Mantashe’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy. Many doubt it.
BREAKING NEWS: President Ramaphosa and his Government is considering declaring SA’s rolling blackouts a National State of Disaster.
Meet Bishop Phalana
When the news leaked out that Bishop Phalana was to lead the Bench Marks Foundation, words of appreciation and welcome started to flow in. Known variously in some circles as ‘bro V’ or ’Mavee’, Bishop V.H. Phalana is the man of the moment.
On 1st July 2023, he will officially take the hot seat left by Bishop Jo Seoka, who retired at the end of last year. Bro V has been on the executive board of the Bench Marks Foundation for just over 2 years and is now well acquainted with the various sections of the organisation’s work.
Mike Pothier, from the Catholic PLO, said the Bishop “was a hands-on person and compassionate”. Tshepo Mmusi, a monitor that has also been working with the Bishop (head of Justice and Peace nationally) describes him as a good listener, a brother and comrade.
But who is Bishop Phalana? He was born on 3 April 1961 in Erasmus, Odi, North West Province, South Africa. He was raised by his mother’s uncle Clovis Phalana and his wife Victoria Phalana. They were full time catechists and teachers in Catholic Schools.
Today he is the Bishop of Klerksdorp but his seminary formation took place in Hammanskraal, St Peter’s Orientation – under Fr Sebastian Mahara. He studied philosophy and theology at the major seminary of St John Vianney in Pretoria, under Fr Myles Russell OFM and Fr William Slattery OFM, and was later ordained to the priesthood on the 14th May 1988 in Medunsa, by Archbishop Emeritus, G.F. Daniel where he was also incardinated to the Archdiocese of Pretoria.
He received his Licentiate in Spiritual Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1995. In 1999, he undertook studies in African Culture at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi. He was ordained bishop of Klerksdorp on the 25th of January 2015 by Archbishop William Slattery. During all these years, he worked with many non governmental organisations.
The Bench Marks Foundation monitoring school and our outreach programmes will benefit from his deep leadership gained in the catholic church movement. He has been through various layers of organisational work as parish priest, working with youth movements. His work as an educator / facilitator took him to all parts of the country as well as the subregion and the continent.
Bishop is a person who loves to work with others to achieve results that are beneficial to the poor communities.
Photo Credit: The Guardian
Class action now in Court. Will Kabwe children get justice?
The class action taking place in the South African courts as we write is significant beyond measure. It involves the Anglo American corporation who is in a raging battle to win the hearts and souls of the international public. But it seems in this case to have met its match.
On 23 August 2019, Leigh Day and Mbuyisa Moleele publicly announced their intention to lodge a class action lawsuit against Anglo American South Africa (AASA) on behalf of claimants in Kabwe, a town located in central Zambia. Almost a year later, on 20 October 2020, the lawyers for the Kabwe residents filed the class action certification-application in the Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa. The heart of the matter is lead poisoning and the lawyers are seeking compensation for their clients. And Anglo is the polluter and must pay.
In response, the corporation states on its website that “Anglo American has every sympathy for the people of Kabwe, the pollution that they experience today and any harm that has come from it. Contamination is not acceptable anywhere.” But there is a but, as the AASA has decided to defend itself because “we do not believe that it was responsible for the current situation.” Towards the end of the statement, AASA argues that the public must “consider the commercial motives of law firms and their funders in bringing a case like this, in singling out AASA as part of a major multinational company – with its enduring reputation as a responsible miner, and completely ignoring the clear culpability of the other responsible parties – who have acknowledged liability for the situation in Kabwe.” Apart from the apparent attempt to slander the plaintiffs’ lawyers and thereby discredit both lawyers and plaintiffs, let us note AASA’s assertion that it has a reputation as a “responsible miner” in the face of its long public record, and its attempt to point to the culpability of other parties as somehow letting it off the hook.
Anglo has a case to answer as the witnesses and experts will reveal in the class action court case. In fact, the response from the litigants and their supporters has been simple yet very effective. They have used transparency and accountability to the matter, something which Anglo’s website has not provided us. The website childrenofkabwe.com contains all the court documents, which will allow readers to make up their own minds.
The website also has replies to the allegations that these law firms are gold diggers [my term], when they list all their profiles and the cases they have undertaken. One reads that “Mbuyisa Moleele Attorneys is a 100% black owned law firm with a collective knowledge and experience of 20 years in various fields of law including public interest law, civil litigation and family law.” Of Leigh Day, they write of their years of experience in litigation work. They have had “a long and successful history running class actions against multinationals for claimants in developing countries and, in particular, for individuals on the African Continent.” They end by listing some of the cases in various places where they had successful litigation. These are: Thor Chemicals (South Africa), Anglo Gold Ashanti, South Africa with LRC, African BarrickGOld (Tanzania), Shell (Nigeria), Trafigura Cote D’Ivoire Gemfields Limited for 273 Mozambicans Konkola Copper Mines and its parent company Vedanta Resources Plc (Zambia).
The meat of the case relies on all the court papers. Please make time to read as this case has key NGOs, the UN and expert witnesses all lining up in the matter. Most of them have made a stand and are friends of the court in support of “various parties on behalf of minors in a matter against Anglo American South Africa LTD.”
These groups are:
– Amnesty International
– The Southern African Litigation Centre
– The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Human Rights
– The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights
– The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Fifth
– The United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights
– The United Nations Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls
Reading through the Human Rights Watch (HRW) papers, one quickly learns that the corporation is clutching at straws as the NGO exposes their key arguments. HRW insist that the corporation has not quoted their studies properly and, whilst they mainly work with or to keep the state accountable, this does not mean they are giving a free pass to corporations. Let me quote a bit to wet your appetite to go to the documents for yourself:
The HRW papers respond to Anglo’s key arguments which centre around how the HRW report was used by the corporation. The report was published on August 23, 2019 entitled “We Have to Be Worried – The Impact of Lead Contamination on Children’s Rights in Kabwe, Zambia”
HRW were concerned that their investigations and submission to the Commission to the Rights of the Child (CRC) is “misplaced” as it “in no way exculpates the respondent for liability for the violations identified in the report.”
Furthermore they argued thus:
“Human Rights Watch is the only party that intends to provide an in-depth analysis of corporate responsibility under international law and the principle of due diligence. In addition to Human Rights Watch’s unique repository of knowledge about Kabwe, it has been brought directly into this matter by the respondent’s reliance on the Human Rights Watch report and the CRC submissions. Human Rights Watch has an interest in demonstrating that the respondent’s reliance on its research is misplaced and does not support its contention that it has no liability for the ongoing human rights violations.”
On the other point, their papers are clear:
“Human Rights Watch’s research often focuses on state conduct. This is because under international human rights law states have the primary duty to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights. This is explained in the Human Rights Watch report, which documents Zambia’s domestic and international obligations. 39 However, the Human Rights Watch report notes specifically that governments are not the only duty bearers under international law: “While governments have the primary responsibility to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights under international law, private entities, including businesses, also have internationally recognised responsibilities regarding human rights, including workers’ rights and children’s rights. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are widely accepted as a legitimate articulation of businesses’ human rights responsibilities. They specify that businesses should exercise human rights due diligence to identify human rights risks associated with their operations, take effective steps to prevent or mitigate those risks, and ensure that the victims of any abuses have access to remedies.”
The Human Rights Watch report provides further that: “The CRC has maintained that ‘duties and responsibilities to respect the rights of children extend in practice beyond the State and … apply to private actors and business enterprises,’ and that ‘all businesses must meet their responsibilities regarding children’s rights and States must ensure they do so.’”
The mine operated between 1906 and 1994 and is alleged to have been within AASA group control from 1925 until 1974.
AASA is a South African subsidiary of London-headquartered multinational mining company Anglo American PLC and hold all the South African assets of the Group.
The class action seeks compensation for lead poisoning of these children and for women under 50 who have been poisoned who have, or may become pregnant, in the future. The cost of remediation of homes and of future blood lead screening is also claimed. It is hoped that the class action will lead to: (a) the establishment of a blood lead level (“BLL”) screening system for children and pregnant women in Kabwe; and (b) clean up and remediation of the area to ensure the health of future generations of children and pregnant women is not jeopardised.
Watch this space!
Parliament, here we come
The Bench Marks Foundation’s communications and campaigns department has been hard at work on upping our level of communications inside the organisation and outside. The necessity of re-engaging this space became evident at the time of our Annual Conference 2022, where the stalled mine closure policy was on the agenda. Since and even before that, the Bench Marks Foundation have been exploring how we engage more meaningfully and in a sustained manner with parliament. We have a body of work, studies and investigations that have not been acted upon and this we will strive to set right.
We also sit on an important section, 11 subcommittee at the South African Human Rights Commission, and have opened up access to communities to reach those empowered to address their needs.
Last week, we met again with the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO), led by advocate Mike Pothier. They have set it up as a vehicle to be in contact with elected power and them with the church. “It provides an avenue for the Church – as part of civil society – to contribute to debates on issues of public policy, to exert an influence for the common good in areas of political, economic and social concern, and to help shape legislative and policy developments”.
“They have been around the block a few times and we can learn and must seriously consider partnering with them,” said Moses Cloete, Executive director of the Bench Marks Foundation.
In the next edition, we will talk a bit more about this and report back on our work on the section 11 committee at the South African Human Rights Commission.
THE AMI 2023: It is that time of the year again
The Alternative Mining Indaba will take place in Cape Town from 4 to 9 February with a number of pre-conference activities. Whilst the 2022 theme focused on a “just energy transition for sustainable mining communities in a climate crisis era’, this year’s focus adds to it. The 2023 theme is A Just Energy Transition: Unlocking Community Potential and Participation. The AMI will take place before, during (7-9 February) and a few days there after the Mining Indaba. The venue will be the UCT Graduate School of Business Conference Centre at the Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa.
The Bench Marks Foundation will be there in full force and we know that it will not be easy. There are many things to think about as we act collectively. What does it mean to unlock community potential that has been trampled upon by unresponsive governments, regulators, and corporations that evade laws and regulations and seek profits over all else? How do we unlock potential to participate? Participate towards what end? Can there be real participation amongst unequals or where the asymmetries of power exist? How do we boost the power of the oppressed and marginalised? Can we participate and unlock potential with the master’s tools and thinking?
So much to think about and so little time to put into practice.
As we organise fervently to be there, our mind goes back today to one of our founding comrades Reverend Malcolm Damon, who in addressing the 5th AMI spoke clearly of the objectives of this movement and platform organised in response to the African Mining Indaba. Corporations present their gathering as “the largest mining investment conference in the world” and we believe they are out to sell Africa to investors. The pace seems to “be breath-taking as if they are on steroids”, one community activist commented. Another said “it was the second scramble for Africa.” The role of the alternative is to keep them in check and raise concerns of the corporations externalisation of the costs of mining onto poor mining communities and working people, as well as the environment and wider ecology. It is undeniable that the disenfranchised mining communities bear the brunt of this assault on our natural resources with little recourse in law to fight back.
“Africa is gaining momentum and seems unstoppable in its quest to reverse the ‘resource curse’. But the captains of the mining industry need to be held accountable,” said then (2014) Executive Director of Economic Justice Network Reverend Damon. “The Alternative Mining Indaba is a result of the commitment across civil society groups to bring accountability and transparency to the mining sector.”
This remains the objective today and the task before us is for civil society to grasp and live their mandate. We are our own liberators and have a whole future to win…
In times like these, we remember all of our fallen comrades.
My Take on the AMI 2023 – Towards an alterNATIVE Mining Indaba:
A wretched future for mining communities as their livelihoods continue to be threatened
The 14th Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) takes place from the 7th February. The gathering will be a hybrid conference, hosting more than 250 delegates in Cape Town. The virtual attendance will be high although not definite numbers have been recorded yet.
The AMI2023 is guided by the theme “A just energy transition: Unlocking Community Potential and Participation.” Although the forum has grown significantly in attendance and made strides, I believe there is more that must be done to effectively challenge corporate power. The fundamental demands of mining affected communities from mining corporations and governments remain unaddressed.
This year’s AMI is a totally different environment than when it began some 14 years ago. Whilst time has passed with many tools and instruments in place ostensibly to hold mining accountable, the corporations and the corporate mindset remain completely unchanged and dominant – even in some civil society organisations. Some in our movement seem to not know of the importance of having ideas and organisation independent of the state and corporations. The corporations are creatures of profit and they care less for human life and the environment.
Take the case of Anglo American:
We cannot underplay Anglo American’s obstinate determination to deny responsibility for lead poisoning in Kabwe, Zambia, which happened in the 1970s. At least over 100 000 people have been poisoned by exposure to lead mining in Kabwe. In line with its horrendous international record, Anglo in Limpopo, South Africa, is opening the community of Skimming for more hardship and uncertainty. Here a thousand households remain vulnerable to relocations / displacements as the corporation searches to amass more plants and profits.
Impala Platinum Mine, which has mined in the village of Luka in the North West Province of South Africa from 1968, are busy packing. More than three shafts have been closed with little consultation to the community that was forced to host them. What they are leaving behind their legacy is not development but degradation – after 55 years of mining.
The media is littered with stories of corruption blaming only the government, but there is little exposure of the corruption of and by corporations. Given the mainstream media bias in favour of corporations, CSOs must be careful how we engage or negotiate with corporations. All negotiations are about power and it is for this reason that CSOs must be careful when accepting corporations for what they call “civil society engagement”. Nothing is conceded without a demand and, ultimately, all these talks and consultations in boardrooms result in no real change in the mining affected communities.
These concerns are not new and have been raised before, particularly in 2016. The concerns of mining communities remain. The AMI was formed as a platform, an ALTERNATIVE to the official bosses INDABA and it must remain so. It follows:
– That it must be a platform for debate and open discussion amongst CSOs;
– In these debates, the bosses cannot be present as they have their indaba;
– The AMI must remain focussed on finding solutions to the impacts of mining and extractivism and seeking real lasting and sustainable solutions. Corporations can talk about climate change without critically exploring their role as climate causes and polluters.
As founding members of the PLATFORM, I have implored the BMF to ensure the integrity of the AMI is secured. We can do this with more open and robust discussions amongst ourselves. We must increase the number and quality of faith representations and mining affected communities at the annual AMI. How these work with the country platforms must be revisited.
As we go forward, we can use this AMI as a turning point to the ever shrinking civil society spaces across the continent. We must amplify the voices of the communities and this is one way of safeguarding the AMI as an ALTERNATIVE activist and community and faith leaders platform.
By Eric Mokuoa
UMRABULO Food for thought: ANC Mining Policy 2023
In this edition we present for reading and critique the 2023 ANC policies. They are made by the ruling party and thus persuasive to those in government. They repeat some of the new buttons on liquid fuels and so on. One wonders if these initiatives are not mere calamitous distraction from the path of the just energy transition to renewables that we truly need. One thing for sure, we have to read to understand and engage in debate from our points of view. In the next edition, we will provide critical responses to these policy proposals.
5.2 MINING POLICY
Mining remains a key contributor to the South African economy, providing employment opportunities, technological innovation, tax revenues, and export earnings. This is not a sunset industry as some typically believe. Therefore, we must create an enabling environment to encourage and stimulate new mining investment in the country. It is through increased exploration activity that the South African mining sector will continue to grow in future years. It is also through mining exploration that South Africa and the wider region will be able to ascertain the strength of its participation in the production of energy minerals required to power the world’s ongoing energy transition, such as vanadium, copper, cobalt, nickel and platinum. The ANC must continue to encourage increased minerals and gas exploration, for the current and future growth of our economy, and job creation, just as many other countries are doing. In doing this we must ensure that correct legal and consultation procedures are followed in order to avoid litigation (which undermines development) and investor uncertainty. Our policies with regard to climate change must be designed to ensure that we can best pursue our sovereign economic interest while participating actively in the global economy. Efforts to promote mineral beneficiation must also be strengthened. In recent years, due in the main to the country’s electricity shortage, minerals beneficiation has been on the decline as a number of energy intensive smelters and mineral processing operations have closed down. Through achieving greater energy security in the medium run and the restoration of competitive electricity prices in the longer run, supportive policies – such as appropriately designed taxes to assist the ferrochrome industry – should be put in place to promote increased minerals beneficiation investment.
5.3 LIQUID FUELS
The South African economy and many other economies are faced with fuel prices that have reached unsustainable levels. Over time, our country’s fuel prices have been increasing. It is however important to appreciate that this is a global issue, and no country is being spared. Amongst other things geopolitical tensions and the management of the overall global production levels of crude oil contribute to higher prices. High fuel prices are beginning to have a knock-on effect and are bound to lead to inflationary pressures. The cost of public and private transport has increased and is likely to increase further. The cost of producing food has been skyrocketing especially due to the high diesel prices. Disposable incomes of all citizens have been affected, and this is bound to lead to some level of discontent especially if this affects affordability of staple foods.
Increased Exploration for Oil and Gas
— South Africa needs to find its own sources of crude oil through opening its offshore acreage to domestic and international oil companies for exploration for oil and gas. The growing opposition to oil and gas exploration needs to be confronted politically as it is clear that South Africa’s endowments of oil and gas could be a source of wealth as well as increase our energy security options, also noting the role of gas in the energy transition. • On Biofuels — The biofuels programme will need to be kick-started through supporting a mechanism to reduce by at least 10% the use of crude oil for fuel requirements. This will create jobs in the sugar and sorghum industries, and improve the balance of payments. • Refining Capacity — There has recently been closure of refineries by some oil companies as they have chosen to import refined fuel products rather than invest in cleaner fuel refining technologies. A feasibility study should be undertaken to assess the business case for public investment in the oil refining sector, a detailed cost-benefit analysis should be undertaken to assess whether such an investment would be viable or would impose undue costs on South African tax payers and consumers. The analysis should include a study of the impact of reduced refining capacity on the security of supply and costs of associated petrochemical products, such as bitumen and lubricants. This should also include an investigation of options to look at more low carbon, including renewable, refining methods, with a critical role for South Africa research and development and science and technology institutions, as well as partner with global technology leaders in such low carbon or renewable fuel products.
THE MINERALS COUNCIL speaks of community rights but fails to act on it
Recently, to be exact on the 13 October 2022, the president of the Minerals Council of South Africa Ms Nolitha Fakude spoke at the 2022 MINE HEALTH AND SAFETY TRIPARTITE SUMMIT. All the big wigs in the industry were there: Minister Gwede Mantashe; Health Minister Joe Phaahla; Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi; leaders from organised labour; DMRE Director General, Mr Jacob Mbele; Chief Inspector of Mines, Mr David Msiza and other senior government officials.
The speech touched on various aspects, such as accidents at the workplace, Gender Based Violence and they even mentioned tailings.WeI will come back to that, but we cannot help noting that it was a TRIPARTITE summit and once again mining communities were excluded from participating and making decisions. This marginalisation must come to an end.
In the speech the Minister mentioned that:
“As of 10 October 2022, there were 1,493 serious injuries reported compared to 1,696 during the same period in 2021. While this is an overall improvement of just over 12%, there is still much to do to equally prevent injuries, given our milestone commitment of reducing injuries annually by 20%“
Thus it is underlined that mining kills and we have to accept it as normal. Do we have to?
On tailings, Ms Fakude said: “When reflecting on the integrated and vast nature of health and safety… It would be remiss of me not to make special mention of the tragic events that unfolded at Jagersfontein. While we are pleased that we have established a fund to bring humanitarian relief to residents which has begun delivering, the disaster was another reminder to us of our responsibilities to maintain the highest standards in tailings management. Jagersfontein also reminds us more broadly that we cannot (focus?) our health and safety efforts only in the workplace; we want a healthy and safe environment in the communities too.”
Is this true? How will it be done? How can it be done without talking to us?
To end, she spoke of a campaign that would supposedly involve mining communities and addressing the Minister of Minerals Resources, thus:
“I am glad that Minister Mantashe is here because he coined this phrase: Mining is about people, not rocks. This expression reminds us that our industry is not only about the metals and minerals that we dig from the ground – but it is also about people: and how we better their lives, everyday. I believe that we, as partners, can give meaning to this expression by building a healthy and safe workforce; and by truly achieving the goal of zero harm in our lifetime.”
There can be no justice without equality and full recognition of mining communities in decision-making in matters that affect them directly. We demand representation at the Mine Health and Safety Council.
AGENDA AND RESOURCES
☑️ SLAPP Suits in Africa, with Bench Marks Foundation and Southern Africa Resource Watch at the AMI 2023
Date: 9 November 2023
Time: 2-5pm SAST / GMT+2
Venue: Protea Hotel, BreakWater
To participate online, please register here.
☑️ HIV JAB
South Africa’s medicines regulator will announce a decision on the approval of a two-monthly HIV prevention jab within days. If the shot is approved, the health department could start rolling it out on a large scale within nine provinces… Read more.
Activists protest demanding climate action and Loss and Damage reparations on the seventh day of the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference, Egypt in November 2022. Credit: Dominika Zarzycka
⏯ For African Campaigners & Activists: FREE Top Tools & Tactics to Build People Power in the Digital Age
This online training session is for Africa-based activists and campaigners. It includes African examples and considerations and is led by a member of SMT’s Africa team, with support from colleagues from other regions.
Join this session to learn the latest ways you can deploy online tools & tactics in combination with offline organising to engage supporters, broaden your base, raise money, pressure targets, and win campaigns. Whether you’re a complete digital novice, or advanced, make sure you aren’t missing out on key digital tools and tactics, learn what other organisers are doing to win and how to do it with limited time and money.
This will be a fast-paced overview with lots of sharing of additional resources should you want to go deeper on specific topics.
🌱 Resource exploitation such as logging and mining account for a third of attacks on human rights defenders. The activists interviewed in this report described being intimidated, harassed, forced into hiding, unlawfully arrested and being on the receiving end of death threats for challenging mining and mining companies within their communities. The toxic collusion between the state, mining companies and traditional leadership also fuels the repression of environmental activists.
Read the full report on South African Activist Victimisation presented by Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) to document the victimisation experiences of activists in South Africa.
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 in the header image: thanks to Daily Maverick for permitting us to republish the cartoon that appeared on 4 July 2022.