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22nd April 2024

Profile of the Speakers


Day One

11.a.m. Welcome session

Programme chair Busi Thabane

Busi Thabane is the General Manager of the Bench Marks Foundation. She oversees the administration of the organisation. She is also responsible for financial management and ensures the correct  implementation and compliance to organisational and governance systems. She was previously the Finance Manager for the Ecumenical Service for Socio Economic Transformation(ESSET), a position she held for 10 years.

Zithulele Nyangana Absalom, CINDI:
Chairperson of the Bench Marks Foundation

Comrade Cindi was and remains a leader in the black consciousness movement. He was born in Alexandra Township which he described as “a squalid eyesore slum area we called home” on the 18th August 1950. The apartheid forced removals saw the young man grow up in Soweto in the 60s where he matriculated at Orlando West High School in 1970. Cindi’s philosophy is governed by the interrelated principles of the three Ps namely, People, Planet and Profits. SImply put, profits should not be made at the expense of people(workers and consumers) and the planet (the environment and ecosystem).This philosophical outlook probably informed my approach to societal concerns and challenges thus seeing me more often than not being on the side of the downtrodden and vulnerable within society. This naturally saw me getting involved in the trade union movement for the past thirty (30) years. It also explains my participation in the socially sustainable responsible investment (SRI) space for over twenty years (20).

Through his illustrious life, comrade Cindi has served as a trade union leader in the Black Electronic and Electrical Workers Union (BEEWU) wherein I became the General Secretary, Representative negotiator and the Education Officer. And later as a leader in the merged metal union Metal and Electrical Workers Union of South Africa (MEWUSA) which one of the driving forces behind the Community Growth Funds (CGF).1990:1999 -2016: He also served till reaching retirement age, as the CEO of Unity Incorporation, an investment company formed by trade unions in 1992 to champion the CGF.

Other Positions and Current
(i) 2006 -2016: Member of the JSE SRI Advisory Committee.
(ii) 2004 –to date :Director and former chairman of the African Institute for Corporate Citizenship(AICC), a continental NGO (actively based in Malawi)that promotes good governance and corporate citizenship among corporates and encourages partnerships between civil society, corporates and political authority in Africa.
(iii) 2008 – to date: Director and chairman of Industrial Ministry of South
Africa(IMSA) –an ecumenical organization and company that encourages the church and clergy to be involved and intervene in the world of work in order to minimise conflict between management and workers.
(iv) 2016 –to date: Trustee and Chairman of the Metrowind Community Trust in the Renewable Energy space.
(v) 2018 – to date: Trustee in the Cicada Community Trust that is active in the renewable energies space

Opening panel speakers

Solly Afrika Mapaila

General Secretary of the South African Communist Party

Solly Afrika Mapaila is a South African politician is the General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, he was elected unopposed on 15 July 2022 in his current position at the SACP National Congress. Solly Mapaila was appointed as the Second Deputy General Secretary of the South African Communist Party in 2012. Mapaila was a member of Umkhonto weSizwe and operated outside of South Africa prior to 1994 and is an advocate for national sovereignty and international solidarity

Dr Yao Graham

Coordinator of Third World Network-Africa

Dr Yao Graham is the Coordinator of Third World Network-Africa (www.twn
africa.org) a pan-African policy advocacy organisation based in Accra, Ghana. Yao studied law at the University of Ghana, the Free University of Brussels (VUB), Belgium and the University of Warwick, Coventry, UK where he obtained his PhD. He has worked on African and international development issues for many years – as a public intellectual and activist, government official and journalist. He has worked on African minerals and development issues for more than two decades. International trade and investment and minerals and development issues have been particular areas of focus in his work at TWN-Africa. He has written and lectured extensively on mineral policy issues. Yao is the Africa Editor of the journal Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE) and was the founding editor of the Ghanaian bi-weekly newspaper Public Agenda.

Rachmi Hertanti

Indonesian lawyer and human rights activist

Rachmi Hertanti is a lawyer and has a background in International Trade Law from the Master’s School of Law at The University of Indonesia. She has been involved in several just- trade policy programmatic work, advocacy and campaigns since 2011 with a focus on Intellectual Property Rights on seeds and medicines, Investment treaties and corporate lawsuits, and digital trade, including trade-related impacts on energy and raw materials


This group asks whether this moment where the EU, the USA and its allies rush for critical raw materials is not an opportunity for us to organise ourselves differently. These minerals are said to propel the world into a clean, Green Energy New Deal. The aforementioned countries have labelled China as their strategic enemy since it purportedly has access to most of these minerals. The EU policy documents have identified a list of strategic, critical rare and raw materials which are mostly to be found in the Global South. Mining historically has not benefited the poor communities
where we have worked and is inherently destructive. Mining communities are denied rights in particular the Right to say No, rights to livelihoods and quality water – so this group has its hands full in exploring what real benefits may flow to mining communities, if we organise differently and collaboratively. The panel includes the diverse experiences of scholar- activists such as:

Alexandria Hotz, campaigner WoMin
Tetteh Hormeku-Ajei (Third World Network-africa)
Jamie Kneen, Miningwatch Canada
Vuyisile Ncube Earthworks (Africa)
Fatima Vally (Wamua) and Meshack Mbangula (Macua)
Hassen Lorgat (Moderator)

Alexandria Hotz is a passionate feminist organiser and committed activist that
believes in radical antiracist, anticapitalist politics. She is a part-time scholar with an interest in works on decolonisation, gender, sexuality, race, land, and gentrification and is completing her Master of Philosophy degree in Human Rights Law. She holds experience as a campaigner within social movements and NGOs, from labour and trade unions to student organising. As the South African Lead Organiser at WoMin, she works with allies to support movement building and action around mega extractive projects, green opens in a new window of extractivism and visioning of ecofeminist development alternatives to the neoliberal extractive model. She has been working with communities living around manganese mines.

Tetteh Hormeku-Ajei
Head of Programmes at Third World Network-Africa Expertise in International Economic Law. Over 20 years of experience in international economic and trade policy, law, negotiations and advocacy; multilateral, regional and bilateral. In a co-authored article entitled A history of a resource plunder, they write that “Since European colonialism first arrived, Africa has provided its best raw materials to the global North. Can African countries finally break out of this pattern?”

Meshack Mbangula is the National Coordinator of Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA), a social movement advocating for the rights and interests of mine-affected communities in South Africa. With a strong presence across seven provinces, MACUA represents a network of 60 branches. Meshack leads the charge in demanding that communities have a greater say in matters affecting their human rights, which he believes are currently overlooked in the regulations governing the mining sector. Through his tireless efforts, Meshack seeks to empower communities and activists to
demand fundamental change in the mining sector that prioritises and benefits affected communities.

Fatima Vally is an Activist and the Programme Director at MACUA/WAMUA Advice Office. She is deeply committed to social justice with a specific focus on women’s rights and environmental justice. Over the past 11 years, she has worked intimately with the National Movements MACUA & WAMUA. The movements were formed in 2012, as a response to the Marikana Massacre and the real and urgent need to shape an alternative counter-power structure to contend with the toxic alliance between mining companies and the government in South Africa. The movement’s primary aim is establishing a bottom-up democratic structure that centralises communities and builds solidarity across struggles and geographies, strengthening the agency and determination of mining-affected communities, especially women, to effect the changes necessary to reorganise the sector

Jamie Kneen is Communications and Outreach Coordinator at MiningWatch Canada. Jamie Kneen leads MiningWatch’s work on mining policy development and individual mining projects in western and northern Canada, leading policy reform and providing strategic and technical support to communities affected by mineral exploration and mining projects. He also leads the organisation’s strategic research and communications, as well as research and advocacy in Africa (and previously, Latin America), as well as on mine waste management, mining and Indigenous rights, uranium mining, and environmental assessment policy and practice in Canada. With a degree in Biology (ecology) from McGill University, Jamie has been involved with environmental and resource management issues, including mining,
frequently related to indigenous land rights, for many years

Vuyisile joined Earthworks in 2022 as the Making Clean Energy Clean, Just &
Equitable Advocate. She coordinates the campaign’s corporate engagement and advocacy.Prior to joining Earthworks, she was the 2020-2021 Alan R. and Barbara D. Finberg Fellow at Human Rights Watch where she did research on
mining-affected communities’ right to a healthy environment. She is passionate about socio-economic and environmental justice issues and
began her career as a postgraduate researcher for the South African Research Chair in Mineral Law in Africa. She then worked on strategic litigation at the Legal Resources Centre on land and housing rights for marginalised communities, and on litigation to uphold communities’ right to a healthy environment at the Centre for Environmental Rights. Vuyisile is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa and a graduate of the University of Cape Town where she earned an LLB and LLM (with distinction). She currently works and studies the uses and impacts of lithium batteries on communities in the continent


Hassen Lorgat (moderator)

Hassen Lorgat has worked in trade union movement, civic associations, and anti apartheid sports movement led by the South African Council on Sports (SACOS) as well as NGOs for the past while. He is active in many solidarity movements and is currently the manager of Policy and Advocacy for the Bench Marks Foundation. His recent advocacy efforts have focussed around mine closures, tailings dams and also critical raw materials – all with a focus on the impacts on working people and the poor.

WORKING GROUP 2 The Unemployment crisis and the failed promises of BENEFICIATION

As we move from combustion engine and fossil fuel energy to alternative energy sources the focus of much of this conflict will shift to securing and controlling those minerals associated with alternative energy, such as lithium, cobalt, copper, coltan and manganese. Much of this conflict will be corporately driven as globalisation over the past fifty years has significantly weakened the nation state through structural adjustment policies that have largely privatised and commodified most of the functions of the state. The heavy reliance on foreign investment to sustain extractive economies in the global South has given rise to neo-colonial states with corporate agendas, serving global corporations instead of their own citizenry (Pilisuk & Rountree, 2008). South Africa, a long time leading extractive economy, in one form or another, had governments with corporate agendas throughout its history. As many minerals are becoming depleted and large-scale industrial mining is waning, so unemployment, inequality, poverty, conflict, and crime are increasing, largely because the country never planned for a post-mining economy and never beneficiated with finished products, its once abundant minerals treasure. South Africa has always had a high level of corporate integration with the consequence that its population suffered the consequences of the global unequal division of labour (Girvan, 1976).

The following questions may be explored:
· Will South Africa use its near monopoly of this mineral to plan and implement an alternative post-mining economy in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

  1. · Or will the state simply continue its corporatist agenda and allow the mineral to be taken out of the country by global multinational corporations?

  2. · What is the role of South Africa in BRICS?

  3. · Will it simply replicate the old unfair global division of labour and resources to the detriment of the South African population, or will it seize the opportunity to retain this strategic mineral and beneficiate it into final manufactured products?

  4. · Will South Africa insist that those countries who are currently shipping out the manganese, relocate the processing and manufacturing capacity to South Africa?

  5. · And will South Africa be able to monitor and prevent the relocation or shifting of pollution from the global North to South Africa in the process of acquiring beneficiation capacity?

Duma has spent two decades as financial journalist, analyst, researcher and adviser on issues of economic development and transformation. He is a public speaker, columnist and a commentator on economic policy who approaches issues from a heterodox perspective. He is an activist opposed to the economic orthodoxy that dominates current debates. Recently, he was one of 42 economists who sent a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni that raised concerns about the composition of economists, from the prevailing orthodox
mainstream, who were invited to colloquia that were tasked with developing new policies of SA.

He was educated at Lovedale in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, Waterford Kamhlaba in Mbabane, Swaziland and Aberdeen University in Scotland where he studied economics. He first worked as a financial journalist for most of the country’s leading publications, including Business Day and Financial Mail. His work also featured in international publications including Fortune Magazine and the Institutional Investor. He wrote extensively about economic policy and the pioneering black companies such as New Africa Investments Limited during the late 1990s.

His work was recognised and he later worked for the BEE Commission, chaired by Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s president. He was co-author of the commission’s landmark report, which was presented to former president Thabo Mbeki in 2001, after consultations with stakeholders over a period of 18 months. The report paved the way for the country’s BEE laws and policies. He was also involved in landmark national and enterprise economic transformation initiatives and worked for numerous organisations in the public and private sector. These included the Nepad Secretariat, the Department of Transport (senior policy advisor), the Business Unity South Africa, the South African Mining Development Association and many large private companies.

He was part of a panel that advised Ebrahim Patel, the minister of Economic Development, on the Walmart investment in Massmart. He served as a member of the COSATU) Panel of Progressive Economists and a board member of Naledi, the COSATU think-tank. He was also editor of the book: ‘Making Mistakes, Righting Wrongs: Insights into Black Economic Empowerment,’ which reviewed the country’s economic development and transformation policies during the first decade of democracy. He is an expert on natural resource governance who has done research on mining for the Presidency, Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) and Action Aid.

Trevor Shaku is the National Spokesperson of SAFTU. He is a former student activist, having played a crucial role in the FeesMustFall and OutsourcingMustFall.He is a former leader of the Socialist Youth Movement. He formerly associated with Benchmark Foundation, participating in the data gathering for the production of two reports: *Life Before and During Mining: The relocation and struggles of the Magobading Community, Limpopo* and *Vitol and coal trading:Challenges of human rights due diligence in the supply chain.*

Clyde is a geologist by profession. He is a registered natural scientist, and a fellow of the geological society of South Africa, as well as a member of the South African national energy association (SANEA) and a founder member of the South African energy storage association (SAESA). Clyde has more than 45 years’ experience in the resources sector, and has at one time or another been a mill superintendent for Falconbridge (in Namibia), a lecturer at
Rhodes University, primarily co-directing the MSc programme in exploration and economic geology, head of department of GIS and remote sensing at Fort Hare University, a consultant specializing in resource assessment and techno-economic evaluation of resource projects, an exploration fund and energy fund founder member, manager and investment analyst, and a renewable energy developer and consultant.

Clyde uses his broad experience to craft innovative ownership and funding models for large-scale deployment of renewable energy infrastructure, and is particularly interested in developing district level citizen-owned funding models for the bulk supply of electricity to
local municipalities.


David has a. BA Social Science, Wits, BA Hons Economic c History (UZ), Masters Durban Westville Southern African Literature and Language Studies. Former PEC member SACP North West Province. He has held various senior government positions for over ten years in the North West Province. He is a senior researcher for the Bench Marks Foundation for the last 22 years.

Ten years in exile in Zimbabwe. Coordinator of Friends of the Children of Zimbabwe,Shamwari dzeVana weZimbabwe. He has also worked closely with PLO Ambassador Ali Halimeh and facilitated a diplomatic workshop around the First Intifada in Harare. He has also in his illustrious struggle life organized safe houses for uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK)

Loselo has a Master’s degree in Development studies. He used to head the SACPs Cooperative Development unit at national level. He participated in the drafting of
cooperative legislation through NEDLAC. He is currently involved with Gold One
dealing with human resource and community engagement issues on behalf of Gold
One before he was deployed to Human Resources Management as a senior
Manager at Sub Nigel Mine.

Jennifer Mohamed-Katerere exemplifies an unswerving life-long commitment to justice as an activist and professional. Jennifer is a lawyer by training but works in interdisciplinary research. Her expertise is in human rights, environmental sustainability, corporate accountability and development. Jennifer began her career
as a lecturer in Environmental Law at the University of Zimbabwe. Today she carries out human rights focused analysis and problem solving on mining, climate change and conservation issues. Jennifer is an honorary member of the Indigenous and Community Conservation Areas Consortium (Territories of Life). She also works
closely with the Riverlea Mining Forum, a community organisation of environmental and human rights defenders in Johannesburg. The Riverlea Mining Forum is committed to achieving environmental justice and accountability from mining companies and the government. Jennifer serves on the Science Advisory Committee
of UNECA’s Climate for Development initiative. Jennifer is a member of two specialist Commissions of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – one focused on social policy and the other on environmental law. Jennifer holds an LLB degree from the University of Zimbabwe, a master’s degree from the University of London and a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Witwatersrand

Working group 3

Mine Closure, failures to rehabilitate mines, Zama Zamas and the need to invest in the regulation of artisanal mining. The impact of apartheid and colonialism are still felt across South Africa, particularly in the mining sector. And while the sector has been an economic cornerstone for over 100 years in South Africa, declining extractive industry globally and failure to prepare for a post-mining economy mean the sector’s future is bleak. In South Africa,
the sector is currently the subject of many intense public debates – from mine closure, zama zamas to the Jagersfontein tailings disaster. With over 6000 abandoned mines, the rise of the so-called zama zamas, should we prioritise investing in regulation of artisanal mining? With the renewed interest and rush for critical minerals, when will we address the existing and historical problems of the
sector as it relates to the affected communities.
Moderator: Nteboheng Phakisi-Portas
Panel: Zethu Hlatshwayo (NAAM), Makotla Sefuli (BMF facilitator), Ndimlo uPiaba
kaMadokwe (EFF member), Moses Cloete (Bench Marks Foundation Executive

Makhotla Sefuli is an activist for mining-affected communities. His activism started in high school when he participated in youth politics. He has worked for four years in the Free State provincial legislature until 2014. From there he joined the civil society movement. He has been a part of the Bench Marks Foundation monitoring school
since 2021. This year I joined the research department under the stewardship of comrade David van Wyk.

Zethu Hlatshwayo has worked for Eskom Eskom generation Camden power station for 5 years. He is the co-founder of Reasons Academy of Learning and elected as a Chairperson and Mathematics facilitator to date. He was also the chairman and co-founder of the environmental justice group, Wesselton Youth Development Program. He is currently the lead coordinator of Green Hydrogen and ammonia development and the National Spokesperson for National Association of Artisanal Miners.

Piaba Madokwe identifies as a young, black, female activist. She has a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Environmental & Geographical Sciences, and Oceanography & Atmospheric Science from the University of Cape Town. Piaba recently served as a Member of Parliament in the Portfolio Committee for Mineral
Resources and Energy where she actively participated in the law-making process and played an oversight role on government entities under the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy , demonstrating a commitment to transparency, accountability and fostering an exchange of ideas to make South Africa a better place for all. As part of her activism, she worked with high school learners and the education sector through a mentoring and post-matric opportunities exposure program, an initiative she’s still passionate about, and had been involved with Black Consciousness and Pan African organisations which shaped her politics and world outlook before joining the EFF in 2013.

Moses Cloete is the Executive Director of the Bench Marks Foundation. He served as Deputy Director prior to his appointment. Moses has been active in the social justice movement for more than 40 years. He was active in the students movement as well as the community and labour movement, in the late 1970s and 1980s. He served the Young Christian Workers (YCW) when it made a pivotal contribution to the growth of the then independent trade union formations and student and community organizations. He later served as General Secretary and International President of the International YCW – coordinating more than a 100 national affiliates. He maintains a keen interest in how working class youth organizations and impacted communities can organize to effectively hold transnational corporations to account for their impacts and practices.

Dr Nteboheng Phakisi-Portas (Moderator)
Nteboheng Phakisi-Portas holds a PhD from the University of Cape Town and a Master’s degree from Palacky University, Czech Republic. Her PhD investigated the politics of seeds, soil, and pesticide use amongst small scale farmers in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa. She has a diverse background including working as an educator in the TVET sector, research and development intern in Bonn, Germany, journalist in the tourism industry. She is currently a research consultant for the Bench Marks Foundation focusing on the impact of mining on communities and the environment.

Working Group 4

Giving voice to the burden women carry in mining communities,The participation of women in decision-making in mining communities is still low. By sharing experiences around challenges and successful strategies of strengthening women empowerment in the mining context women are developing ideas of how to further advance women leadership in mining communities, to challenge company policies to be gender responsive and to ensure a gender balance in business and community engagement forums. Fundamentally, the group asks whether in the context of the new rush for critical raw materials whether the situation for women will improve?

Sophia Pickles endeavors to be an active listener and is a published author on human and environmental rights. She investigates supply-chain and specialists in natural resource extraction, trade and its impacts.Sophia has fifteen years of investigative research experience, including in-person research in natural resource production and trading hubs

Dr Natalya Dinat,Natalya Dinat grew up in London when the family was exiled from SA in the mid 1960s. She qualified as a medical doctor whilst in exile, specialised as an Ob-Gyn and went to study in palliative care. She also works to support Communities against Mining, (Snake Park Mother’s Forum and Communities Against Mining) and with the Climate Justice Charter campaign. Natalya runs a postgraduate study group for homoeopaths (CPD accredited). She’s been a researcher for more than 10 years and has a special interest in HIV related pains. She is a published author and joined the Bench Marks Foundation as a Board member in 2023.

Vanessa Pillay is a worker educator, and activist for women’s rights. She has served the South African labour movement for over 20 years and currently serves workers in informal employment through her work with Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing(WIEGO) a global network.

Marriam Mokoena social justice activist from Rabokala community In Gauteng province . Marriam advocates for youth and women In mining communities to be part of decision making. She works tirelessly to empower women through skills and capacity building workshops and fighting to obtain opportunities for local communities in the mines.

Mmabore Mogashoa “Heritage Activist” is a traditional practitioner, author, poet, singer and facilitator of community monitoring school in Limpopo Sekhukhune area. Mmabore has won multiple awards Golden shield heritage ,Im Africa from national heritage council, European Union Sol Plaatje,Best Art for 2021 APAPA ,Honorary award, Pansalb award,Heroic women Sunday World, South African Literacy award and 2021 MTCMA

Mmathapelo is an Environmentalist, farmer and national coordinator of community monitoring school in Bench-marks Foundation.She is founder of Sekhukhune Environmental Justice Network that is advocating for environmental injustices in mining communities in Limpopo Sekhukhune district municipality

Working Group 5, Panel : Continental and International Solidarity: Addressing Inequality in Extractive collectively

The question of critical raw material and its demands should also be understood in the context of inequality. The African continent which is endowed with rich mineral resources, is a host to the most impoverished societies. Inequality is a problem in many African countries, in some cases, it leads to intractable conflicts. Mineral resources have always been the point of conflict rather than convergence, this is so even when the demands and needs for these minerals are not local. The mineral extraction story in many regions on the continent is reduced to a resource curse. This paradox of plenty Researchers hold that 69% of people in extreme poverty live in countries where minerals, oil, and gas drive the economy. However, this does not explain much of the existence of poverty in resource-rich countries. African countries with minerals have not reaped the benefit of their  riches. The poor health, unemployment, income inequalities, and lack of basic services characterized these countries. The strategic minerals which are fingered for renewables are mostly found in these Countries. Whilst some of these critical raw materials will form part of transition minerals to Just Energy Transitions, the question remains, who in the world will first benefit?

Mandla Mbongeni Hadebe is an Executive Director of Environmental Justice Network. He has extensive experience working in the region on issues of economic justice. His experience includes working on financial transparency of extractive industry and economic justice for the most impacted. He has contributed in building the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) platform. Mandla currently sitsin the secretariat of the AMI.

Johanna Sydow heads the International Environmental Policy Division of the Heinrich-Böll Foundation in Berlin. Before she was Senior Advisor on Resource Policy at the NGO German watch (Berlin). She has been invited as an expert to the German Parliament several times and has published a variety of reports, briefing and policy papers in the context of resource politics and corporate accountability. She has followed several policy process in this context with the special focus of its impact on extracting countries. Currently she follows the EU Critical Raw Materials Act.

She was also co-founder and chairwoman of the organization Runder Tisch Reparatur (Round Table Repair). She has also been part of the OECD Expert Group to develop a Practical Tool on Environmental Due Diligence in Minerals Supply Chains. She has conducted field research on the social impact of mining in Ghana, Peru and Ecuador and holds a Master Degree in Environment, Development and Policy from the University of Sussex, UK and a in Sociology from the University of Bielefeld, Germany.

Darlington Muyambwa is a development practitioner and researcher. With years of experience and a deep understanding of democracy, natural resources governance, climate change, and youth participation, he has become a leading expert in these fields. His work in Participatory Action Research (PAR), climate change, and energy transition demonstrates his unwavering commitment to empowering vulnerable communities. As the Programmes Manager for the Southern Africa Resource Watch, Darlington plays a critical role in coordinating the organisation’s regional efforts to promote good governance of natural resources. His impressive portfolio of research work is a testament to his passion and expertise in these critical areas.

Mametlwe Sebei,Lawyers for Human Rights
President of the General Industries Workers Union of South Africa, and National
Executive Committee member of the South African Federation of Trade Unions,
an environmental lawyer and Lecturer in the Department of Jurisprudence,
University of South Africa.

Richard Harkinson –  is a research associate of London Mining Network (LMN) and has been a human rights and environmental activist for some years, having done a BA in Film and Video at Univ for the Arts, joining Minewatch collective and doing active research in central India on World Bank financed opencast coal mining in the late 90s. Later by distance learning [Open Univ] he did a BSc in environmental studies. In 2012 he had co-written a critical report “Useless Sham” about Rio’s Oyu Tolgoi copper project in Mongolia when Rio were seeking WB IFC and EBRD
finance, http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=12151 and he continues to work with activists supporting herders in the semi arid Gobi region impacted by the mine in development.
In 2014 he did a critical review of noise and blasting impacts reports on the later withdrawn Fuleni coal mine in KZN next to the iMfolozi wilderness. . Bigger mining capital and forces around Petmin – Somkhele persist in harassment of communities in resistance. LMN co-ordinated visitors to London from Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Peru at Anglo American Corporation’s 2023 AGM where they presented the community
demands about inadequate relocation on Anglo’s Limpopo mine expansions. More recently he has been focusing on mine waste management and integrity of tailings dams. Working with a colleague, they continue to track corporate mining’s waste management reporting. LMN is a network of 30 UK based groups and for whom a critical work organisational method is community -linked active and critical participation in the AGMs of London Stock Exchange listed miners including transnational mining companies like Anglo American and Rio Tinto. He was a co-author of Safety First

Eric Mokoua (Moderator)
Eric Mokoua is first an environmental and land warrior. With deep knowledge and experience in human rights and business issues. He is a campaigner for social justice in communities impacted by big transnational corporations, in particular mining companies. I am responsible for a community advocacy and problem-solving program in the Bench Marks Foundation


After the report-backs the invited panel of esteemed comrades will comment on the issues and what they have heard.

Constance Mogale is an experienced South African land activist who has played leading roles in several campaigns and initiatives. She currently coordinates the Alliance for Rural Democracy (ARD), a loose network of organisations campaigning for land rights and livelihoods in South Africa. Her work with ARD has involved leading a national campaign against the ‘Bantustan Bills’ which would affect the tenure, governance and rights of nearly 20 million people living in South Africa’s communal areas. Before she worked and led the grassroots movement called the Land Access
Movement of South Africa (LAMOSA), a federation of communities claiming land through restitution, which successfully challenged the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act of 2015 and obtained a favourable judgement from the Constitutional Court. She already holds a post-graduate diploma in Land and Agrarian Studies.

Matthew Parks is the COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator,Have been here for the past 10 years.Coordinate COSATU’s engagements with Parliament and government and the ANC on bills, policies, regulations, taxes etc at Parliament. As well as at Nedlac and in bilateral engagements with business and industry bodies and companies.Matthew has been Involved in a wide range of other policy engagements with government ranging from labour to finance, budget, taxes, agriculture and land reform, transport, police, home affairs, justice, basic and higher education, health, trade and industry etc. Have been involved in the parliamentary sector for the past two decades in both parliament and the western cape provincial legislature. He has also been involved in the ANC and its various formations and structures, including having previously served as the ANC’s Deputy Regional Secretary for Cape Town and on its Regional Executive Committee. Matthew obtained a Bachelors of Social Science from the University of Cape Town and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Governance from the University of the Western Cape

HENK SMITH, Board Member Bench Marks Foundation

Henk Smith serves as a board member and lawyer and activist. Experienced Attorney with a demonstrated history of working in the legal services industry and legal advocacy in judicial, executive and legislative branches of the state.

Skilled and experienced in Community Development, Rural Development, Legal, Law Reform and Litigation Strategies, Strategy Management, Project Management, Land Reform and Land Claims, Community and Corporate Accountability.

Specializing in following areas of law: Constitutional Law, Customary Law, Land Law, Property Law, Mining Law, Community Governance Law, Equality Law. International and Regional Law: Land Reform; Extractives; Free Prior and Informed Consent; Community Governance; Community Investment; Original Title Claims.

Other professional interests: Service Organisations and NGOs accountability to communities;

Strong legal professional with LLB Stellenbosch University and LLM Warwick University.

Father Mokesh Morar, Mokesh Kantilal Morar is an activist and a minister of religion in the Catholic Church in Southern Africa. Morar has been involved in the social justice movement since his days as a student at the seminary, and now reviving Young Christian Students’ Movement in South Africa and also collaborates within the interfaith community. He serves as board chairperson of Khanya College, formed in 1986, combining activism with cultural interventions e.g writing to mobilise communities for social change

Minerals Council of South Africa

Herbert specialises in Public Participation, Community Consultation, Community Engagement and Community liaison Services, stakeholder identification and mobilisation. Obtained over 19 years’ experience in training and facilitation of workshops, Conferences and Meetings for different organisations such as the Centre of Community Development, Golder Associates Africa, Zitholele Consulting and International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) AAP. His expertise includes
development, implementation and evaluation of communication strategies for large scale projects e.g. Mining, Water Infrastructure, etc and has facilitated over four hundred and fifty workshops and meetings. Holds international experience in several parts of the continent such as Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia and Ghana and including PNG, Australia etc. He also offers public participation, stakeholder engagement and conflict resolution courses and blue sky thinking between companies, communities and other stakeholder formations. Advocate and Pioneer on resolving conflict/deadlock cases through consultation, collaboration and value of shared knowledge for collective wisdom.

Busisiwe Kamolane – Kgadima, Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) Busisiwe is an attorney, social justice activist, researcher, advocacy specialist, social entrepreneur, international speaker and writer. She holds an LLB from the University of Pretoria and an LLM from Wits University majoring in administrative law, privacy law, business and human rights and human rights advocacy & litigation. She is also a former law clerk of the Constitutional Court of South Africa for former Chief Justice Mogoeng. She currently practises law in a variety of areas including the protection of activists and promotion of free civic space, corporate accountability, land and environmental rights, women’s rights and the intersection between race, class and gender in poverty and the law.

Dr Martin Nsibirwa is the Head of Research at the South African Human Rights Commission. Martin specialises in human rights and has particular interest in women’s political participation. He has given lectures in Asia, Europe and Africa.

Martin holds a Master of Laws in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa and a Doctor of Laws, both degrees obtained from the University of Pretoria.

Martin has been the recipient of the Mokhele Kabi Award, Juta Award, the African Intellectual Property Organisation Award all related to his academic work. He hasbeen awarded numerous scholarships including the Albert Einstein Scholarship and the German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) Scholarship.

He has been an editor of various publications and written on issues of human rights. He has been on the advisory board of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa.