The AIDS Foundation of South Africa stands in solidarity with the Amadiba Crisis Committee and the #Right2SayNO campaign, who will be taking the South African Department of Mineral Resources to court on 23-25 April 2018, to defend their ancestral homeland against the mining interests of transnational corporations (TNCs) obtained without their consent.
AFSA urges the South African Government to protect the rights and future of the residents and custodians of the land at Xolobeni over and above the narrow economic interests of mining companies. No mining options should be assured without the consent of the community whose livelihoods and environment will be most affected by the proposed titanium mine.
Granting this mining right will deprive the communities of Xolobeni of their ancestral homeland, their access to the graves of ancestors and access to the sea – all of which are crucial to AmaPondo culture. The proposed mine will impact food security, air and water quality in the area, which is currently farmed at a subsistence level and supplemented with food gathered from the sea. Residents say that mining will impact their catch and their harvest because of pollution and mining waste, as well as have an impact on potable water supplies, rendering the area insecure where food is concerned.
The mine was proposed without obtaining free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) from the people of Xolobeni, which is a Right that is recognised in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). If the rights of the people of Xolobeni can so easily be ignored in favour of a TNC, what is to stop other Rights from being violated or pushed aside? A violation of any Right sets a precedent that Human Rights are not sacrosanct – that they can be pushed aside in the name of industry. This is unacceptable.
Consent is not just about sex! Free, prior, informed consent is a basic principle of participation in a democratic society. We all have the human right to participate in decisions that affect us. If we do not exercise and defend that right, the Constitution and the laws created to uphold it mean nothing. Many of our rights are under attack by individuals, companies and institutions that put their self-interest and profit above the well-being of people who have less power or less money. When our rights to land, water, sanitation, shelter, good health care and a livelihood are denied, our survival is directly threatened just as it is by physical and sexual violence.
An attack on any of our rights opens the door to an attack on all our rights. We must not let governments or transnational corporations decide what happens to our land, our homes or our bodies. We support the campaign by the Amadiba Crisis Committee and the people of Xolobeni to stop the South African government from issuing a mining licence without the community’s consent.
Members of the community of Xolobeni have written postcards indicating why they do not want the mining permit to be issued. Find the postcards featuring images of the members of the Xolobeni community here.
How you can be a part of the movement:
- Issue a media statement: In order to flood the media and get their attention, and to raise awareness of the case in society, it would be really helpful if your organisation/movement/campaign can issue a statement to the media in the coming week stating your support for the case. There are many organisations working on different issues that have shown their support so far, and so a range of statements showing support from your particular perspectives would make a great impact. If you require assistance with content for your statement, please see the initial solidarity statement to which over 60 organisations signed on and which was issued to the media here (and which you can still sign on to), as well as the Heads of Argument containing all the details of the case attached. Please also don’t hesitate to contact Andrew at [email protected] or Dominic at [email protected] if you require further assistance in drafting your statement, access to media lists etc.
- Social Media: Our social media is already buzzing with information and posts, so please follow, share, add and circulate. For Facebook check out the Amadiba Crisis Committee page and for Twitter follow @stopcorppower, retweet, and share your own information relevant to the campaign under the hashtag #Right2SayNO. We have also attached a flyer and a fact sheet about the case in JPEG format, so that you can post it easily on your social media platforms.
- Thunderclap: Sign on here to our Thunderclap message through your Facebook and Twitter accounts (please add the hashtag #Right2SayNO when you sign up to it). On the morning of the court case, 23 April 2018, the message will then release on everyone’s accounts who have signed up to the message, creating a ‘Thunderclap’ on social media and helping us get even more attention. (It would be appreciated if you could also share the Thunderclap on your Facebook and Twitter accounts asking others to sign up as well).
- Have a look at and share ‘Postcards from Xolobeni’: See the beautiful photographs by Thom Pierce of Amadiba community members explaining in their own voices what they cherish and why they do not want the proposed mining.
- Sign the Petition: If you haven’t already, please sign the petition in support of the case here.
- Take a cellphone video: If you live in or work with a mining-affected community, use your cell phone to take a video or two (of 30-60 seconds) of community members explaining why they want the Right to Say No. Send the video via WhatsApp to +27 72 278 4315 or email to [email protected] and we’ll post it on our social media. Please also circulate these videos on your own social media platforms!
- Join the Action: On 23-25 April, during the court case, members of mining affected communities will be gathering in Tshwane for 3 days of activism – marching, workshops, exhibitions, video screenings and more. Details will soon follow, but if you would like more information on how to get involved, or would like to make a particular contribution to these three days, please contact [email protected].
- Circulate this information far and wide!
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