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Amadiba Crisis Committee 2016-07-18:

MRC "disinvests", but now tell us: WHO IS TRULY BEHIND THE 'XOLOBENI PROJECT'?

The Australian company Mineral Resource Commodities has announced it is "disinvesting" from the so called Xolobeni project on the Wild Coast. MRC speaks about the violence blocking them. We, the land right holders, have peacefully denied MRC and its "TEM" company access to our land for mining. Who has responded with violence? Who has been shooting at homesteads? Who has repeatedly used bush knifes and knobkerries against locals and even against journalists? Amadiba chief Lunga Baleni, made director of TEM in September, threatened our Headwoman and elders to "enter by force" to drill on our land 22 February. TEM had to give up that plan again. This was one month before the assassination of ACC chair Bazooka Radebe. He led the successful mobilisation that day.

Friends of the Amadiba community in Perth, London and Cape Town marched and picketed in solidarity at the time of MRC's Annual General Meeting in May. The community got support from solidarity petitions from 108 countries after the murder of our Bazooka. For this we are for ever deeply grateful.

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Clarke: MRC pulls Pondoland investment. Beginning of end or end of beginning?

By John GI Clarke
19 Jul 2016

MRC Ltd has announced that it is disinvesting its 56% share in Transworld Energy and Minerals Pty Ltd, the applicants for the Xolobeni Mineral Sands project on the Pondoland Wild Coast, and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with its Black Economic Empowerment partner "Keysha Investments 178".

It is the first time any mention has ever been made of Keysha Investments 178 in any official announcement by MRC, but the existence of the company was first discovered way back in 2007, in the original shareholding agreement that was included in the very first mining rights application, lodged in March 2007. It was only thanks to an application made under PAIA that the Amadiba coastal residents came to know about Keysha Investments 178. Hitherto they had been told that the BEE partner with MRC was the Xolobeni Empowerment Company, which had been registered in 2003 with Zamile Qunya, attorney Maxwell Boqwana and Patrick Caruso (younger brother of Mark Caruso) as first and founding directors.

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Op-Ed: Rural South Africa is on a Precipice

by MBONGISENI BUTHELEZI & STHA YEN
06 Jul 2016

A raft of laws passed since the advent of democracy has been progressively giving power over land and people to traditional leaders. An initial delay of almost 10 years after the first democratic elections of 1994 in defining the roles and powers of chiefs created a vacuum into which some ambitious chiefs shoved their agenda of being local despotic sovereigns like many were in Bantustans.

The laws that have been passed starting with the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act of 2003 have failed simultaneously to create sufficient mechanisms for rural citizens to hold their chiefs to account. With the discovery of minerals on land that was considered of little value under apartheid and to which black South Africans were consigned by laws such as the Group Areas Act, things have gone from bad to worse for ordinary citizens.

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Building guesthouses - not mines - on South Africa's Wild Coast

by Tessa Mildenhall
June 23, 2016

On the eastern shoreline of South Africa known as the Wild Coast, tensions are at a boiling point. Ever since titanium and other minerals were discovered in 1998 under the region's famous red dunes, local residents have been battling with mining companies for rights to the land. On March 22, anti-mining activist Sikhosiphi "Bazooka" Rhadebe was murdered at his home. Other activists have been forced into hiding to prevent a similar fate.

Amid all this strife, a group of women is undertaking a last-ditch effort to hold onto their lands: expanding a tourism eco-lodge and related activities whose long-term income potential could leave mining in the dust...........

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Questions from the Amadiba Crisis Committee, Wild Coast, South Africa, to the 25 May AGM of Mineral Resource Commodities Ltd in Perth, Australia

The 22 March assassination of the Amadiba Crisis Committee chair Bazooka Radebe followed after four months of intensified intimidations of the Amadiba coastal community. Our Headwoman Cynthia Baleni and five other homesteads were attacked during Christmas. Shots were fired. Two ACC members were injured in a bush knife attack 30 December. 31 December, four men were arrested. One is Mr Xolile Dimane, at employee of MRC's company MSR that runs the Tormin mine in Western Cape. The same day, MSR director Zamile Qunya and TEM director Lunga Baleni tried to get the men out from the Mzamba police station. This failed. During a 6 day bail hearing, XolCo's lawyer Mr Ximbi defended the accused, assisted by MSR director Zamile Qunya. The trial is set for the 6th of June. Do you still hold that MRC has no connections to the attacks on our community? Why is your local partner Xolco's lawyer Mr Ximbi defending the suspects? What is Zamile Qunya's expense account per month? What has the 14mn rand lent 2012 to his company and your partner Blue Bantry been used for?

Documents from the Western Cape Department of Environment confirm that your Tormin mine has expanded outside the permitted area. 25 May, fishermen and dismissed workers will protest outside Tormin. The fishermen claim that the mine is polluting the Olifant river mouth, destroying the fishing. After the strike in September, Tormin workers must accept an average of 228 work hours per month. They now work 12 hour night and day shifts in 8 day periods. Is this necessary for running a profitable business at Tormin? How can MRC continue MSR's operations in Tormin despite violations of permits and labour laws?

MRC has recently chosen to challenge the jurisdiction over the Amadiba coastal area of the Umgungundlovu traditional authority, decided by chief Lunga's grandfather over 60 years ago. In your director Zamile Qunya's latest affidavit, the Umgungundlovu area doesn't exist. Can you guarantee your shareholders that your sudden efforts to deny the coastal Amadiba community legal representation and voice will hold in a South African court?

In September, MRC made Amadiba chief Lunga Baleni a mining applicant and "director" of your company TEM. Your plot will leave him with nothing and lead to his downfall. An AmaMpondo chief is not a land owner. He cannot sign anything opposed by his community. Why is MRC promoting a role for the chief as this role was under apartheid?

Finally, a message to MRC's CEO Mark 'Wrath-of-the-Lord' Caruso:

In an email made public by South African Sunday Times (29/11), Mr Caruso warned municipality officials in Western Cape with the vengeance of the Lord if they would stand in his way. For this purpose he "directed" them to Ezekiel 25.17. This Bible quote was made famous by two hitmen in the movie Pulp Fiction.

By mere coincidence, two hitmen assassinated our beloved Bazooka Radebe on the 22nd of March. The ACC for our part wishes to direct Mr Caruso to the Book of James, 5.1-6 (Good News Translation, GNT):

"Warning to the Rich

1 And now, you rich people, listen to me! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches have rotted away, and your clothes have been eaten by moths. 3 Your gold and silver are covered with rust, and this rust will be a witness against you and will eat up your flesh like fire. You have piled up riches in these last days. 4 You have not paid any wages to those who work in your fields. Listen to their complaints! The cries of those who gather in your crops have reached the ears of God, the Lord Almighty. 5 Your life here on earth has been full of luxury and pleasure. You have made yourselves fat for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent people. Will God not resist you?"

Listen, MRC share holders: There will never be any mining on Wild Coast.

For the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC)

Nonhle Mbuthuma +27 763592982; Mzamo Dlamini +27 721940949

The Umgungundlovu Traditional Authority and the ACC are represented by Richard Spoor Inc. in Johannesburg and LRC in Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg.
For legal issues in the coastal Amadiba community struggle against mining:
Thabiso Mbhense +27 711099340 , Henk Smith +27 832661770 and Richard Spoor +27 836271722




To Honorable Deputy Minister of Police: Makhotso Magdeline MM Sotyu, Ms

CC Head of Office of the Deputy Minister of Police: Nomsa N Hani, Ms

CC; Personal Assistant: Thenjiwe T Kambule, Ms

We write to draw your attention to the failure of the policing system in the rural Eastern Cape to protect the community of Umgungundlovu from violence and intimidation. The community has been experiencing a wave of violence linked to efforts by a foreign multinational to mine the dunes of Xolobeni for rare metals, an operation that promises immense profits for some. Many in the community are opposed to the prospect of sand mining which they believe will destroy their livelihoods and destroy their way of life, whilst providing benefits to only a few.

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Amadiba Crisis Committee: 2016-04-04:

Three thousand wanted to pay respect to our Bazooka Radebe at his funeral in Mdatya, 1500 sitting for 8 hours, the rest standing, coming and going. 30 civil society organisations were present solidarity from all over the country. They were all ready to speak against the injustice and violence caused by the mining application. Speeches of the Inyanga land rights movement and other social movements, Bishop Jo Seoka and Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa were warmly applauded. In the presence of the AmaMpondo Queen and the Crown Princess Wesizwe, the Mbizana municipality delegation stood up and left when the royal spokesperson from Quakeni, explained why both MRC's mining application and the coastal N2 Toll Road must be stopped and the will of the coastal Amadiba community respected and followed.

We also want to add information the report in The Citizen about the attack on journalists and locals that took place 17.30.

Let us first inform that the SAPS broke a promise made to us and our legal team of tight security and cooperation with ACC marshals. There was not one uniformed police at the venue when the program started 9.30 with over 2000 present. The funeral was boycotted! By 11 a.m., our lawyers called to a police captain in Mbizana and got an apology. At about 14.00 two vans appeared from Mzamba police station with some eight officers.

At about 5.30 p.m., two journalists from The Citizen and two ACC members were viciously attacked on the road just outside Zamile Qunya's family homestead. The journalists were guided by the locals to the red dunes. They wanted to take pictures of the Kwanyana block. People came out from the house armed with spears, pangas and knobkerries. The attack started with a robbery of camera, two cell phones and a note book. When the group found Nonhle Mbuthuma's name in the note book the beating started.

Three Mpisi police officers came and asked the group to stop but they did nothing. The beating of the two on the ground did not stop until officers from Mzamba and leaders from ACC arrived. The Mpisi police then put two journalists and the local from ACC in the same double cab police bakkie as three attackers. The attackers were there to "help the police", follow to the station and press charges against the journalists! The seriously injured crisis committee member was placed in the open at the back, bleeding heavily from stab wounds from a spear. A police sat into the journalists' car aiming to confiscate it too!

After violent discussions, the Mpisi police had to stop the nonsense, let the wounded be rushed to hospital and release the car. The disappointed attackers shouted "There is Nonhle Mbuthuma, kill her! Kill her!"

The journalist's camera, the cell phones and the note book remain illegally confiscated by the police.

Two weeks ago Mbuthuma guided journalists from eNCA on the same public road. Three hours later, Mpisi station commander Ntlangula called her, ordering her to the Mpisi station next day, saying that "there were complaints". When called by our lawyers, Mr Ntlangula could not explain what crime Mbuthuma was to be charged for. He said he only had invited her. She declined the invitation. Obviously, Mr Ntlangula had learned nothing from this

Zamile Qunya: Warlord and mining director

Mr Zamile Qunya told eNCA on Saturday that neither he and nor anyone related to him have anything to do with one year of the increasing violence and threats in the community. His nephew Mr Ntethelelo Madikizela led the attack on Saturday, in which Mr Madikizela's wife, Qunya's mother and Qunya's older sister participated. Other individuals are also identified and charges were laid during the night at the Margate police station.

Zamile Qunya is a director of the Australian MRC's mine at Tormin north of Cape Town. He led the shootings in Xolobeni 3 May last year when a bullet from his pistol grazed the head of a man. Mr Madikezela was also a part of that attack last year.

The case is now by the Mzamba police. Unfortunately, the investigating officer from Mzamba is also a witness to the murder threats. Our lawyers are concerned that there will be no investigation and no measures taken whatsoever. There are so far no arrests of the attackers. This is the routine in our community's struggle. Also the Mzamba police seems to beliveve that they can keep the journalists property and material confiscated.

The journalist and our member remain admitted at the hospitals in Margate and Port Shepstone.

Amadiba Crisis Committee:

Mzamo Dlamini 072 194 0949; Nonhle Mbuthuma 076 3592982

The Umgungundlovu Traditional Authority and the ACC are represented by Richard Spoor Inc. in Johannesburg and LRC in Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg.
For legal issues in the coastal Amadiba community struggle against mining: Henk Smith 0832661770, Thabiso Mbhense 0711099340 and Richard Spoor 0836271722.




Urgent Financial Support to the Amadiba Anti-Mining Struggle

#RIPBazooka #StopWildCoastMining

The Amadiba community on the Wild Coast of South Africa urgently need your support. They have been bravely fighting against a proposed mining operation on their ancestral lands for over a decade now, managing to hold the Australian mining company, Mineral Commodities Ltd (MRC), and the power of the state at bay through their courageous and determined stance to never allow mining on their land. The Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) is the body elected by the community in 2007 to represent them in their struggle against the proposed mining operation. But last week the struggle took a new, violent turn when the chairperson of the ACC, Sikhosiphi 'Bazooka' Rhadebe, was brutally assassinated at his home late in the evening of Tuesday 22 March. On that same day he had managed to reveal to other members of the ACC that their was a hit list with the names of anti-mining activists, and his was the first name. It is clear that the remaining activists are now also in serious danger.

The response in solidarity and financial contributions has been amazing, but the ACC still urgently needs as much financial support as it can get, in order to:

  • Assist Bazooka's family with the costs of his funeral
  • Transport community members and activists to the funeral so that the passing of Bazooka may be respected and so that the funeral can be a show of community unity and resolve in continuing the fight against the proposed mining
  • Assist with the costs of hiring a private pathologist to ensure a proper autopsy is conducted on Bazooka to ensure an accurate account of how he died is secured
  • Support the ACC in its daily activities of coordinating the struggle against the proposed mining. It is particularly in urgent need of such financial assistance as it is critical that at this moment the struggle is intensified to push back against the forces that are now resorting to murder in their attempts to suppress the communities' resistance to the proposed mining operation.
To make a financial contribution to the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) now, however big or small, you can do so by direct bank transfer, through GivenGain or through the Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC) website:

Direct Bank Deposit:

Sustaining the Wild Coast
First National Bank
Randburg
Acc no: 62157997639
Code: 254005
Swift: FIRNZAJJ
Physical address: cnr Main Ave/Republic Rd, Randburg
Reference: 'Bazooka Cause'

Through GivenGain:.

To make a financial contribution through the crowd funding website, GivenGain, please go to the following link:
https://www.givengain.com/cause/3699/campaigns/17130/

Through the SWC website:

www.swc.org.za/donate.php (please also be sure to reference your donation as 'Bazooka Cause').

All funds raised will be administered by SWC, and utilised exclusively for this cause.

We thank you for your kind contribution to the Amadiba anti-mining struggle.

Please also circulate this appeal as widely as you can in your networks, social media, websites etc. The response has already been amazing, please help us keep this up! Please also use the hashtags #RIPBazooka and #StopWildCoastMining in your social media work.

For further information, contact: Mzamo Dlamini 072 194 0949; Nonhle Mbuthuma 076 3592982

Also see:

http://www.r2k.org.za/2016/03/23/amadiba-assassination/




Amadiba Crisis Committee : Press statement 2016-03-30

The killing of the Amadiba Crisis Committee chair, Sikhosiphi Bazooka Radebe, was expensive. The highly professional hitmen hijacked a car in Port Edward, put one of the passengers in the boot and tied the other in the back seat. Comrade Bazooka, a former MK member, refused to be pushed into the car. He had to be shot outside the house. They then went to Port Shepstone and were picked up by another car. The hijacked passengers could call for help.

The funeral will take place 09.00 a.m., Saturday 2 April in Mdatya, Amadiba area, Mbizana, 20 km from Port Edward. More information will follow shortly.

Mark "Wrath-of-the-Lord" Caruso http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/stnews/2015/11/29/Aussie-company-threatens-biblical-smiting-in-ongoing-Cape-row , our benefactor from Perth, got a "bonus" for submitting the mining application. We encourage MRC's shareholders and Australian experts to read our lawyers' objection (attached). Has Caruso told you that he had no access to our land since April 2015? Has he reported that he has sacked his Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP)? Caruso's recent EAP recruit is a South African living in Perth. He will be better off there, with the exiles.

22 February, our community again blocked MRC from access to our land. MRC had threatened through chief Lunga, whom they have bought, to "come by force". On this matter Mark Caruso FIN24.COM (23/3) says: "There was a recently planned drilling programme to deliver fresh drinking water, (which) was withdrawn in an attempt to hose down any potential violent confrontation between pro and anti-mining lobby groups". When will the Australian public bring down this evil little clown?

Our lawyers wrote to find out what the proposed drilling was for. MRC's subsidiary TEM refused to answer. Our lawyers were finally informed by the Department of Mineral Resources that the drilling related to hydrological studies as part of the mining right application. It had nothing to do with the provision of fresh water. The Xolobeni Scoping Report says that MRC "needs" 13 to 15 million cubic meter water per year, from the groundwater and from rivers. This is the water we use for our livelihood.

The EIA was to be ready 22 September, but access to the land was blocked by our community. Mr Caruso has "extension" from his business friends in the Department of Mineral Resources to the middle of March. You have no right to enter our land, Mark Caruso, and you will not enter.

In 2007, our comrade Scorpion Dimane died under mysterious circumstances. In the same year, we had our only encounter with one of the capitalist sociopaths from Perth, Patrick Caruso, Mark Caruso's little brother. As we today mourn our Bazooka, the end of the meeting in Mdatya 2007 lives in our memory.

The community leaders asked little Patrick: "Don't you understand that this project leads to bloodshed in our community?" Patrick: "Well, there is always blood where there is this type of projects." "So you mean that you want to get rich by spilling our blood?" Patrick: "In my experience you cannot have development without blood." Bazooka then stood up and said: "OK, we can now close our books on this one." And the meeting was over.

Long live the spirit of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Radebe!

Amadiba Crisis Committee:

Mzamo Dlamini 072 194 0949; Nonhle Mbuthuma 076 3592982

The Umgungundlovu Traditional Authority and the ACC are represented by Richard Spoor Inc. in Johannesburg and LRC in Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg.
For legal issues in the coastal Amadiba community struggle against mining: Henk Smith 0832661770, Thabiso Mbhense 0711099340 and Richard Spoor 0836271722.




Dear Friends

Many of you may have heard by now of the assassination last night of the Chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC), Bazooka Rhadebe (see also statement below from the ACC). No other conclusion can be drawn other than that his assassination was orchestrated by the local pro-mining lobby, as a desperate attempt to remove the widespread community resistance to the proposed mining project at Xolobeni, Wild Coast. The ACC was elected by the affected communities to represent them in the fight against the proposed mining, and has managed to hold the mining company and the force of the state at bay for close to a decade. There is evidence that other anti-mining activists are now at risk.

We therefore call on you to support this struggle at this critical time in the following ways:

  1. Draft a statement by your organisation or together with other organisations stating your solidarity to the communities and the family of Bazooka, condemning the assassination, and calling on the Minister of the Department of Minerals Resources (DMR) to intervene to stop the mining right application process and to protect the anti-mining activists and communities. To sign on to an existing civil society statement, go to https://tinyurl.com/acc-solidarity-endorse or email Busi busi@r2k.org.za or call Busi on 021 447 1000

  2. Please circulate this appeal and your statements to all your networks, national and international organisations, calling on them to support as well

  3. Appeal to your networks and to the general public to contact the highest offices of the DMR and inundate them with demands to intervene to stop the mining right application process and to protect the anti-mining activists and communities. Here are the contact details of the highest offices of the DMR:
  4. Minister of Mineral Resources: Mr Mosebenzi Zwane

    Tel: 012 444 3999
    Fax: 012 444 3145
    Email: Queen.Poolo@dmr.gov.za (PA)

    Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources: Mr Godfrey Oliphant

    Tel: 012 444 3956
    Fax: 012 341 2228
    Email: Kefilwe.Chibogo@dmr.gov.za (PA)

    Acting Director-General: Department of Mineral Resources: Mr David Msiza

    Tel: 012 444 3000
    Fax: 012 341 2228
    Email: david.msiza@dmr.gov.za / Nwabisa.Qwanyashe@dmr.gov.za (PA) / Khayalethu.Matrose@dmr.gov.za (Director: Office of the DG)

  5. Solidarity Fund: The Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) urgently requires funds to assist Bazooka's family, for transport, and for continuing the struggle and protecting activists in this dangerous moment. You can make donations to the following bank account. Please include the reference as 'Bazooka Cause'. Please also forward this request for financial assistance on to your networks as well as funding agencies that may be willing to support the ACC.
Sustaining the Wild Coast
First National Bank
Randburg
Acc no: 62157997639
Code: 254005
Swift: FIRNZAJJ
Physical address: cnr Main Ave/Republic Rd, Randburg

Reference: 'Bazooka Cause'

For further information, contact: Mzamo Dlamini 072 194 0949; Nonhle Mbuthuma 076 3592982




Bazooka Radebe - A great tragedy and a travesty of justice

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Amadiba Crisis Committee press statement: Our beloved chairman assassinated tonight

Amadiba Crisis Committee 2016-03 22:

We are shocked to tell the public that the chairman of Amadiba Crisis Committee, Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe from Mdatya village in Amadiba, was brutally assassinated tonight outside his house in Lurholweni township, Amadiba area, Mbizana.

Our beloved Bazooka made the ultimate sacrifice defending our ancestral land of Amadiba on the Wild Coast.

He was murdered at about 7.30 in the evening. The hitmen came in a white Polo with a rotating blue lamp on the roof. Two men knocked at the door saying they were the police. Mr Rhadebe was shot with 8 bullets in the head. He died defending his young son, who witnessed the murder. His son and his wife are now in hospital.

After one year of threats and attacks, we have been waiting for something like this to happen: Ever since the shootings in Xolobeni 3 May last year, led by mining director Zamile Qunya, and ever since the Christmas shootings in Mdatya village. But since the four gangsters from the Christmas shootings were released on bail in January, police have been intimidating the Amadiba community and leaders in nightly raids, determined to look in the wrong direction. For one year the local police has refused to cooperate with the Umgungundlovu traditional authority of the coastal Amadiba area to stop the violence against our community which says no to mining.

The Australian mining company MRC and all the criminals in high positions who are eager to cut their piece of our land and fill their pockets with blood money, shall know this:

The Amadiba coastal community will not be intimidated into submission.

Imining ayiphumeleli!

We appeal to democratic South Africans to support our community and stand by us in this terrible moment.

Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC):

Mzamo Dlamini 072 194 0949; Nonhle Mbuthuma 076 3592982

The Umgungundlovu Traditional Authority and the ACC are represented by Richard Spoor Inc. in Johannesburg and LRC in Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg. For legal issues in the coastal Amadiba community struggle against mining: Henk Smith 0832661770, Thabiso Mbhense 0711099340 and Richard Spoor 0836271722.




Mining terror continues: New shooting Sunday evening in Xolobeni, Wild Coast

Amadiba Crisis Committee, 2016-03-01:

On Sunday evening 28 February, the homestead of a young family was attacked by three men. They fired shots and smashed windows of the house. The man, the woman and their two-year old child was in the house during the incident. The couple are known as opponents to mining on the Wild Coast.

The incident started at about 8.05 in the evening. A shot was first fired close to the Mtentu village in the coastal Amadiba area, Bizana municipality.

Some minutes later, a white bakkie parked close to the family's house. Three men stepped out and start banging on the door without speaking a word. Three shots were eventually fired and windows were smashed. When the man inside opened the door prepared to defend his family, the three men stayed outside and smashed another window.

The attack lasted till about 20.50. Not a word was spoken. When the men left, they fired a last shot. This was shot number five. No bullets or cartridges have been found by the community at this time.

At about 20.30, both ward councillor Nokwamkela Mteki and her brother Kenneth Mteki called during the attack to the Mpisi police station, demanding help. The officer taking the calls answered "We are coming!" The distance when driving to help at an emergency from the Mpisi station to Mtentu is about 15 minutes. No police came during the whole evening. Two police officers from Mpisi arrived 8.30 on Monday morning to take statements.

The station commander of Mpisi station is Mr Ntlangula.

Nonhle Mbuthuma: "The Amadiba community never rests. People experience sleeping in the bush and in the fields, but we have houses. People say now that our blankets are eaten by our cows."

Mtentu is one village of five affected by the mining application lodged again by TEM in March last year. TEM is a SA partner of the Australian mining company Mineral Resource Commodities, MRC. Mtentu is located in the far south of the 22km/1.5km long coast line where TEM wants to do opencast mining for titanium minerals. This is the so called Xolobeni project, named after the central village. The community doesn't want mining or more "EIA"

We have in many statements before told media about the shootings during Christmas in the area, and the attacks against our Headwoman and targeted crisis committee families. The four men arrested for those attacks are out on bail. Their trial is now scheduled for 8 April in Mbizana.

Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC):

Nonhle Mbuthuma 0763592982; Mzamo Dlamini 0721940949.

The Umgungundlovu Traditional Authority and the ACC are represented by Richard Spoor Inc. in Johannesburg and LRC in Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg. For legal issues: Thabiso Mbhense 0711099340, Henk Smith 0832661770 and Richard Spoor 0836271722.




Amadiba Crisis Committee: NO DRILLING ON Wild Coast TODAY 22 FEBRUARY, TEM REFUSES TO DISCLOSE INTENTIONS

Amadiba Crisis Committee 2016-02-22:

While chief Lunga Baleni, a director of the Australian mining company TEM's local partner Xolco, had said that drilling would proceed through force if necessary, it seems TEM decided against proceeding with planned drilling operations today (22 February 2016) after more than 200 residents of Xolobeni gathered to defend their land.

Despite this victory, the ACC remains very concerned that TEM will proceed with its proposed activities as there is a complete blackout regarding TEM's intentions on community land.

In an effort to ease tensions, our lawyers have sought to engage with TEM to seek clarity on its intentions. They have emphasised the importance of consultation prior to engaging in such activities on the community's land.

These efforts have been utterly rebuffed. TEM's attorneys stated that they have been instructed not to give us any information at all. We are left in the dark regarding TEM's activities.

TEM's flagrant disregard of the community and its customary law increases the prospect of conflict. Residents are anxious as they wait to see whether TEM will attempt to drill on their land tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day.

We call on TEM to answer our lawyers to facilitate engagement with the residents of Xolobeni.

We have also sought to engage with the SAPS to encourage them to protect us and keep the situation calm. There is a heavy police presence. Despite our efforts, the police are also not providing any information regarding TEM's intentions.

The ACC has always renounced violence, and continues to do so. Given its conduct, we are concerned that TEM seeks to provoke violent responses that will result in Xolobeni residents being arrested. It is also clear that TEM seeks to divide the community in order to access our minerals.

We therefore urge Xolobeni residents to continue to maintain the peace.

The Umgungundlovu Traditional Authority and the ACC are represented by Richard Spoor Inc. in Johannesburg and LRC in Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town.

For legal issues in the coastal Amadiba community struggle against mining: Thabiso Mbhense 0711099340; Richard Spoor 0836271722; Henk Smith 0832661770.




WHAT IS TEM PLANNING TODAY??

A week or two back the Australian mining company, TEM, sent its local agents to tell Inkosana Duduzile Baleni, the head woman of the Umgungundlovu traditional community at Xolobeni on the Pondoland Wild Coast, that it would be going onto community land to carry out drilling operations on Monday 22 Feb 2016.

They warned the Inkosana and her community not to resist.

Since then the lawyers for the community, the LRC and RSI, have written several letters to TEM, asking for clarification on the company's intentions.

We asked, who is going, where are you going, what are you going to do and significantly, on what basis do you claim the right to enter the area, which belongs to the community and which forms part of a coastal conservation area, without the consent of that community?

We stressed that we are very concerned that there may be conflict between the mine and the community as the community has previously made clear that it will not permit mining and mining related activities on its land, and community members will almost certainly try to prevent the entry of mine vehicles on to their land.

TEM have however refused to answer our queries and when we checked with their lawyers they told us unequivocally that their client would not be giving any response.

Now there are reports of mine trucks and machines that have been assembled at the Bizana local municipality offices.

So it is beginning to look like TEM is intent on a show of force on Monday, and that it may well attempt to run a convoy of vehicles into the red dunes, in order to carry out drilling operations there.

Meanwhile the community is mobilizing to defend its land against TEM and its agents.

The police have been asked to be present to prevent any violence and the EC department of the environment has been asked to send officials to ensure compliance by TEM with conservation laws.

The TEM aggression comes after a campaign of sustained violence and intimidation against the local community by the mining company's proxies over the last few months.

In recent weeks police have also carried out a series of raids on the homes of community leaders, ostensibly to look for weapons and dagga.

Everyone remains hopeful that TEM is bluffing and that they will not try to bulldoze their way in, in the face of overwhelming opposition by local residents.

It would be hugely irresponsible of TEM to go ahead considering the climate of fear and anger that prevails and the many warnings that have been given regarding the serious risk of conflict and violence.

Unfortunately because TEM refuses to enter into any discussion with the community or its representatives, we just don't know, what they intend and the situation is therefore very tense.

Johan Lorenzen, from RSI's White River office, will be at Xolobeni from Sunday onwards, with a mandate to do everything possible to preserve the peace.

Contact Thabiso Mbhense at (071) 1099340 or Johan Lorenzen at (079) 6545038 for info on legal developments.

I will post any new information as it comes through.




PRESS RELEASE - Monday 22 February TEM and the Australians will enter Wild Coast "by force" to "drill for water"

At a meeting 10 February with the Traditional Authority of the coastal Amadiba area, mining director Lunga Baleni, informed that Transworld Mineral Energies (TEM), will come on Monday 22 February "to drill for water" in Xolobeni, Wild Coast.

He also said to Headwoman Cynthia Baleni and members of her council that the intrusion will be made "by force" if the community tries to block it, as the community did 29 April 2015.

In addition to this threat, a letter arrived to our lawyers yesterday. It says that TEM only recognises the authority of Lunga Baleni over our area. Amadiba chief Lunga and his wife was in January 2015 made a director of TEM's partner "Xolco" and drive a company car, a 4x4 Ford Ranger (CA725658). Since his appointment as mining director, the Amadiba Traditional Authority has stopped functioning. Lunga now represents the Australian MRC and SANRAL on matters of mining and the N2 Toll Road "coastal stretch".

400 residents attended the imbizo at the Great Place yesterday. The meeting expressed surprise that the mining company is coming 22 February, showing again that it doesn't care about the community. The imbizo declared that they are not welcome.

We welcome and encourage media to come on Monday 22 February to Xolobeni and document the event.

TEM is a SA partner of the Australian mining company MRC, which since ten years has tried to start opencast mining on a 22km/1.5km stretch along the Wild Coast, between the Mzamba and Mtentu rivers.

Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC):

Nonhle Mbuthuma 0763592982; Mzamo Dlamini 0721940949.

The Umgungundlovu Traditional Authority and the ACC are represented by Richard Spoor Inc. in Johannesburg and LRC in Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town.

For legal issues in the coastal Amadiba community struggle against mining: Thabiso Mbhense 0711099340; Richard Spoor 0836271722; Henk Smith 0832661770,




Farewell to Lylie Musgrave - SWC Director of Media extroadenaire!

For all the years that we knew her, Lylie was a true devotee of conservation and social justice. Even after her role in the St Lucia saga was over she committed herself to another long-term battle by being a Founding Director of Sustaining the Wild Coast. She remained with us through thick and thin, only resigning in May of this year as she felt that she was no longer able to make a significant contribution not being able to attend Board Meetings. She stayed on however as media liaison and communicated till the bitter end.

Lylie was so instrumental in SWC's early days when we were desperately trying to raise awareness about the mining and toll road and other Wild Coast issues; trying to persuade the public to speak out about the EIA's. Her knowledge of media relations, networking and her media contacts were invaluable in helping us get the word out there to all corners of the world. Her contact with Ulf Dorner was instrumental in bringing NatureLife to SA, and that visit was the first occasion that many of the now Directors of SWC worked together in person as a group.

But even when the ball got rolling and the urgency of media coverage to raise awareness was less intense, Lylie was always so willing to lend a voice of wisdom and encouragement. This very website exists because of her long association with Les Juby. Thank you Lylie!

We are sure that she is now amongst the stars or wherever old souls go, looking on us and guiding us from beyond this life.

Hamba Kahle Ma!




The future of MRC ACC

Statement of the Amadiba Crisis Committee 2015-11-04

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DLF Statement in Solidarity with the Amadiba Crisis Committee

The Democratic Left Front (DLF) expresses its support and solidarity with our comrades of the Amadiba Crisis Committee and the community of Amadiba. We salute the heroic resistance of the community against the undemocratic, authoritarian and repressive forces that seek to impose mining on the people. On numerous occasions the vast majority of the community has stated loudly and clearly that the Australian mining company, MRC/TEM and their henchmen must voetsak!

We are outraged at the latest violence orchestrated by the henchmen of this blood-sucking company, including the discredited Chief Lunga Baleni and his "fixer" Zamile Qunya. This is nothing more than an attempt to provoke the community in order to justify state repression that will be used to justify the crushing of the community.

We are warning that the conditions are rapidly maturing for a Marikana type massacre.

We demand that the mining company, MRC/TEM and any other mining company respect the wishes of the community and get out of the Amadiba area, Pondoland, Eastern Cape.

We demand that all charges against our comrades of the Amadiba Crisis Committee be immediately withdrawn.

We demand Chief Lunga Baleni be stripped of his authority

We demand Zamile Qunya be arrested and charged for assault and attempted murder.

We demand no development projects are implemented without the express agreement of the Amadiba communities.

Stop capitalist exploitation of workers and destruction of nature!

6 May 2015

For further information contact:

Trevor Ngwane - Democratic Left Front national secretary 0790307657

Nonhle Mbuthuma - Amadiba Crisis Committee spokesperson 0734262955




Wild Coast mining conflict: Xolobeni escalates - Daily Maverick article
John Clarke 04 May 2015 02:06

Advocate Thuli Madonsela had confidently assured us that so far all of the political crises that have bedevilled South Africa since 1994 were in fact anticipated by the architects of the Constitution, and will be resolved by adherence to it. However, it remains to be seen if such recourse to constitutional provisions can ultimately settle the Wild Coast dune mining conflict, which is back on the boil. Recent events suggest that coastal residents in the Amadiba Tribal Area have already decided for themselves that their property and environmental rights trump mining rights. They have decided that mining is not a "justifiable social and economic development", and have erected barricades on the access roads to refuse entry to an Australian backed mining company. Not even their chief was allowed in.

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Amadiba Crisis Committee - Statement 2015-05-05

Four members of the Amadiba Crisis Committee will appear in the Bizana Court today Wednesday 6 May. The charges are related to Wednesday 29 April, when hundreds of community members blocked the mining company MRC/TEM and its consultant Piet Badenhorst, first at Mpindweni and then at Xolobeni villages. The charges are: BLOCKING THE ROAD, STOPPING CARS and ASKING CARS WHERE THEY ARE GOING.

In the overall mining matter as well as in the specific matter of the four now charged, the Tribal Authority, Amadiba Administrative Area, Section 24 (coastal) and the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) are represented by Sarah Sephton at LRC in Grahamstown and Richard Spoor's office in Johannesburg.

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Our Tribute to Bhalasheleni

Induna Bhalasheleni Mthanjelwa Mphotomela Mthwa of Xolobeni Village, born 16 December 1935, passed away unexpectedly and tragically in hospital on Saturday 11th April after falling ill at his home on Wednesday morning.

Bhalashaleni's birth name Mthanjelwa means - they soften to him or they stop being difficult with him. He surely lived up to this name in the way that he had of softening peoples' hearts. Everyone loved him when he opened his mouth, he was a true orator.

And it was through this talent of his that he became one of SWC's greatest teachers in understanding the culture of the amaMpondo. His dignified and deeply rooted traditional manner of expressing himself using cultural metaphor resonated with far more meaning than merely words. As an organisation we came to understand far better his and the amaMpondo connection to space and time. He is a great loss to our, and the collective community's effective work on sustaining the Wild Coast through restoring socio-cultural pride and ecological integrity.

Our deepest sympathies go to his family and to all those closely connected to this amazing man. He was like a father to them all and our thoughts are with them in this tragic time. We look ahead to taking forward all his teachings and ensuring his eloquent visions of a restored and sustained Wild Coast together with its people continues to bear fruit. Hamba kahle Tata.............

We have recently found a wonderful quote in Naomi Klein's new book "This Changes Everything", where she is writing about local community struggles against extractive industries, and their love for and connectedness to the land and natural resources: '.....communities begin to cherish what they have, and what they stand to lose, even more than before the extractive threat arose. This is particularly striking because many of the people waging the fiercest anti-extraction battles are, at least by conventional measures, poor but they are still determined to defend a richness that the economy has not figured out how to count. "Our kitchens are filled with homemade jams and preserves, sacks of nuts, crates of honey and cheese, all produced by us", a Romanian villager protesting fracking told a reporter. "We are not even that poor. Maybe we don't have money, but we have clean water and we are healthy and we just want to be left alone."

This is exactly what Bhalasheleni stood for in his stance against mining the Wild Coast dunes for titanium and these could have been his words. Our memory of him is of a man striding across the grassed hills in an ancient tweed jacket and ragged overall trousers with his shoulders square and his head held high. For Bhalasheleni it was not about the amount of money that he carried in his pocket but about the connection to his people and the land that he carried in his heart.