Webinar - Mining Communities who say 'No': Hostage-takers, Victims or Agents of Transformative Change?
Link to Webinar Recording: Recording of Webinar on Mining Communities who say 'No': Hostage-takers, Victims or Agents of Transformative Change?
The Mandela Institute at the School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, hosted a webinar on Mining Communities who Say ‘No’: Hostage-takers, Victims or Agents of Transformative Change?
Communities or factions of communities that resist the use of their land and other natural resources for mining are fighting to have their voices heard and their rights protected. In a series of recent decisions, the South African courts have recognized communities’ right to be meaningfully consulted, their right to access the information in a mining application, and the State’s duty to obtain their consent for the deprivation of informal land rights. The entire bedrock of constitutional rights underlies these court wins. Yet despite these victories, the contemporary situation of communities who are saying no to mining is highly precarious: A number of community leaders have been assassinated or are facing death threats and the right of community members to express their resistance and associate for this purpose has been countered with heavy-handed intimidation. Communities who say no have been framed as hostage-takers: Of the mining company, mining jobs, and of mining-driven national development.
The escalation of mining-related conflict in some communities is untenable. What should the state, mining companies, traditional authorities and communities themselves be doing to restore peace, order and respect for human rights? Are our laws and institutions transformative enough to hold and deal with the conflicts in mining-impacted communities? And instead of victims or hostage-takers should we be seeing the communities who are saying no as the provocateurs for deeper and more extensive transformation in the mining industry?
Ms Nonhle Mbuthuma is co-founder of the Amadiba Crisis Committee. She is a prominent land and earth defender hailing from Umgungundlovu in Eastern Mpondoland.
Mr Johan Lorenzen is an Associate with Richard Spoor Inc Attorneys, the attorneys of record for the Amadiba Crisis Committee.
Mr Matome Kapa is the Programme Head: Activist Support & Training at the Centre for Environmental Rights.
Mr Peter Leon is a Partner with Herbert Smith Freehills, co-chair of its Africa practice, and former chair of the International Bar Association’s mining law committee.
Prof Jackie Dugard is an Associate Professor at the School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand and co-founder and former executive director of the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI).
The event was chaired by Prof Tracy-Lynn Field, a Full Professor at the School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, author of State Governance of Mining, Development and Sustainability and chair of the board of the Centre for Environmental Rights.
The webinar was held on 9 December 2020 at 16:00.