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South Africa: Condemn the murder of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, leading campaigner against the Australian-owned Xolobeni mine
March 24, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee and a leading campaigner against the Australian-owned Xolobeni mineral sands mine in South Africa was shot dead in his home on March 22. Below we republish statements by the Amadiba Crisis Committee and one signed by 82 civil society organisations condemning the assassination of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe and asking for international support to ensure his murderers are brought to justice. There is also an online petition you can sign onto at the bottom.
Amadiba Crisis Committee 2016-03 22: Our chairman brutally murdered
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.
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.
Statement: 82 civil society organisations condemn the assassination of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, chairperson of Amadiba Crisis Committee!
We are shocked and outraged to learn of the brutal murder of the chairperson of Amadiba Crisis Committee, Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe. As chair of the ACC, Bazooka Rhadebe was helping lead the struggle of Amadiba residents on the Wild Coast in opposing open-cast titanium mining by the Australian mining company MRC.
According to Amadiba Crisis Committee: “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.”
This is not the first case of intimidation or violence against those who have opposed mining in the area.
Our hearts go out to Bazooka’s family and community.
The assassination of Bazooka is a painful reminder that from abaHlali baseMjondolo to the Helen Suzman Foundation, there is an existing pattern of criminal attacks on civil society formations, especially those in townships, informal settlements and rural areas. For years, poor people’s movements in different parts of the country have experienced regular harassment, intimidation, detention and violence against their members. It is worst felt when the media are far away and the victims are poor, black or rural, and when major industries stand to make billions in profit.
We cannot afford to remain silent in the face of any of these attacks. Every one of them is an attack on democracy itself.
1. We call for the speedy arrest and successful prosecution of the killers of comrade Bazooka.
2. We further call on the Human Rights Commission to investigate the systematic process of intimidation that has been orchestrated against those who have stood up against MRC and its lackeys in the area.
3. We demand that the Minister of Mineral Resources suspends all mining applications until there has been a full and independent investigation of Rhadebe’s murder!
4. We demand protection for all members of the Amadiba Crisis Committee and their families!
5. We call on all progressive forces to stand up in defence of democracy. End the attacks on our activists and movements!
We will not be bullied and intend to speak out even more strongly than before. The key thing when civil society is being intimidated is to show no fear.
Contribute to the 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
Acc no: 62157997639
Physical address: cnr Main Ave/Republic Rd, Randburg
Reference: ‘Bazooka Cause’
What else can you do: 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:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org / Nwabisa.Qwanyashe@dmr.gov.za (PA) / Khayalethu.Matrose@dmr.gov.za (Director: Office of the DG)
African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB)
Alternative Information & Development Centre, (AIDC)
Bench Marks Foundation
Centre for Civil Society (CCS)
Centre for Environmental Rights (CER)
Centre for Human Rights, Unversity of Pretoria
Co-operative and Policy Alternative Center (COPAC)
Coalition for Environmental Justice (CEJ)
Colombia Solidarity Campaign, UK
Common Frontiers – Canada
Community Media Trust (CMT)
Democracy Works Foundation
Democratic Left Front
Economic Justice Network of FOCCISA/AMI
Equal Education (EE)
Food Soverninty Campaign
Fossil Free South Africa
Global Afrikan People’s Parliament
Global Justice Forum
Health of Mother Earth Foundation
International Socialist Movement (SA)
Johannesburg Anglican Environmental Initiative (JAEI)
KeepLeft (Socialism from Below)
Khanyisa Education and Development Trust
Kingston University, London
Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR)
Left Students’ Forum
Marikana Support Campaign
Media Monitoring. Africa (MMA)
Mineral Policy Institute
Network of Eastern Cape Rural Organisations (26 organisations)
Noordhoek Environmental Action Group (NEAG)
Operation Khanyisa Movement (OKM)
Oxfam South Africa
Oxford Women for Justice and Peace
Pan Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe
Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG)
Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM)
Right2Know Campaign (R2K)
Salva la Selva /Rettet den Regenwald
Social Justice Coalition (SJC)
Socio Economic Rights Institute (SERI)
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI)
Sustaining the Wild Coast
The Gaia Foundation
Thembelihle Crisis Committee (TCC)
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)
Unemployed People’s Movement
Unemployed people’s organisation KZN
United Front Western Cape
War on Want
Women’s Legal Centre
WoMin African Gender and Extractives Alliance