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Assassination of South Africa community leader opposing mining by Australian Company

Sikhosiphi-Bazooka-Rhadebe

STATEMENT BY CULLINAN AND ASSOCIATES:

We are appalled at the brutal assassination of Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe from Mdatya village, the chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee.  We have had the privilege of working with Bazooka and of representing the people who live along the Wild Coast in Amadiba Administrative Area 24 in their attempts to stop the proposed N2 Wild Coast Toll Highway for almost a decade.  Now a brave and principled man, a real character beloved by his community, is dead because he refused to be bullied or bought, and instead stood up for his culture, his community, for their beautiful land, and for what is right.

Our condolences go out to his family, friends and community who have lost a husband, father, friend, and leader.

For many years Bazooka and the communities which he represented have been successfully resisting the proposed mining of the Wild Coast by an Australian mining company (MRC) and Sanral’s project to construct a toll highway through their lands and very close to the proposed mining sites. They have steadfastly resisted all the inducements offered by the proponents of these projects. When it became apparent that the communities could not be bought off, the violence began to escalate. First armed men attacked community members (including the headwoman) with pangas and guns and now this. The obvious question is “Who benefits from this assassination?”

We salute the incredible courage of the Amadiba coastal communities who have responded to this horrifying act by reiterating that they will not be intimidated into submission and that the mining will not go ahead.  We call on everyone who believes in justice and democracy to join us in demanding that the Minister of Police ensures that competent and unbiased investigators be assigned to apprehend the assassins as soon as possible, to uncover who sent them and to bring them to trial.  Anything less is unacceptable in our democracy.

In South Africa, click to read: 82 organisations want Wild Coast mining applications suspended after ‘assassination’

Cape Town – Eighty-two civil society organisations on Wednesday condemned the murder of an anti-mining activist on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape, and called for all mining applications to be suspended.

“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!” the 82 civil society organisations said in a joint statement.

Amadiba Crisis Committee chairperson Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe was shot multiple times in his upper body, Eastern Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant Khaya Tonjeni told Fin24 on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Wild Coast anti-mining leader murdered

Submitted by Cormac Cullinan  BA (Hons) LLB LLM (Environmental Law)

Director, Cullinan & Associates