Chronicling Capitalism in Southern Africa, and how to resist it.
For the past 14 days, the South African Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power has been publishing chronicles of capitalism in Southern Africa. We also describe below advocacy work you might consider doing.
The chronicles – black and white infographics – deliver snippets of the Juror Statements issued at the 3rd Session of the Southern Africa Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) on Transnational Corporations (TNCs).
The PPT process is a part of the Southern Africa Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power. It is an international network of trade unions and organisations from Southern Africa that are fighting against corporate impunity. To do so, we favoured the rise of the law from below through the PPT process. We are now pushing for the communities right to say no against any business activities that affect them. This right, shaped and strengthened during the PPT, has already been recognised for the Community of Xolobeni, South-Africa by the Gauteng high court. It forces the Australian mining company TEMS to abandon their project in Xolobeni.
Furthermore, the Campaign pushes for the right to say no to be included in a legally binding Treaty currently negotiated at the United Nations. Back in 2014, Ecuador and South-Africa opened discussions at the UN on transnational corporations and their obligations in regards to human rights. In relation to these discussions, we gathered organisation in Southern Africa to articulate an advocacy work between UN institutions and popular organisations. In other words, we work with communities voices in Southern Africa to be heard inside international institutions, especially when they deal with a matter that affects directly those communities. Through our work, we discovered that the most effective way to guarantee communities rights against the devastating effect of TNCs activities is to guarantee a right to say no via a requested free, prior, informed and continuous consent.
Working to end corporate impunity leads to immeasurable fight back from these powerful private interests. 71 of the largest 100 economies in the world are TNCs’. In order to hold them accountable, mass pressure is needed. Therefore, we are inviting you, people of Southern Africa and activists worldwide, to contribute to this pressure. At first, a message can be sent to TNCs whose human rights violations are reported below (you can find below the contact details of the TNCs and specific evidence underlined in the 3rd PPT Juror Statement).
In this way, we will be showing TNCs that their devastating methods are being scrutinised, planting the seed for a resisting movements to emerge. You can find below five chronicles, illustrating 5 of the 20 cases that were presented at the PPT, a link to the corporations’ contact details that are responsible for this case, and a brief description of what they are guilty of.
Marange and the suffering of artisanal miners in Zimbabwe
You can write to the ZC Diamond Company. Tell them we – the people in Southern Africa – know that murders are routinely concealed in Marange. We have evidence that their security guards use dogs and live ammunition against artisanal miners. We are outraged that 1 billion carats of the 1,5 billion carats the Company claimed they have extracted disappeared from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
We are also outraged that this massive thief leads to no prosecutions. You can also tell them we – the Southern Africa Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power – are pushing for communities right to say no to be implemented, through the United Nations and other national legal mecanism, and ZCDC will soon be held accountable.
The Marikana massacre in South-Africa
You can write to the former Lonmin Company, now named Sibanye-Stillwater. Tell them we are not satisfied with the outcome of the Farlan commission, where only one officer was suspended for a massacre that cost 34 lives. We want both the South-African state and the Lonmin / Sibanye-Stillwater Company to be held accountable. We – people in Southern Africa – are outraged by the fact that Sibanye-Stillwater suggested that the widow can execute their deceased husband work as a mean of compensation. We are also outraged by the fact that the Company involved in the killings decided to build 5000 new houses for the working-class people, and they only build three. You can also tell them that we, the Campaign, are pushing for communities right to say no to be implemented, through the United Nations and other national legal mechanisms, and Sibanye-Stillwater will soon be held accountable.
The Inga III mega-dam project and forcefully displaced communities in DRC
Communities’ on the Congo River has already experienced the realisation of mega-dam Inga I and Inga II. Displaced people have received very little if no compensation. The dam destroyed the best fishing grounds, forces people to move and look for jobs in the city. Nonetheless, the building of the dam did not even profit to the Congolese population; 84% of the people of the DRC have no access to electricity.
You can write to the German Company Andritz, the Chinese Three Gorges Corporation and/or the South-African energy producer Eskom, as they are all part of the building of this mega-dam. The Juror statement shows evidence that this “development” will not benefit the Congolese people, but to mining corporation or Energy consumers in foreign. That we – the people of Southern Africa – stay in solidarity with the Congolese people, urging for those communities right to say no to be implemented.
“You are sitting on a mountain of money”: Land grabbing in Mozambique
You can write to the Vale mining corporation, expressing outrage towards the thousands of inhabitants that have been forcefully removed in Moatize, Mozambique. The PPT Juror statement highlights the fact that the displaced people received minimal compensation, poorly built housing and poor land 36 kilometres away from the river and the district market they used to live by.
You can write that the Jurors have received evidence that the Mozambican police’s Rapid Intervention Force have later met protestors with extreme violence. You can also tell them that we, the Campaign, are pushing for communities right to say no to be implemented, through the United Nations and other national legal mecanism, and Sibanye-Stillwater will soon be held accountable.
Indigenous peoples threatened in Madagascar
The Australian Company Base Resources acquired the Tolaria Sand mining project in 2017. It plans to operate in an area home to the Mikea forest and inhabited by two hundred thousand indigenous Mikea people who have since then been threatened by displacement. In November 2019, due to the pressure put on Malagasy authorities, the Council of Ministers suspended all activities related to the project.
You can write to Base Resources, expressing your solidarity with the Mikea people and outrage for any project that can, in the future, displaced thousands of people without their consent. You can also tell them that we, the Campaign, are pushing for communities right to say no to be implemented, through the United Nations and other national legal mecanism, and Sibanye-Stillwater will soon be held accountable.
Thank you all for your support, Amandla!