Video: Communities’ #Right2SayNo! to mining
In February, Cape Town hosted the world’s largest mining investment forum: the Africa Mining Indaba. We wanted to make sure that attendees heard about communities #Right2SayNo. We then juxtaposed their answers with the evidence brought to the Southern Africa Permanent Peoples Tribunal on Transnational Corporations.
During the Indaba, 6000 investors, state officials and experts in the mining area worked on optimising growth in the mining industry. While decisions taken during the Indaba can have considerable impacts for African communities – devastating local environments and livelihoods, forcefully moving thousands that will afterwards depend on the global market supplies to survive – these communities voices aren’t considered by the few in charge. Communities can be listened to, but they don’t have the choice to accept or to reject a mining operation in their area.
We are the Southern Africa Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power, a network of trade unions, popular organisations and communities that live in places directly affected by corporate abuses. We have hosted 3 sessions of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal on Transnational Corporations where a panel of legal expert and community activists have heard testimonies of large scale corporate abuses and impunity in all Southern Africa.
Amongst the 20 cases reported, 13 involved mining operations. All emphasise affected communities right to say no to industrial activities. The #Right2SayNo, inspired by South-American legal advances is already recognised by the Gauteng High-Court in South-Africa and is now firmly debated inside the UN institutions. It allows communities to recover their power on the land they occupy and on the livelihoods they depend on, protecting their common goods against the collusion of interest between systematically corrupted head of states and greedy foreign investors.
During the Mining Indaba, we wanted to make sure that investors heard about communities Right 2 Say No. We asked questions to dull suits & ties – with very few exceptions – mostly receiving polite refusal or disdain. When short discussion did finally emerge, the answers to our concerns where either disappointing or terrifying.
We have decided to juxtapose their answers with the evidence brought to the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, highlighting the ridiculousness of the dominant liberal framework when facing systemic cases of fundamental rights abuses and impunity. We have decided to laugh about this ridiculousness, not blaming the few people that accepted to be interviewed, but laughing at the disproportion between hushed, unrealistic diplomatic speeches and the large scale criminal consequences it implies.