Suspend Wild Coast mining, say leading health academics

Originally published by GroundUp on 02/04/16.

Heads of university health departments write letter to Minister of Mineral Resources

Five heads of schools of public health have written to Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane following the assassination of anti-mining activist Sikhosiphi "Bazooka" Rhadebe. Photo: Government website

Five heads of schools of public health have written to Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane following the assassination of anti-mining activist Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe. Photo: Government website

Following the assassination of Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe, the heads of the schools of public and community health at five universities have written to the Minster of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane, calling for the suspension of mining in the Amadiba area on the Wild Coast. They have sent a similar letter to the Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi.

The Honorable Minister of Mineral Resources: Mr Mosebenzi Zwane

cc The Human Rights Commission and The Public Protector

31 March 2016

Dear Honorable Minister Zwane

We write to express and bring to your attention our shock and sadness at the brutal murder of the chairperson of Amadiba Crisis Committee, Mr Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe last week. As chair of the ACC, Mr Rhadebe was helping lead the struggle of Amadiba residents on the Wild Coast in opposing open-cast titanium mining by the Australian mining company Mineral Commodities Limited (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.” We join the Rhadebe family and the Amadiba community in their great sadness.

This is not the first case of intimidation or violence against those who have opposed mining in the area. A memorandum drawn up by the community which we attach, documents numerous instances of intimidation and murder and challenges in having the local police take up these cases.

As leading Schools of Public Health in universities the country, we wish to state that:

1. The mining of titanium in this area, against the wishes of a large section of the community, is likely to impact negatively on the ability of people in this area to continue their agricultural activities and improve food security and that it will be to the detriment of the health and well-being of a poor and vulnerable rural community.

2. The mining is targetting an eco-sensitive area of the country and bodes ill in the light of global climate change that also impacts on population health in general and more especially those of vulnerable communities.

3. Levels of violence are extremely high in South Africa and the pattern of violence that has culminated in Mr Rhadebe’s murder is an example of the epidemic of violence, as a key health and social problem in the country that needs to be addressed.

We are extremely disturbed at the attitude of Mr Mark Caruso, the director of the Mineral Commodities Limited the Australian listed company of which the South African TEM company that plans to mine in the area is a subsidiary. Although he denied involvement of MRC in the killing, he was reported in the Sunday Times of 25 November 2016, as threatening local opponents of a similar mining venture near Vredendal in the Western Cape. In an email to local stakeholders, he warned “..And I will strike down upon thee with vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know that I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.”

He went on to invite his detractors to continue their “campaign” against the mine by indicating: “I am enlivened by [the] opportunity to grind all resistance to my presence and the presence of MRC [the South African subsidiary of Mineral Commodities] into the animals [sic] of history as a failed campaign.”

What can we make of such language when a vocal opponent of MRC is gunned down in cold blood for campaigning against sand mining in the wild coast? The mining company denied any links with the violence. However, it is clear that such a statement from the Company’s director is very irresponsible in encouraging violence. We are alarmed at the lack of respect for human rights, enshrined in our constitution, encapsulated in this statement.

We support and would like to urge you, particularly as Minister of Mineral Resources to take an active stand in initiating calls for:

1. The suspension of all plans for the company to proceed with titanium mining in the Amadiba area.

2. The company abide by the Bill of Rights in our Constitution and take responsibility for the violent actions of its proxy representatives.

3. An independent enquiry by the Human Rights Commission into the string of murders related to plans for mining and speedy arrest and successful prosecution of the killers of Mr Radebe and others related these events.

4. To reconsider plans for mining in this region, taking into consideration an environmental impact assessment through an independent body such as the Human Rights Commission and the Public Protector, given the potentially serious negative health, environmental and human rights impacts.

5. The murder of Mr Rhadebe has catapulted this issue onto the international stage with publicity and opposition emerging in Australia, the U.S, the UK and elsewhere. (;

We urge you on behalf of the government of South Africa to clarify its position on this matter.

Yours sincerely

Professor Helen Schneider

(Head of School of Public Health, University of Western Cape)

Professor Mohamed Jeebhay

(Head of School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town)

Professor Usuf Chikte

(Acting Head of Department of Community Health, University of Stellenbosch)

Professor Laetitia Rispel

(Head of School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg)

Professor Ziyanda Vundle

(Head of Department of Community Medicine, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha)

Related Posts

#RighttoSayNO to mining campaign takes off in South Africa
Protect sacred natural sites to realise indigenous rights, says African Commission
In Photos: Solidarity in action at rally to stop Druridge Bay coal mine
We stand in solidarity: South African and UK communities unite to reject plans for Druridge Bay open-cast coal mine
Open Letter: South African communities ask UK planners to reject new open-cast coal mine
Demonstration targets Petmin’s key investors with demands to divest from Tendele coal mine
Amadiba Commemorates Environmental Defender Sikhosiphi Bazooka Radebe
Resistance, exchange, (post)extractivism: YLNM Coordinators meet in Galicia- in photos
Community Mapping & Resistance Ghana

Community Mapping & Resistance Ghana

  • Written on: 03 February 2017
  • Posted under: Videos
The Matatiele Manifesto: South African communities unite to say yes to life, no to extraction!
In Madagascar, the village of Soamahamanina manages to stop a Chinese mining giant!
Women Building Power- Toolkit for climate and energy justice for African women
New Women Building Power toolkit for women’s rights activists launched
REPORT: The New Colonialism: Britain’s scramble for Africa’s energy and mineral resources
#MineAlert South Africa
Mining, Murder and a British Millionaire: Protestors stand in solidarity with South African communities opposing mining


  • Written on: 11 May 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
Follow the Money – From Pondoland to London Wall
Talking Africa: Podcast on Mining in South Africa and Issues of Violence and Community Engagement
KZN residents up in arms over proposed coal mine

KZN residents up in arms over proposed coal mine

  • Written on: 25 April 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
SOUTH AFRICA: Fuleni community blockade stops mining authority visit
Respect communities’ right to say “NO” – Benchmarks Foundation to Australian High Commission
Graham Edwards: Divest from MRC!

Graham Edwards: Divest from MRC!

  • Written on: 06 April 2016
  • Posted under: Campaigns
Suspend Wild Coast mining, say leading health academics
Violence and Intimidation at Funeral of ‘Bazooka’ Rhadebe
UnderMining Life: Activists Threatened in South Africa

UnderMining Life: Activists Threatened in South Africa

  • Written on: 31 March 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
Statement: 82 civil society organisations condemn the assassination of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, chairperson of Amadiba Crisis Committee!
Amadiba Crisis Committee chairman brutally murdered
The Rise of Investor-State Dispute Settlement in the Extractive Sectors: Challenges and Considerations for African Countries
Urgent YLNM Letter: Protect Ekuri Community Forest, Nigeria
Stop the construction of the Cross River State Superhighway immediately!
We need a real “Alternatives to Mining” Indaba
Report: Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Power the Global Trade in Cobalt
South Africa:, EarthLore and Womin call on Government to protect water and declare climate change state of emergency
Take Action: Support the people of Lamu to prevent coal-fired misery!
Diamond mining continues to cause suffering for Bushmen
Mining firm reconsiders Zululand plans

Mining firm reconsiders Zululand plans

Midland Community Take a Stand Against Fracking

Midland Community Take a Stand Against Fracking

  • Written on: 23 November 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Report: Corporate tax dodging costs Zambia $3billion a year


  • Written on: 12 November 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
A Call for Legal Recognition of Sacred Natural Sites and their Customary Governance Systems
Let communities act on water crisis

Let communities act on water crisis

Communities, Companies and Conflict in Zimbabwe
[Briefing] Rights Extracted: Toward transparency & respect for human rights in mining, oil & gas in Francophone Africa
Human Rights Defender Myness Musaamba assaulted at a ‘Community Development’ Meeting at Arda Transau
Map of Abandoned Mines in sub-Saharan Africa
Ngisika elijikayo/The tip of the iceberg

Ngisika elijikayo/The tip of the iceberg

Zimbabwe: Disaster strikes in Arda Transau Mining Relocation Area
The Fuleni coal mine serves no-one

The Fuleni coal mine serves no-one

Zimbabwe: Villagers of Arda Transau displaced by mining told they must pay to farm
Communities being stripped of their heritage by mining
Outrage over coal mine bordering Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Wilderness
Our Resistance, Our Hope: Unity Statement of the International People’s Conference on Mining
‘Rivers of Acid’ in Zambian Villages

‘Rivers of Acid’ in Zambian Villages

Huge Opposition to Zululand coal mine ‘catastrophe’
Campaigning against coal in KwaZulu Natal

Campaigning against coal in KwaZulu Natal

  • Written on: 27 August 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Lesethleng Community fight to recover lost farmland
African Civil Society Says Yes to Life, No to Mining!
Dirty Diggers: A report on gold mining in Upper West Ghana
Social Cartography: opportunities for social movements, activism and resistance in South Africa and Zimbabwe
Achievements of the Global Day Against Mega Mining
Fatal Extraction: Australian Mining in Africa
Ibutho Coal must leave us alone

Ibutho Coal must leave us alone

On Kenya’s Coast, a Struggle for the Sacred
Mining on Top Africa: London Summit Disrupted
Africa-UK Civil Society Letter to the Mining on Top Africa: London Summit
Case Studies: Is Mining really ‘on top’ in Africa?
Corporate Social Investment in South Africa: A view from the inside
PRESS RELEASE: African Civil Society Challenges London Mining Conference
The Community Speaks: Coal Mining in the Tete Province

The Community Speaks: Coal Mining in the Tete Province

  • Written on: 25 June 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Communities of South Africa’s Wild Coast: Stop forced mining on our sacred beaches!
South Africa: Fuleni communities tell Ibutho Coal to leave and never return!
Support the Maputo Declaration on Climate Justice!
Women‘s Perspectives on the Impact of Mining on the Right to Food
Conservation Refugees – Expelled from Paradise

Conservation Refugees – Expelled from Paradise

  • Written on: 08 April 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
A Healthy Relationship? Wellcome Trust’s refusal to cut ties with fossil fuel industry is unacceptable
In Pictures – Yes to Life No to Mining raises the voice of African civil society against the extractives
Let them eat carbon! The corporate plan to cook Africa in its own fossil fuels
African civil society and global allies challenge Chatham House conference on ‘Extractive Industries in Africa’
Divestment, in Solidarity: NAPE Uganda reach out to London’s divestment campaigners
Mining Our Roots

Mining Our Roots

  • Written on: 19 January 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Nnimmo Bassey says #YestoLifeNotoMining

Nnimmo Bassey says #YestoLifeNotoMining

  • Written on: 11 December 2014
  • Posted under: Videos
Ghana’s Upper West Coalition on Mining, Food, Water and Sacred Sites calls President to halt Mining activities in Upper West Region
United in resistance – Letters spark solidarity across continents
Save the Lower Zambezi Campaign

Save the Lower Zambezi Campaign

  • Written on: 10 November 2014
  • Posted under: Campaigns
Gold Rush: Protecting Sacred Groves in Ghana’s Upper West region
Ugandan Communities Resist Oil and Gas Extraction in Bunyoro Kingdom
Sierra Leone’s Mining Boom and Human Rights
War and the Militarisation of Mining in Eastern Congo
Drillers in the Mist: Soco International in Virunga National Park
The Impact of Mining on Human Rights in Uganda
Mining and its Impacts on Water, Food Sovereignty and Sacred National Sites in Uganda
South Africa’s Rainmakers Fight Against Coal

South Africa’s Rainmakers Fight Against Coal

Sacred Voices – A film and a message for the world

Start a Conversation. Share Words of Solidarity.

This website is about building a movement. We can only build a movement when we connect with one another. We invite you to do just that…

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *