Following the murder of Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe last month for his opposition to mining in the Wild Coast region of South Africa, the radio discussion show Talking Africa held an episode on the incident, as well as on issues around mining, violence and community-engagement in the context of African development. The entirety of the show can be listened to below.
The show featured the input of environmental and human rights advocate Sifiso Dladla, who has worked alongside members of the Amadiba Crisis Committee and also in supporting the Fuleni community’s opposition to a coal mine in KwaZulu-Natal.
Regular commentators on the show gave valuable input and responded to the story and issue with several notable points.
Joseph Ochieno – Ugandan political commentator
Joseph compared the atrocity and murder of Bazooka, as well as the surrounding violence and intimidation, to the violence and intimidation that affected and affects the Ogoni people of Nigeria, which included the murder of author Ken Saro-Wiwa. He expressed great shock and disappointment that these kind of brutal and repressive activities are occurring in South Africa, the state which should be the ‘father’ of African development. He went on to say that this kind of violence and undemocratic bulldozing of community rights is causing his respect for the South African government and model of development to ‘sink substantially’.
Dorcas Gwata – African affairs analyst
Dorcas was less shocked but equally disappointed, drawing parallels between the events in Amadiba to what occurs in her native Zimbabwe – lamenting that few lessons seem to have been learned since the Marikana Massacre in 2012. She drew out some of the women’s issues around violence and mining, such as having to give birth in secret locations to avoid violence. Reflecting on the involvement and turning a blind eye of the South African government, she stated that ‘as an African woman, I am disappointed.’
Dr. Sheriff Alabi – Consultant with the African Dev Bank
Dr Sheriff expressed his ‘severe’ disappointment in South Africa. The regional and federal bodies should not be ceding authority to the companies which can then exercise violent and untrammeled power over the community to get its way. If South Africa is not acting he urged the African Union to step in and hold both the government and Mineral Resources Limited accountable.