Amadiba Crisis Committee 2019-03-22: Human Rights Day in Sigidi, Mbizana, gathered 1600
Some 1600 people attended a mass meeting yesterday in Sigidi village, Xolobeni area on the Wild Coast, to celebrate the Human Rights Day. They came to protest against violence directed against rural communities that defend their land and to support the Xolobeni ‘Right to Say NO’ Judgment from November, that Minister Mantashe and DMR have appealed. The meeting was held at the premises of Sigidi Primary School.
The village built the school itself in the 1980s without support from the government. Today Friday, 60-70 youth from Mdatya and Sigidi villages met up again to clean the premises, dry clean floors and scrub pots, putting all back to normal. As ACC, we salute the youth!
Headwoman Duduzile Baleni presided over the large event. Her Secretary, ‘Lolo’ Mhlengana greeted all welcome and opened the mass meeting.
In between speeches, a group of Sangomas held a ceremony, asking the ancestors for help in defending our ancestral land and get Justice for our late chair Bazooka Radebe and his family. He was killed by hit men three years ago today, on 22 March 2016. ACC holds that the investigation has been blocked.
28 organisations and community leaders with delegations from 7 provinces signed a Declaration of support for ACC and the right of directly affected land rights holders and the coastal Umgungundlovu community to ‘Free Prior and informed Consent’. The Judgement says that DMR cannot grant a license for the ‘Xolobeni Mining Project’ before the directly affected community gives consent in a customary law process.
Consequently, the Sigidi Declaration condemns Minister Mantashe’s ‘survey’ as a scam. ACC has reliable information that Mr Mantashe wants to ‘survey’ Mbizana wards up to 60-70km away from the coast. As ACC, we regard him as being in contempt of court. Indeed, facing the community on 16 January in Xolobeni, he ‘lost it’ and called the Judgement ‘bull shit’. He lies about the content of the Xolobeni Judgement every time he speaks of it in media.
ACC Spokesperson Nonhle Mbuthuma started her key note speech by leading the meeting in a new song “Gwede is trembling when he sees ‘the Crisis’ ”
ANC did not show up at the event to speak, but leaders and delegations from the political parties ATM, AZAPO and EFF came and were allowed to address the mass meeting. The Presidents of AZAPO and ATM, and the Regional Organiser of EFF expressed support for ACC, for the struggle of the coastal villages of Amadiba to choose the development they want and for the Xolobeni ‘Right to Say NO’ Judgment. They were applauded for this.
Beside 16 community delegations from afar, the rally was supported and attended by Alliance for Rural Development, AIDC, SWC, Bench Marks Foundation, Women in Mining (WOMIN), LARC, LAMOSA, TCOE, Amnesty International SA, Oxfam SA, amongst others.
The event was a demonstration of strength and resolve. To us as ACC, it marked the start of a Right to Say No information movement.
The South African Human Rights Commission attended the meeting with a delegation led by Commissioner Chris Nissen. He spoke about the importance of defending the rights won in 1994 and argued that rural communities like the Umgungundlovu on Wild Coast must demand and receive service delivery like others. This can today be regarded as a part of Human Rights in South Africa.
Local SAPS from the Mzamba station watched over security with ten officers led by Station Commander Lt Cln John . There were no incidents what so ever, only celebration.