Transnational corporations are running rampant across the world, and particularly in Africa, to extract natural resources through mining, intensive agriculture, large-scale fishing, or the expansion of oil and gas operations. All of this in the name of progress, development and very enticing promises of riches for the country.
This extractivist capitalist model results in the over-exploitation of natural resources have devastated and degraded huge land areas; toxified water sources; intensified climate breakdown; decimated wildlife, fish populations and living systems; and in many cases have displaced or destroyed numerous indigenous communities. In most instances around the world, the destructive impact of these activities affect women and poor communities the most.
In this context the Southern African Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power welcomes Judge Annali Basson from the Pretoria High Court, ruling declaring that the Department of Mineral Resources must obtain full and formal consent from the Xolobeni community, as the holder of rights on land, prior to granting any mining rights to TEM (Transworld Energy and Minerals)
ACC hold informal rights as defined by the IPILRA (Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights) and that they occupy their land in accordance with their law and custom. An Australian mining company wants to mine the titanium-rich sands in Xolobeni. The ACC has been fighting against TEM from mining on their ancestral land. Moreover, the community strongly opposes the proposed mining in the area because of fear of the disastrous social, economic and ecological consequences of mining.
The ACC maintains that communities be empowered to determine whether mining should take place on their land, and demand that communities have free, prior and informed consent before mining activities may occur on community land.
For this reason, the High Court Ruling that ACC has the right to decide what happens on their land, and that they may not be deprived of their land without the communities consent. This is a landmark ruling that sets a precedent for all other communities fighting against mining on their land.
Representatives from the ACC attended the 3rd and final session of the Peoples Permanent Tribunal on Transnational Corporations held in Johannesburg (9-11 November), where they presented an update on their struggle and reaffirmed their commitment to pursuing every avenue of justice in their decades-long efforts to claim their rights. They, along with countless communities around the world are engaged in resistance against this destructive development paradigm.
We, as the campaign welcome this ruling as a momentous victory for the people of Xolobeni and the thousands of other communities that are waging the same war against corporate impunity. While the struggle continues, the campaign and allies stand in solidarity with ACC in celebrating this giant step forward.