Jubilee South Africa press release
Platinum industry vs Spoor and affected communities
7 August 2006
Jubilee South Africa would like to register its wholehearted support for
the communities ravaged by the platinum industry who are fighting the
injustices imposed on them, and for their lawyer, Richard Spoor, who has
proven his willingness to speak truth to power.
In typical arrogant fashion, Anglo Platinum and Potgietersrus Platinum
Mines took Spoor to court in an effort to silence him, but the Judge
refused on Friday to award an interim gagging order.
The platinum industry is indeed deserving of Spoor's criticisms for the
ruthless way in which the companies have destroyed the environment and
shattered the lives of the people and communities that stand in their
The platinum industry has left a wasteland in the wake of its mining
activities around the Rustenburg area in the North West province, with
poisoned water points, cracked houses and sinking gravesites.
Communities are struggling to eke out an increasingly tenuous existence
in the face of the everpresent drone of the mine ventilation shafts.
The damage caused is being replicated in the platinum belt stretching
from west to east across Limpopo province and through some of the most
densely populated areas of the province. In some instances, mining
operations in and amongst communities are also interfering with water
systems, causing subsidence and damaging houses. In others, communities
are forcibly removed, as in the case of the Ga Pila community, uprooted
to a rural area far from town and from employment opportunities.
The platinum companies are not satisfied with the damage done in South
Africa and are already active in Zimbabwe, with every intention of
expanding their activities there.
They have been allowed to operate unhindered by the mainstream media,
which largely turns a blind eye to the practices that any self-
respecting media person should surely feel obliged to expose.
They have been encouraged and supported by the government, in direct
violation of its duty to protect the citizens of this country, including
those living on platinum-rich land.
Government has been complicit in forcing people off the land, as in the
case of the Ga Pila community. A large dam, the de Hoop dam, is being
built to service the platinum industry, and will cause serious harm to
the Olifants River and the communities dependent on its water in both
South Africa and Mozambique. Government policy on Zimbabwe is determined
in no small measure by the interests of the mining companies.
In a climate in which the platinum industry operates with increasing
impunity, it is not surprising that the platinum companies are
responding so arrogantly to Richard Spoor for exposing the damage they
are causing. They seem to believe they have the right to keep reality
from view and, in so doing deny Spoor and the affected communities their
right to express themselves. They further seem to have expected the
legal system to comply in the manner of the media and government.
It is for these reasons that Jubilee is expressing its support for Spoor
and the communities affected by the industry. This support goes beyond
the current court case. Jubilee will work with the communities towards
exposing the truth and fighting for the reparations that these
communities are entitled to.
For further information, contact:
011 648 7000, 076 736 0005
046 624 2557, 082 350 0361
w +27 (0)11 403 4858
h +27 (0)11 648 7000
Long Live the Stuggle to Save the Olifants River. Long Live!
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