Black First Land First (BLF) is saddened by the death of the more than 29 Zama Zama miners killed in an underground explosion in the Eland Shaft Mine last week. We offer our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the departed.
We note how the white media has reported the deaths as those of illegal miners coming mainly from Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Here we see the anti blackness of white supremacy in its dismissal of those who cannot vote in parliamentary elections to maintain the racist capitalist status quo.
The death toll of Zama Zamas is tragic and unacceptable. A reflection indicates that in June 2009, 91 Zama Zamas died when a fire broke out underground in the same Eland Shaft Mine . Moreover, from 2012 to 2015, approximately 312 miners were killed while conducting their work. This includes 86 miners who died in the Harmony Gold mine in 2012, 29 miners who were killed in various mine shafts in early September 2015, and five more miners who were found dead outside the Grootvlei mine in Gauteng. The deaths last week of over 29 Zama Zamas in Eland Shaft mine in Welkom, adds to the already huge death toll. The white monopoly capitalist mining houses, such as Harmony Gold, who have been hellbent on eliminating the Zama Zamas instead of recognizing them, are in fact responsible for all these deaths. It must be stated that the Eland Shaft mine was previously owned by the Harmony Gold company.
Mining which is generally unsafe for miners – due to methods characterized by racialised and colonized mining, as well as the fact that gold mines in this country are the deepest and the most dangerous internationally – is compounded for the Zama Zamas who are forced to use explosives to blast rocks in order to extract the gold, without any safety, health and communications measures in place.
Furthermore many Zama Zamas have died as a result of police and private security brutality as well as other forms of dehumanization (unleashed by the white mining houses) such as landlessness, inadequate housing and lack of sanitation.
BLF condemns the criminalization by white monopoly capital of mining conducted by the Zama Zamas. We reiterate that the Zama Zamas are the only politically legitimate miners in South Africa (SA). We call for an end to the over 150 years of racialised and colonized mining that serves to perpetuate slavery. This situation will continue unless the root cause of the problem, being white monopoly capital which in turn is the practical operation of white supremacy, is destroyed.
A BLF delegation has been deployed to the Welkom area today to, amongst other things, render assistance to the families of the deceased in particular and to the Zama Zama community in general. BLF stands in solidarity with the cause of the Zama Zamas.
BLF calls for the following:
– reparations to the families of the Zama Zamas killed in the Eland Shaft Mine
– Zama Zamas to get legal standing and recognition;
– Zama Zamas to be regularized
– Zama Zamas to get the necessary subsidization, and;
– Zama Zamas to get the necessary health, safety, communications and security protection.
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT (BLF NCC)
20 May 2017
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(Deputy National Spokesperson)
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