On Friday 12 May 2017 the Northern Cape High Court delivered judgement in an appeal brought before it on behalf of some 842 artisanal miners against an eviction order previously obtained by the South African Sweden Housing Company. The appeal was upheld and the eviction order set aside on the basis of no clear right to the property being established by the said South African Sweden Housing Company. While the eviction order related to the evacuation of 842 Zama Zamas, the number of artisanal miners actually affected is about 8000.
This is a huge victory for the miners who have constituted themselves as the Kimberley Artisanal Mine Workers (Zama Zamas) and have been engaged in a struggle against racialized and colonised mining as well as for land and housing.
As a precursor to the Northern Cape High Court case, the Zama Zamas marched to the HAWKS on Wednesday and instituted criminal proceedings against the relevant mining houses. To this end a case was opened against Ekapa Minerals (Pty) Ltd, Crown Resources (Pty) Ltd, Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture, and Super Stone Mining (Pty) Ltd for illegally mining without the relevant mining permits in certain areas in Kimberley including Kenilworth, Samaria, Greenpoint, and Greenside They also demanded that the same parties be brought to book on charges of theft of the mining equipment belonging to the Chaiperson of the Kimberley Artisanal Mine Workers, Lucky Seekoei, and 5 others. The Zama Zamas were joined in solidarity action by the BLF, unemployed people, the Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) and civil society organisations.
Proceeding from the HAWKS they marched to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and Economic Affairs where they handed over a memorandum of demands which included an end to all evictions, interdicts on mining, police and private security violence, as well as to be regularized; to get the necessary subsidization; and to be given legal recognition for operations over the floors.
BLF applauds the resilience of the Zama Zamas in their just struggle, including to work and trade and for land, against the white monopolistic mining houses. Irrespective of any court or other action to remove them, the guide to action for the artisanal miners is that all the land in South Africa, including the minerals beneath and on it, belongs to black people and not to the white criminal mining houses.
The Zama Zamas are not going anywhere else – their right to work and trade and to the land is supreme!
Issued by the National Coordinating Committee of Black First Land First (BLF NCC)
14 May 2017
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