Mine Security Companies a Law Unto Themselves
Attacks by mining security companies on community members and others are natural phenomena in South Africa, as witnessed first-hand by a team from the Bench Marks Foundation earlier this month while doing research for its latest report on Coal of Africa’s (CoAL) Makhado mine in South Africa’s Limpopo Province. The team, led by the organisation’s lead researcher, David van Wyk, together with researchers from Switzerland, were attacked by the mine’s security after a visit to the neighbouring community. “We were on a public road,” said van Wyk. “We weren’t trespassing and we certainly weren’t doing anything that could have warranted interference by the security. “They were hostile and threatened us verbally and were quite physical. They kept telling us we are breaking rules and laws and couldn’t tell us exactly what the law was they were referring to...” Van Wyk says that this is normal behaviour given Bench Marks' experience in speaking to community members, not only of this mine, but from many of the other mines the organisation has involved with.