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18 Jun 2024

Ihsaan Haffejee, Ground Up (S. Africa)

S. Africa: Protesters stage performances outside the mining companies’ offices showing how they and their communities are affected by mining

'Youth take to their bicycles to protest against mining companies’ 18 June 2024

On Youth Day on Sunday, the youth wing of Mining Affected Communities in Action (MACUA) staged an unusual protest. They hopped on bicycles and cycled to various mining companies in Johannesburg to voice grievances about the conduct of the companies and to raise public awareness of their communities’ plight. Bongani Jonas, the national coordinator of Youth Affected by Mining United in Action (YAMUA,) said mining companies exploit their communities and pollute their environments. “With this bike ride we will be taking the protest to the doorsteps of these companies. The CEOs are not based in our communities, seeing the effects of their mining activities, they are here in the suburbs,” said Jonas.

The protesters on bikes made their way on a “Toxic Tour” to the head offices of various mining houses, including Anglo American, De Beers, Seriti, South32 and Glencore. “The number one issue for youth in these communities is unemployment. These companies don’t hire young people from the areas which they are exploiting. There is no transfer of skills. There needs to be a fundamental shift in the way the mining and extractive sector operates,” said Jonas. Protesters staged performances outside the mining companies’ offices showing how they and their communities are affected by mining.

“The mines are saying that they are building a better future for us but they are shutting us out, so we are here today to make our voices heard,” said Sifundo Zungu, a young protester from a community near the mining town of Carletonville. Organisers said they want greater accountability from mining companies about environmental degradation and climate change. “The world is in crisis now with climate change so we need to be given an opportunity to advocate our own issues and for us to lead our own struggles,” said Jonas.