Shock as Wild Coast anti-mining activist is gunned down
The Mdatya Village in Amadiba, Eastern Cape were shocked by the murder on Tuesday of Sikhosipho Bazooka Rhadebe, the chairman of the Amadiba Crisis Committee.
He was killed in front of his house on the 22 of March. It is alleged that the killing is linked to the ongoing struggle against mining on the Wild Coast.
The wild coast in the Eastern Cape has been faced with conflict emanating from a sand mining dispute, “…when it emerged that an Australian company had been granted rights to strip-mine a 22km stretch of the Wild Coast, despite concerns over the initial consultation process and environmental concerns.” (Tourism Update, 2015)
In this area the conflict is amongst the residents, business and government because of a Perth-based mining entrepreneur who opened up a mining venture. Mineral Sand project owned by Mark Victor Caruso, extracts Ilmenite at the ochre red dunes that can be seen in the Xolobeni area.
A press statement written by the committee said that Mr Rhadebe had been the pillar of the community as he made the ultimate sacrifice to defend their ancestral land.
Supporting the community of Amadiba, Masifundise’s Mandla Gqamlana said “It cannot be accepted that multinational conglomerates’ interest are pursued at the expense of dedicated and selfless leaders like Comrade Bazooka. As Coastal Links and Masifundise we add our voice and support condemning this senseless and barbaric killing.”
Read the Amadiba Crisis Committee statement here:
Amadiba Crisis Committee 2016-03 22: Our chairman brutally murdered outside his house.
We are shocked to tell the public that the chairman of Amadiba Crisis Committee, Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe from Mdatya village in Amadiba, was brutally assassinated tonight outside his house in Lurholweni township, Amadiba area, Mbizana.
Our beloved Bazooka made the ultimate sacrifice defending our ancestral land of Amadiba on the Wild Coast.
He was murdered at about 7.30 in the evening. The hitmen came in a white Polo with a rotating blue lamp on the roof. Two men knocked at the door saying they were the police. Mr Rhadebe was shot with eight bullets in the head. He died defending his young son, who witnessed the murder. His son and his wife are now in hospital.
After one year of threats and attacks, we have been waiting for something like this to happen: Ever since the shootings in Xolobeni 3 May last year and ever since the Christmas shootings in Mdatya village. But since the four gangsters from the Christmas shootings were released on bail in January, police have been intimidating the Amadiba community and leaders in nightly raids, determined to look in the wrong direction. For one year the local police have refused to cooperate with the Umgungundlovu traditional authority of the coastal Amadiba area to stop the violence against our community which says no to mining.
The Australian mining company MRC and all the criminals in high positions who are eager to cut their piece of our land and fill their pockets with blood money, shall know this:
The Amadiba coastal community will not be intimidated into submission.
We appeal to democratic South Africans to support our community and stand by us in this terrible moment.
Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC):
Mzamo Dlamini 072 194 0949; Nonhle Mbuthuma 076 3592982
The Umgungundlovu Traditional Authority and the ACC are represented by Richard Spoor Inc. in Johannesburg and LRC in Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg. For legal issues in the coastal Amadiba community struggle against mining: Henk Smith 0832661770, Thabiso Mbhense 0711099340 and Richard Spoor 0836271722.