President Cyril Ramaphosa. File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)
President Cyril Ramaphosa. File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - Activists around the world will call on South African President Ramaphosa to protect the safety of activist Nonhle Mbuthuma and the Amadiba community, who are at risk of attack for their work in defending their ancestral land against mining companies, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

The Amadiba community in Eastern Cape province has campaigned for over a decade to stop an Australian company from extracting £140 million worth of titanium, zircon and titanium from its ancestral land, the global rights group said.

"Members of the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC), a community group organised to unite people across five villages to defend their land rights, have been threatened, attacked and even killed for their efforts to protect their land," it said.

"In March 2016, Amadiba community member Sikhosiphi ‘Bazooka’ Radebe was shot dead by two men claiming to be police officers. Nonhle Mbuthuma, a leader of the ACC, now fears for her life."

It said people from around the world – including the United Kingdom, Kenya, Australia, Canada and the United States, would stage protests and post messages on Twitter urging Ramaphosa to act.

"The South African government must put people before profit and uphold the legal right of indigenous communities to decide the fate of their home," , Amnesty International campaigns coordinator Emily Butler said.

"Activists across the world will be calling upon President Ramaphosa to protect Nonhle and we hope that he puts human rights before business interests.”

Amnesty activists would gather outside the South African High Commission in London in support of Mbuthuma and hand in a letter addressed to the High Commissioner, the rights group added.

- African News Agency (ANA)