STOP polluting the air we breathe and the water we drink, stop displacing people and making promises you don’t keep.
Find other development paths for Africa and stop profits streaming out of the continent.
These were some of the messages from a placard-carrying crowd of about 70 people, locals and foreigners, who staged a protest yesterday outside the Investing in African Mining Indaba at the Cape Town Convention Centre.
Wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan “Our Mineral Resources”, the group sang and made speeches through a loudhailer.
The group were from the three-day Alternative Mining Indaba held in the city, organised by the BenchMarks Foundation, the Economic Justice Network and Norwegian Church Aid.
Mutuso Dhliwayo, an organiser, said the group were not opposed to mining, but to the way it was carried out.
“We’re talking about the negative impacts of mining on the environment and on communities. Not everything about mining is good – the air is polluted, the water is polluted. And what kind of development will there be when they are gone?” Dhliwayo said.
Some, referring to Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu, chanted: “Come out, Minister Shabangu.”
Conference security staff stood in a line between the protesters and the entrance doors.
The crowd became angry when the chairman of the parliamentary committee on mineral resources was not on hand to accept their petition.
One of the leaders, Bishop Joe Seoka of Pretoria, said to conference security staff: “We want to deliver our petition and leave you in peace to plot and destroy and take your profits to Australia and Canada. Our children are dying of diseases because of polluted air and contaminated water.”
One policeman said to the security staff: “Please get them the person they want so they can deliver the petition. Otherwise things can go wrong and we have to deal with it.”
Janine Hills, head of communications for the indaba, came to accept the petition. Seoka asked that it be given to the chairmen of the indaba and parliamentary committee.