VVVT NAMAKWALAND MARCH FOR THEIR RIGHT TO SAY NO!
The Vrywillige, Vooraf en Voordurende Ingeligte Toestemming (Free, Prior and Informed Consent) or VVVT Namakwaland is a social movement in Northern Cape, South Africa that brings together activists and community members from various towns and villages across Namaqualand. These communities share a long and painful history of land dispossession, which started in the late 1800s, and the continued illegal opens in a new windowextraction of natural resources, such as copper, on their communal land. Mining rights to their land have been granted to opens in a new windowmining companies by different levels of government for decades without their consent. These resources have been exploited for with the riches enjoyed by opens in a new windowmining directors and shareholders, while community members have been reduced to menial and low paid workers on their land. The communities, who have lived in communion with the land for generations, have received little or no benefit from the wealth that is theirs.
To confront the impositions of government and mining companies, VVVT Namakwaland, with community members from the towns of Concordia, Nababeep, Pella, Port Nolloth, Komaggas, Hondeklipbaai, Alexanderbaai, Sanddrift, Kuboes, Spoegrivier, Kharkams and Steinkopf will march to the Nama Khoi District Municipality. Here, representatives from local government as well as national government departments including the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DALRRD), will receive their memorandum.
“It has always been our land. Our community never benefited. The day the mines closed, we were left with nothing,”. – Arthur Cloete, Concordia Communal Property Association
Communities are fed up with the failed promises of government and mining companies. Hundreds of millions of rands have been extracted out of South Africa, whilst communities still lack basic services such as water, electricity, and primary healthcare, all enshrined in our Constitution. Ailing infrastructure like roads are pitted with potholes caused by trucks transporting vast amounts of copper through towns.
Companies like Alexkor, a state diamond opens in a new windowmining company, which has profited for decades from the resources of the Richtersveld people, owe the community almost R190 million. Despite the vast wealth of their land and its minerals, the Richtersveld is one of the poorest areas in South Africa. When the commodity price of copper dropped in the 1990s, some of the biggest copper opens in a new windowmining companies closed leaving communities in the Namaqualand without jobs and once thriving towns became ghost towns.
The Hydrogen Society Roadmap for South Africa 2021 designates Boegoebaai in the Richtersveld as the primary site for green hydrogen production and states that it will deploy 240 000 hectares of well-irradiated, well-positioned, community-owned land for renewable energy use to power the green hydrogen plant. This land is owned by the community, yet they have not been sufficiently consulted and have not given their consent for thousands of hectares of communal land to be used by the government for green hydrogen production. They have offered to lease the communities land at R3 per hectare per year for 170 000 hectares, way below market value.
As the applications and development plans continue to bombard our communities, we will continue to demand that we MUST be consulted and our RIGHT OF CONSENT over our communal land and natural resources must be fully respected by government and corporations. As indigenous communities of the Namaqualand we are not against ‘development’, but we want to determine what that development looks like in our communities, and how it benefits us. WE will say NO to any developments which undermine our land rights, threaten our natural resources, and destroy our families and communities.
Issued by VVVT (Vrywillige,Vooraf en Voordurende Ingeligte Toestemming) Namakwaland.
The VVVT Namakwaland is a social movement bringing together activists and community members from across Namakwaland in the Northern Cape, to expose how our communities are affected by destructive exploitation of natural resources – ‘ opens in a new windowEXTRACTIVISM’ – and by top-down development plans that have no concern for the rights and needs of the communities.
For further enquiries contact:
Cell no: +27 072 151 3227