To Australian High Commission, South Africa.
From Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC)
Letter of Complaint and Concern. Violations of human rights, law, and democratic processes by Australian nationals and business interests in South Africa.
Dated. 30 March 2016
Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC), a registered not for profit organisation that works towards promoting locally driven, sustainable development options amongst rural communities along the Pondoland Wild Coast in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, wish to convey our extreme concern to the Australian High Commission in South Africa. Through the Australian Commission we expect this concern to be conveyed to the relevant Australian government authorities.
Our concern relates to the following; that in our opinion and experience Australian business interests and individuals are complicit in, and conducting, acts of unlawful and undemocratic intimidation, harassment, threats, and extreme violence against innocent, law abiding members of the South African public. Furthermore, that these acts are undermining peaceful democratic processes and the rule of law, and are key factors in heightened social tensions and conflicts in the Xolobeni area, Pondoland Wild Coast, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.
This letter, and our expressed concern, is driven by the recent murder, a suspected assassination, of popular community leader, anti-mining activist and Chairman of the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC), Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, who was gunned down outside his house in Lurholweni on the evening of Tues 22 March, 2016, in front of his family.
The ACC is a local community based organisation opposed to open cast dune mining in the Pondoland Xolobeni region by the Australian company Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC Ltd) and their South African subsidiary Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM) and local BEE empowerment company Xolco. MRC is a listed public company trading on the Australian Securities Exchange representing investors in the development of two proposed mines in South Africa (the Xolobeni and Tormin Mineral Sands projects). Mr.Mark Caruso, an Australian national, is MRC Executive Chairman. His brother, Patrick Caruso, is also a business partner in the enterprise and an Australian national.
We strongly believe this murder was the result of Rhadebe’s leadership of the ACC and the organisations strong anti-mining stance. On the day of his murder, Rhadebe was reported to have phoned a fellow colleague to inquire about her well-being as he had just learned from an informant that several names of prominent local anti-mining community leaders and activists, including his own, were apparently on a ‘hit list’ and hired thugs had been employed to assassinate them.
This latest unacceptable incident of extreme violence comes in the wake of over a decade of intimidation, harassment and disregard for human rights and basic democratic processes by MRC and its local Associates. These have previously been reported by Social Worker John Clarke, on behalf of ACC, in February 2013, to the Australian Federal Government in terms of the breach by MRC of the OECD guidelines, Australian National Contact Point for Multinational Enterprises Treasury at Langton Crescent. (see report at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ninnzlwdvo5sibh/AACoZbTPn_X0eyKbvit_FmZVa/R eport%20to%20Austrailian%20OECD%20contact%20point?dl=0 ).
Other reports about the matter to South African authorities can be viewed at
According to media reports, MRC have also contravened environmental, safety and labour regulations at their Tormin mine on South Africa’s West Coast. Both Mark Caruso and his business partner and brother Patrick are reported to have verbally threatened concerned citizens at meetings with bloodshed and violence. (see http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/stnews/2015/11/29/Aussie-company- threatens-biblical-smiting-in-ongoing-Cape-row)
SWC finds it abhorrent and totally unacceptable that Australian organisations and individuals are complicit in the undermining of democratic and human rights, and public threats of bloodshed against people and communities exercising their democratic rights in South Africa.
We call on the Australian government to urgently initiate an inquiry into MRC activities in South Africa.
Sustaining the Wild Coast, P O Box 23732, Claremont, 7735
Non-Profit Company. Reg. no 2007/012219/08 Registered Non-Profit Organisation 007-925 NPO 18A Status PBO number 930032405
Directors: S Heather (Chair), S Zukulu (Vice Chair), A Bennie (Secretary), M Pretorius, N Mazeka, V Payn, Dr. N King, K Davies
This photo story is dedicated to the memory of Jabulani Mboyi.
Visit Sustaining the Wild Coast’s website: http://www.swc.org.za