During the apartheid era “Yonke Indawo Umzabalazo Uya Phumelela” was one of the struggle songs sung by our forefathers and parents when demonstrating against the opression they were facing. 20 years in democracy we still sing this struggle song. The community of Chaneng situated north of Rustenburg, one of the Royal Bafokeng Nation 29 villages under leadership of Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi, and forms part of Rustenburg Local municipality ward 2. This community is surrounded by several mining activities of well-known companies. The youth and elders of the community have been singing this song when defending their land, environment, human rights and demanding development.
The community has turned into protest hotspot since 2009 when one of RBPlats mine shaft called Styldrift started operating in Chaneng without community consultation, were youth of Chaneng expressed their frustration by protesting and 13 youth were arrested, and one of the arrested was the current RBN tribal councillor Mr Masilo. Again in 2011the of Chaneng youth with support from Kgotla applied for the march against the Stlydrift project, Rosond and Geoserve infill drillings that was approved and lasted for 3 working days, it started from the 5th till 7th of September. This community gained momentum daily and disturbed the Styldrift project production severely. These protest had Mr Paul Sebego the MEC of Local Government and Traditional Affairs on Chaneng soil to come address thesituation.in 2012 there was another protest addressing unemployment as Stlydrift shaft was hiring and not giving Bachana first priority.
That was not the end; in 2013 the youth of Chaneng protested against the illegal infill drillings found in village without consultation and 6 were arrested by mine police and handed over to SAPS they slept one night behind holding and their case was close with conditions. These did not stop the protest, youth accompanied the village chief Mr Seotshoane to the drillings to tell them to stop. These caused a stir in the village. On Human rights day youth was still demonstrating and blocking roads disabling any movements in the village, and 6 females were arrested after the police shot them with rubber bullets and exposed them to tear gas, they were detained for seven days without bail and medical attention. They are now out on bail and still appearing court with their case being postponed on each appearance.
(Picketing that ended up in a protest mid-March 2013, in front of Styldritf shaft)
(Protest on Human Rights day that had six young females arrested)
These are some priority demands of the Chaneng community.
– Compensation for the Stlydrift JQ 90 farm land.
– Equity share holding.
– Proper consultation.
– Rebuilt of cracked houses.
– Proper mine employees accommodation.
– Local employment prioritised
– Local SMME’s recognition.
– Educational and skills development programmes.
– Community development.
– Proper plans/measures to avoid pollution to water, air and no environmental distraction.
One question was posed by one of the previous monitors Tsholofelo Raphata in her short report “Chaneng strikes, who benefits?” is it the interested party or affected party who benefit from the community struggle? Our community fights and never reaps the fruits of their struggle. We fight for employment and locals are not hired on permanent positions only contractual, when huge contracts are out local SMME are only given sub-contracts.
When defending our land and human rights the same police force meant to protect us comes and do what they shown to do best at Marikana in 2012 and gun us down with rubber bullets to despise us and arrest some. In the South African constitution section 17 of the bill of rights it states that we can practise our right to assemble, demonstrate, picket and present petitions as long as we are unarmed and behave in a peaceful manner.
by Tshepang Molale (Chaneng)