Still no justice for ‘Bazooka’

20 March 2017 - 09:33
Sikhosiphi ‘Bazooka’ Radebe, chairman of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, speaking with members of the community in Xolobeni
Image: ROGAN WARD Sikhosiphi ‘Bazooka’ Radebe, chairman of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, speaking with members of the community in Xolobeni

No arrests a year after anti-mining activist’s murder.

Barely a month after the burial of slain anti-mining activist Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Radebe in March last year, there was an assassination attempt on his widow.

  • Obituary: 'Bazooka' Radebe, defied politicians who backed mining of pristine dunesSikhosiphi "Bazooka" Radebe, who has died in an apparent assassination in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape at the age of 51, was the leader of a fiercely fought campaign to stop an Australian company and its local BEE partner from mining along a pristine stretch of the Pondoland Wild Coast.

This was revealed by Nolulama Radebe, 50, ahead of the one-year commemoration of her husband’s death on Human Rights Day.

No one has been arrested in connection with his killing, despite the Hawks saying that they were following several leads.

Nolulama recalled the evening she was targeted, saying she was sitting outside with two children at her homestead at KwaMadiba village in Bizana, Eastern Cape, when shots were fired at her.

  • Xolobeni rocked by more violenceVillagers opposed to mining in a pristine dune belt in Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape yesterday vowed to intensify their fight against an Australian company's plans to mine ilmenite in the area.

“We ran into the passage and called my husband’s brother. But we couldn’t see the people who were trying to shoot us because it was at night. “I don’t know why they wanted to kill me,” she said.

On March 22 last year, the same day her husband revealed that his name was on top of a hit list of opponents to proposed sand-dune mining near Xolobeni, on the Wild Coast, he was gunned down in front of his 15-year-old son by two men posing as police officers.

A month before, Radebe, who was the chairman of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, a body representing the residents of Xolobeni, had received a chilling phone call.

“You think you are the Goliath of the Amadiba people, but even Goliath died.” Nolulama, a local primary school teacher, said the family has not heard from the Hawks since her husband’s burial.

Tomorrow, the Xolobeni community will hold a commemoration service to honour Radebe and other leaders who died during the Amadiba community’s 15-year struggle against an Australian comp a ny ’s plan to mine ilmenite in Xolobeni. Since Radebe’s murder, committee members have been assigned b o dyg u a r d s .

Four months after his killing, the Australian Securities Exchangelisted company Mineral Commodities said it was pulling out of the mining project, stating violence and threats to the peace and harmony of the Xolobeni community had prompted it to enter into an agreement with its BEE partner, Keysha Investments, for the sale of its share of the operation.

But Mineral Commodities has not yet divested from Xolobeni. Johan Lorenzen, a candidate lawyer at Richard Spoor Attorneys, which represents the c o m m u n i ty together with the Legal Resources Centre, said the community strongly believed that Mineral Commodities will continue to play a central role.

In September, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane placed an 18-month moratorium on Mineral Commodities’ application to mine at Xolobeni because of the social and political situation.

 The Amadiba community has lodged a high court application in opposition to mining in the area.