South Africa: Marikana report; TB; HIV; and campaigns

Friday, 29 May, 2015

A couple of South Africa-oriented pieces here. First up, we learn from Jacob Zuma that the moment we all - well, some of us - have been waiting for is shortly to come. “Jacob Zuma: Marikana mine massacre report to be released by end of June.” 

“Zuma told parliament on Tuesday: “I know and appreciate the anxiety of those who are affected. However, it would be inappropriate for me to just release the report without applying my mind sufficiently.”

Well, good. 

Secondly, elsewhere in the increasingly resources-oriented Guardian, the ‘ugly face of mining in South Africa’; a yin perhaps to the yang talk of sustainability and communities and all the rest of it we were so pleased to find in Cape Town at the start of the year (with the obvious confounder being the fact we picked our own sessions).

This is more on a theme that’s set to run for a while as the Guardian pushes its “Keep it in the Ground” fossil fuel divestment campaign, with the main targets appearing to be the Wellcome trust and the Gates Foundation. These links could fill the pages of CSR21 for weeks, but perhaps just go here and have a look for yourself. It’s a string campaign.

In the SA piece, writers David Smith and Damian Carrington make the case, as elsewhere, that:

“...two of the greatest philanthropic organisations in the world, responsible for saving countless lives through scientific research and healthcare programmes, are heavily invested in fossil fuel industries that have profound impacts on the health of local communities and cause climate change. Nowhere is this paradox more acute than in South Africa, a country with the biggest HIV caseload in the world and an economy founded on mining.”

It’s a well-written piece that also touches on the well-known mine-related public health issues of HIV and tuberculosis, serious enough problems even before the environmental campaign enters the picture.

Whatever your stance on the divestment campaign (and your correspondent is of the opinion that we really ought to be thinking beyond 50 odd years forward), this piece - and indeed the rest of the sub site, if you want to bring yourself up to speed on what we reckon is the coming storm - is well worth a read.