La Via Campesina Southern and Eastern Africa Solidarity Statement with the west and wild coastal communities in South Africa

(Morogoro, Tanzania: June 23, 2017) La Via Campesina is the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world, including 17 African nations. It defends small-scale sustainable peasant agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity based on food sovereignty.

For too many years, we have witnessed with deep pain the systematic plunder and destruction of our precious natural resources and the oppression of our people. We know that our African elites in the public and private sectors have been for many years colluding in corruption with the evil transnational corporations which today represent the new face of imperialist neo-colonialism. We are appalled by this and demand an immediate end to immoral and irresponsible behaviour of many of our leaders.

We would like to express our support to courageous efforts of our comrades in the West Coast and Wild Coast of South Africa, who are fighting against the Mineral Sands Resources, Mining Company, headquartered in Australia, who are destroying the South African coastlines, undermining the rights of the local indigenous peoples to use their own lands to sustain their livelihoods and identity. We denounce the heartless and dirty intimidation tactics, in the form of slap-suits against our comrades in the struggle to defend the rights of the affected communities. We further denounce the illegal efforts of this company to block the unionization of its workers.

We, peasants of the world articulated in La Via Campesina, stand in solidarity with the South African People in demanding that the South African Government recognize the rights of its people particularly indigenous peoples and small-scale farmers, to their freedom of speech, as well as their right to a healthy and clean environment. We further express solidarity with our comrades affected by the Marikana Massacre, and denounce the targeted assassinations of our community leaders, who give their lives to the protection of their communities and environment.

We encourage our African governments, and in particular the South African government to support and defend the rights of its indigenous and coastal communities, and support small-scale family farming, as the family is the basic unit of all social structures, and the key cornerstone to guarantee food sovereignty in Africa and the world.