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The start of the silicosis class action case. Court room packed. Standing room only. Will the hundreds of thousands of mine workers whose productive working life was halved by respiratory diseases contracted from underground operations finally see the promise of Justice?

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The community driven project ´bridgingMzamba` originated in the urgent need of surrounding inhabitants for a safe crossing of the river and included design and implementation of the suspension bridge in a collaborative manner.

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If I can be a bit self indulgent, this week is a very big week for me, because of a big contest that takes place. No, not the contest between the RWC clash between the Boks and the USA on Wednesday but the contest between Sanral CEO Nazir Alli and Sinegugu Zukulu that takes place in the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Moeletsi Mbeki believes that the unemployed masses of South Africa are more vulnerable than other African countries because “we don’t have the cushion of peasant agriculture like other regional economies”. Well, the Amadiba community on the Pondoland Wild Coast does, but that cushion will inevitably be lost if the Executive Chair of MRC Ltd Mark Caruso’s ambition to turn the Xolobeni Mineral Sands into his “company maker” is realised. Behind the recent conflict between pro and anti-mining groupings lies a long term strategy to ‘tame’ the Wild Coast to the crude other-worldly logic of commercial fundamentalism. The mine would only last 25 years before the Perth mining entrepreneur moves on to plunder the next available mineral resource in the name of "development", while the Amadiba will be left with a “hole in the ground, owned by an optimist, operated by a fool and inevitably followed by a lawsuit”, to paraphrase Mark Twain’s famous definition of a mine.

About John GI Clarke

John Clarke hopes to write the wrongs of the world, informed by his experience as a social worker and theologian, to actualise fundamental human rights and satisfy fundamental human needs.  He has lived in the urbanised concentration of Johannesburg, but has worked mainly in the rural reaches of the Wild Coast for the past decade.  From having paid a fortune in toll fees he believes he has earned the right to be critical of Sanral and other extractive institutions, and has not held back while supporting Sustaining the Wild Coast (www.swc.org.za), the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (www.safcei.org.za) and the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (www.outa.co.za), in various ways.

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