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EXPLOITATION OF CONGO MINES: Protests Expected At Cape Town Mining Indaba As Pres. Tshisekedi Hints At Showing Up

Congolese in Cape Town have mobilized to have their voices heard over the exploitation of minerals that has plunged the country into civil strife.

As reports circulate that President Felix Tshisekedi will attend the Investing In African Mining Indaba scheduled for February 6 to 9, 2023, Congolese people residing in Cape Town believe this is an opportune time to send a strong message to the leadership in and outside the country to move expeditiously and end the exploitation of minerals in the vast Central African nation.

Most Congolese residents in Cape Town resettled there as refugees due to the continued wars that have beset the DRC.

The community believe a strong and decisive leadership that put people’s interest first has a better shot at negotiating reasonable and meaningful mining contracts that will ultimately benefit the population.

The Congolese community believe the existing mining agreements across the country have been designed to benefit a few corrupt individuals while the majority of the over 80 million population remain in abject poverty.

Fighting in the eastern parts of the Congo has intensified while the upcoming elections have increased tension in various parts of the country.

“For example, the mining companies in our country have paid taxes to the government for three years. And those millions they think is a lot of money is nothing compared to the value of the material they are getting.

“To them, paying taxes is enough and they look away. To us, our lives matters, the lives of our people matter, the roads, social services, health care and other amenities are critical to our sustaining the decency of where we live. We want to bring this message to them so they understand the extent to which our lives are affected by the exploitation of our mines,” one of the organizers who sought not to be identified said.

“We have to be in Cape Town and show Tshisekedi that we are serious about our demands to have a free, fair, transparent and inclusive election. We also want to to show Tshisekedi that we are not happy with what is happening to our people in the eastern Congo; many lives are being lost and people being displaced.”

The demonstrators want the mining community and other players to show concern to the plight of the Congolese population.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa is expected to speak at the conference although the organizers have not shown a slot for President Tshisekedi.

According to the strategic and communication team, President Ramaphosa has confirmed his attendance at the Mining Indaba from February 6 to 9, 2023 in Cape Town where he will deliver a Keynote Address.

President Ramaphosa’s Keynote Address will be delivered on Tuesday, 7 February.

The head of State will be accompanied by eight ministers and three deputy ministers.

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, and his Deputy Dr Nobuhle Nkabane; Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana and his Deputy Dr David Masondo; Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel; Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele and his Deputy Thembi Siweya will all be prsent.

Other South African high ranking officials attending the indaba are Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza; Minister of Forestry and Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy; Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande and Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi.

“The President’s participation in Investing in African Mining Indaba, where he will address mining industry leaders and investors from all over the world, is expected to put his investment and structural reform agenda forward as key to improving South Africa’s standing as a mining investment destination.

“Critical to this will be the commitment to finding lasting solutions to the power challenges crippling the South African economy and the move to green energy. President Ramaphosa recently unveiled an R1.5 trillion five-year investment plan to bolster the country’s just transition to a greener economy,” a statement from the organizers.

The United States of America, Ghana, Zambia, England, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria and Kenya will be among those represented at the annual gathering.

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