A mine linked to Adriano Mazzotti, the controversial businessman and associate of Julius Malema, has left a rural Limpopo community reeling from infighting and violent protests. The traditional leadership is accused of hijacking the community trust and striking a deal with the mining company. It's an all too common case of how permissive mining laws, disputes over customary law and the arrival of mining capital can create a toxic mix.
In the heat of a summer afternoon in Limpopo, a motley group of men cling to the shade of a broad tree. They've come to demand more money from the mining company they have provided security services to.
The "Thousand Madoda", as they are known - so called for supposedly accepting R1,000 each to act as the company's guards - have struck fear in the already divided community of Ga-Mphahlele. There, a clash over the mine has intersected with a historical leadership dispute around the chieftaincy, resulting in violent protests.
Dithabeng Mining, owned by tobacco baron Adriano Mazzotti and his associates, has been accused by some in the community of operating unlawfully, in cahoots with the chief, his mother and a faction of the traditional leadership.
Critics of the mine...