School of Social and Political Science

CAS Seminar - A distributional impasse: Why conflict persists in South Africa’s rural mining frontier?

06 October 2021
16:00 - 17:30


The significant expansion of mining on ‘communal’ land in the former ‘homeland’ areas has produced new struggles in rural South Africa. In this presentation, I detail the intense local struggles over the mineral-rich land in the villages straddled by the vast ‘platinum belt’ in the North West province. Conflict is characterised by violent protests and exclusive group claims. Ordinary villagers make radical demands – for direct cash payments – that are rooted on private group ‘ownership’ of land and mineral resources. Some of these claims end up in the courts of law. I argue that, the failure of the post-apartheid policy mechanisms to facilitate equitable distribution of mining rents, and new forms of exclusion and elite accumulation at the local level continue to drive the prolonged conflict in the rural locales where South Africa’s new mining frontiers are expanding.

Key speakers

  • Sonwabile Mnwana - Associate Professor, University of Fort Hare