An evaluation of natural resources and violence in Niger Delta and Marikana
Makhubu, Daniel Buyani
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The main aim of the research study is to evaluate the root causes of violence and natural resources in the Nigeria's Niger Delta and South Africa's Marikana. Both Nigeria and South Africa are powerful economies of Africa and rich in natural resources. Niger Delta is rich in crude oil and has for decades been characterized by a history of resistance by the host communities against the Nigerian State and the multinational oil mining companies operating in the region. The crisis in the Niger Delta is as a result of various violent clashes between the host communities, the government forces as well as the oil companies over natural resources. Marikana is Lonmin's biggest producer of platinum in South Africa's North West Province. On 16 August 2102, in Marikana about 34 striking miners were killed by the South African Police Service. The Marikana incident shocked the world and was the single worst incident of public violence since the dawn of democracy in South Africa in 1994. The natural violent conflicts in both Niger Delta and Marikana attracted international attention in the media and in the investor communities. The theory of underpinning this research is that the deprivation of host communities from meaningfully benefiting from natural resources will always result in violent conflicts and is justified by the continued recurrence of violent conflicts in the mining sectors and host communities of Nigeria and South Africa. The continued recurrence of conflicts and violence in the mining sectors and host communities of South Africa and Nigeria is a serious matter of international importance and a challenge which raises deep concerns as to how to contain it. The research study has found that corrupt practices and repression of host communities by Government and the multinational companies resulted in recurring violent conflicts in the Niger Delta and Marikana. It has been found that the poorly designed liberal legislative and regulatory mining regimes with significant loopholes in both South Africa and Nigeria provide an opportunity for corrupt behavior to flourish. It has also been found that effective governance and corruption control are key to successfully ensuring that host communities benefit sustainably from the extraction of its natural resources using the illustrative cases of the Niger Delta and Marikana. The study argues for the establishment, maintenance, updating and transparency of public registers of mining companies, the names of directors and shareholders by Governments in order to prevent and mitigate possible corruption and it further argues for the implementation of stringent legislation aimed at preventing corruption within the state and the mining companies, and for legislation preventing public office bearers from being members of companies, and for declaration of interests. The study argues for transparency in the transfer of mining companies including state owned companies and for a level playing field in the application and approval of mining licenses as the opportunities for corruption escalate if there is discrimination. Finally, the study also argues for a transparent consultation with and consent by host communities. Transparent contractual agreements between governments and mining companies, along with early involvement of civil society and local and indigenous communities, are key to the success of any mining venture as a contributor to development.
- Humanities