PRESS STATEMENT | LHR deeply saddened by the murder of Jomo Keromeng

Date: 24/08/2023

It is with great sadness that LHR has learned of the death of Jomo Keromeng. Jomo was a nurse by profession but his real passion was to make a difference in the lives of the people of the Sefikile community. This community is located in a “former homeland” area. And now, in the era of democracy, it is suffering the consequences of a “mineral development strategy.” Jomo died after he was shot in front of his family. We urge the SAPS to find whoever is responsible for his death. We believe that his death is directly linked to his activism.

LHR learned so much from him, and he will missed. Comrade Jomo was a kind and intelligent man, and an exceptional leader. LHR has represented the Sefikile community in a number of cases, in their struggles in the heart of the platinum belt. These legal battles are not only against the owners of the mining companies and extraction industry that invades the land belonging to the community, but also against prospective mining companies in the process of obtain mining rights on land occupied by the community.

On behalf of the Sefikile community, LHR has also opposed the review application brought by Mr Pilane from the Bakglatla ba Kgafela community. He is challenging his removal from office after a commission of inquiry found millions, if not billions of Rands, were unaccounted for in what is clearly a case of (at best) mismanagement of funds or (at worst) corruption. Although the biggest mining village in the country is on land bought by the Sefikiles, they never benefit from the mining and the community lives in abject poverty. Like so many other communities suffering the ravages of the extractives industry, this makes a mockery of the very sub-title of the mining charter, “Broad Based Socio-Economic Empowerment Charter for the Mining and Minerals Industry.”

Jomo was at the forefront in fighting these injustices. He paid the ultimate price, his life, in his struggle for justice for all – and in fighting for the basic human rights and respect for human dignity of poor and vulnerable people.

Jomo’s death will not be in vain and we will continue to seek justice for his community.

Hamba Kahle Jomo. In spirit you will always be with us.

For queries contact:

Louise Du Plessis, Head of the LHR Land, Housing, and Property Rights Programme

Tel: 012 320 2943

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