Article from ROAPE Volume 32 Number 103
Beating the Odds: Quest for Justice/SA Asbestos Mining
In March 2003 a small community group, ‘The Concerned People Against Asbestos (CPA)’ based at Prieska in the Northern Cape, won a court case in a foreign country. That case may change the way in which multinational corporations behave in the developing world. Until now the hidden costs of mining in Southern Africa have been paid for by labour. The CPA's victory may also help to end that injustice. It is usual to depict communities like Prieska as dis-empowered and impoverished. Despite its lack of resources the CPA was able to synchronise an elaborate game of small and big politics. The group's victory suggests that such communities have levels of political and organisation skill which given the right alignments can be irresistible.