Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe was gunned down at his home in Xolobeni on South Africa’s Wild Coast on Tuesday 22 March 2016, in what fellow activists claim was an escalation of violence and intimidation against local opponents of a mine owned by Perth-based Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC).
Mr. Sikhosiphi Rhadebe was the chairperson of Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC), an advocacy group launched in 2007 to campaign for the rights of the residents of the Xolobeni Community in Eastern Cape, South Africa. He was at the forefront of a campaign opposing open-cast mining of titanium in the Xolobeni area by Mineral Commodities Ltd (MRC), an Australian-owned mining company.
On 22 March 2016, he was shot dead outside his house by unidentified assailants purporting to be police officers. MRC, which has repeatedly denied inciting violence involving its supporters, said it was “in no way implicated in any form whatsoever in this incident”.
Mzamo Dlamini is a fellow activist who believes he is among the “prime targets” on the anti-mining Amadiba crisis committee following Rhadebe’s death. Despite fearing for his life, Dlamini vowed to continue organising resistance to a project that campaigners said would force the relocation of an estimated 100 households and up to 1,000 people. “The assassination affects us all,” he said. “There will be more Bazookas long after we have died.”
Rhadebe was shot eight times in the head in front of his son, who told investigators the killers had posed as police. Less than two hours before his death, Rhadebe called fellow committee member Nonhle Mbuthuma to check on her safety, telling her there was a “hit list” that included both of them and Dlamini.