Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Corporate Social Disaster (Mining in South Africa) By: Tshepo Mmusi

Mining should be viewed as economic development in every aspect of life; unfortunately the reality is that the total opposite and only mining bosses benefit on the expense of the poor. In previous articles published regarding Corporate Social Responsibility by mining companies does exist only on paper but in practice nothing is happening in communities let alone company’s social labour plans which should clearly indicate preference of local community members when the company is recruiting its work force. This has been proven evident by research done in different mining host communities such as Chaneng in Rustenburg, Dominionville in Klerksdorp and recently in Kanana near Orkney. Mining houses are only concerned and interested in corporate investment on their part on how to exploit minerals as quickly as possible and move to other areas for further exploitation. Today mining towns such as Welkom, Viginia, Orkney, Stilfontein are ghost towns and one cannot point out that those towns used to be economic hub of this country. Corporate social responsibility should also be concerned about the economic viability of communities even beyond mining activities in that particular community.

Not so long ago the residents of Kanana near Orkney took it upon themselves, and demonstrated against Anglo Gold Ashanti Tau Lekoa #10 shaft regarding its recruitment strategy which preferred migrant labour and people outside Klerksdorp over local community members. This shaft has been operating for many years, and shaft 10 is situated a few metres from Kanana and as such it should employ members of the community of Kanana before going beyond borders. This protest has resulted in violence amongst community members, local shops being looted and some residents being arrested. This action demonstrated dissatisfaction by angry residents on company recruitment policy. It is of great importance for companies to consult with communities as they form part of company’s stakeholders, and processes thereof should not be a formality on papers to acquire mining rights and licenses for prospecting because at the end of the day poor members of our communities are the ones paying the price. This leaves a lot of unanswered questions to be asked, a big one could be if this company is unable to handle a simple task of consulting and recruiting a certain percentage of its labour locally, what are its CSR objectives? Do they have a willingness to give back to the community.

Another BEE mining company will be opening very soon in Stilfontein, Marumole Explorations and so far its owners are keen to practice ethical mining practices because they have approached our organization for advice regarding stakeholder analysis and consultation, social labour plan design, CSR programme design and implementation. To this end there is communication between our organization and North West University Benchmarks centre for assistance as they have capacity on this regard, nothing yet has been finalized a meeting is soon to take place between the centre and Justice and peace. These are still the early days a lot still need to unfold.

(Picture from TaungDailyNews)