Platinum producer Lonmin has made significant progress in delivering on its commitment to the Marikana community, the company said on Wednesday.
“Housing has been a key focus of the company’s social and labour plans, with modern housing developments being built for many of its employees,” said Khaya Ngcwembe, Lonmin HR executive.
He delivered the speech on behalf of Lonmin CEO Ben Magara who could not attend the memorial due to family commitments.
“Lonmin’s financial investment in housing since 2013 will have reached R500 million by the end of this year, funds that have made it possible to convert all the single-sex legacy hostels into 2,162 single units and 759 family units. One thousand, two hundred and forty apartments have also been built by Lonmin and will all be fully occupied by the end of 2018.”
In its study titled “Platinum for the World Market, Iron Shacks for the Workers”, the Benchmark Foundation said the situation in Marikana today was not only a failure of the South African government but also a story of corporate irresponsibility.
“In 2006, Lonmin submitted a legally binding Social and Labour Plan (SLP) in which it committed to convert 114 hostel blocks and build 5,500 new houses by 2011.
“In 2012, at the time of the massacre, Lonmin had only built three of the 5,500 houses they had committed to in their SLP. By 2017, Lonmin has converted the hostels but only built 500 additional apartments. Lonmin blames financial problems for the lack of implementation of the SLP and the inability to increase wages faster,” read the report released in May 2018.
The study looked at the situation in Marikana since 2012 up to 2017. Thirty four mineworkers were shot by the South African police on 16 August 2012, with a further 78 wounded and 275 were arrested. Ten people, including six mineworkers, two Lonmin security officers and two policemen, were killed in days leading up to the August 16 massacre.
Lonmin said families were also at the centre of the 1608 Memorial Education Trust, a vehicle which has been established to ensure that the children and families of the employees who died in 2012 receive an education up to and including university level.
“So far, the trust has disbursed R8.9 million on tuition, boarding fees, transport, uniforms and educational projects.”
The company said it has also made solid progress in securing better wage packages for the company’s employees.
“One of the most noteworthy developments is the new cash packages offered to Rock Drill Operators, who now earn between R15,770 and R17,950. The packages also include medical aid and the provision of financial assistance when necessary.”
– African News Agency (ANA)