By Mr Gwede Mantashe
17 August 2021
It is only in the context of harmonious co-existence between the communities, workers, and mining companies that mineral resources can be optimally and orderly exploited with disturbance. “
Mr Gwede Mantashe
Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
Program Director, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Patron of the Marikana Renewal Dr Mamphela Ramphele Families of Marikana Victims Jerry Vilakazi, Chairperson of the Social and Ethics Committee Members of the Sibanye-Stillwater Board Neal Froneman, CEO Fellow mineworkers.
We convene under extraordinary circumstances to honour those who perished on the tragic day, the 16th August 2012. It is worthy of note and regrettable that government officially participates in the commemoration of this tragic event for the first time after nine years. We are however humbled by this gesture.
To us, this commemorative occasion, is a double-edged sword; firstly, it reminds us of an unfortunate and regrettable event in our past which must never repeat itself, and secondly, it implores us to strive for the higher ideals amplified by the text and spirit of our transformative constitution.
This occasion puts into sharp relief the societal expectations regarding the exploitation of minerals resources. This tectonic shift in paradigm emphasises the notion that mining policies should go beyond the frontiers of legal compliance to meet societal expectations. It is in this context that the changes in the governance of natural resources have expanded the range of stakeholders in the management of natural resources. The result of these shifts has been the establishment of social partnerships between the state, the private sector, and civil society. It is now common to see the embodiment of the elements of social license being part of the law. Thus, amplifying the voice of the affected communities in the mineral governance.
In addressing the misfortunes of our past mineral governance wherein the involvement of communities and workers was not well articulated, the 2018 Mining Charter recognises this truism by ensuring that the communities and workers do not only participate in the exploitation of mineral resources as purveyors of cheap labour, but also as equity owners. Towards this end, the current Mining Charter implores the mining companies to give at least 5% free-carried interests to communities. It also implores on them to give at least 5% free-carried interests to workers. In this way, mineworkers can benefit from the exploitation of mineral resources beyond wages.
The Charter has further ensured that this benefit is not subjected to any reduction by the mining right holder through the issuing of new shares. The 5% equivalent of issued shares capital for the benefit of host communities shall be administered at no cost by a trust or similar vehicle. What is important to note here is that the trust must comprise of representation of host community members including community-based organisations and the traditional leadership.
However, this the Charter will only have effect if it is implemented by the mining companies and monitored by the Department. In this regard, the Department has identified compliance monitoring as one of the priority areas that need to be strengthened.
Together with other social justice orientated policies that are embedded in the MPRDA, like the SLPs, communities are poised to meaningfully benefit from the exploitation of natural resources which are the national patrimony and heritage of all South Africans.
“It is only in the context of harmonious co-existence between the communities, workers, and mining companies that mineral resources can be optimally and orderly exploited with disturbance.”
As the Department, we would like to enjoin the mining companies to give effect to the socioeconomic and social justice orientated tenets of our policy. It is only in the context of harmonious co-existence between the communities, workers, and mining companies that mineral resources can be optimally and orderly exploited with disturbance. This is the social capital in which all the relevant stakeholders must invest. Thus, it is for this reason that the Department will henceforth rigorously monitor the implementation of these policies.
The Charter requires that right holders contribute meaningfully towards Mine Community development. Mining right holders thus, must in consultation with relevant municipalities, mine communities, traditional authorities, affected stakeholders identify developmental priorities of mine communities. These projects must therefore be aligned to the IDPs and be identified in the Social and Labour Plan.
We need to have a new approach to Social and Labour Plans (SLPs). The Charter makes provision for collaboration of mining right holders operating in the same area to identify projects and maximise socio-economic developmental impact in line with approved social and labour plans. The charter further requires a 100% implementation of the social and labour plan projects within any given financial year. This will result in impactful projects that will make a difference in communities. However, these SLPs should not replace the municipal Integrated Development Programmes (IDP) but must complement them. Furthermore, the introduction of the District Development Model (DDM) will enhance collaboration amongst the stakeholders and across sectors to effectively address the socio-economic challenges faced by communities. Mining communities like Marikana can best benefit from that approach.
The Department has from time to time entered into various contractual agreements with mining companies. These agreements are meant to give practical effect to socio-economic objectives of the MPRDA. As a result, we have seen the building and refurbishment of, among others, community healthcare centres, schools, roads, etc…
We have recently visited the Mpumalanga Province for instance, to officially open two state-of-the-art healthcare facilities in Middelburg and Cathyville which were built by mines and handed over to the communities. We expect all mining companies, including Sibanye-Stillwater, to follow suit. In this regard, we are in the process of fast tracking the assessment and approval of SLPs requested for Western limb Platinum (WLP) and the Eastern limb Platinum (ELP) belts.
The Department has made it its priority to ensure that South Africa’s mineral resources are increasingly beneficiated in our country. This will serve to increase the value of our export earnings and internalise job opportunities in the downstream of our mineral value chain.
As government, we will continue improving the regulatory environment of the mining and energy sectors to enable more vibrant and cost-effective factors to doing business and attract investments. Amongst these has been the recent promulgation as law of the provision for embedded electricity generation from 1MW to 100MW.
Allow me to reiterate that our people have high expectations from both government and the established private sector, particularly mining. They have a legitimate expectation to claim the mineral resources as theirs and the evidence of which must reflect in their improved living conditions. Both the Freedom Charter and our Constitution amplify these high expectations as legitimate and duly attainable. The MPRDA further lays the legal basis for their implementation. It is therefore incumbent upon both government and Sibanye-Stillwater to accelerate the realising of these social justice orientated goals.
I take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude at the efforts by other stakeholders such as Sixteen Eight Memorial Trust for tirelessly working, inspired by no motive for gain, to help galvanize the legacy of the Marikana tragic event into a programme that inspires hope. Also, not to be forgotten are the noble efforts of government in all its three spheres, traditional leaders and NGOs who continue to espouse the values of the kind of society that we must all strive for.
As I conclude, it is my belief that though a painful past, tomorrow holds the promise of a better life for all our people when we work together in the spirit of national reconciliation and nation building. I, therefore, invite all members of the Marikana community as well as other communities around the country to embrace the kind of national solidarity that must forge the nation we collectively aspire for.
I thank you.
Mr Gwede Mantashe
Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
17 August 2021