Gwede Mantashe faces court action over Lonmin's social labour plans
Johannesburg - The Mining Forum of South Africa (MFSA) said on Tuesday it was taking mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe to court seeking to compel him to act against platinum producer Lonmin Plc for non-compliance with the commitments made in its social labour plans (SLPs).
The matter has been set down for hearing on the 26 October 2018 by the High Court of Mafikeng in North West province.
MFSA is a lobby group seeking to be an agent of transformation in the mining industry of South Africa through ensuring that mining entities fully implement the Mining Charter, Mineral Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) and their SLPs.
This comes after August 2017's audits on Lonmin by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) found that Lonmin failed to comply with its obligations committed in its 2014-2018 SLPs in terms of housing, local economic development, human resource development, employment equity, and procurement.
In November last year, the Forum called for the suspension of mining activities at Lonmin with immediate effect after the mining house failed to build the 5 500 houses for employees it had promised to build in 2006.
Terance Kgokolo, MFSA secretary general, said Lonmin had not complied nor fulfilled its commitments and/or undertakings in terms of the SLPs and that the minister has failed to take reasonable steps to enforce the social contract concluded between Lonmin and the people of South Africa.
"We place on record that, the intolerable social and economic conditions that communities surrounding Lonmin's operations endured, could have been better addressed had Lonmin complied with its commitments in its SLPs," Kgokolo said.
"It should be noted, that, the living conditions of workers and the broader community, especially when contrasted with the wealth generated by the mine, led to the MFSA approaching the High Court of Mafikeng."
At the Marikana massacre commemoration this year, Lonmin chief executive Ben Magara said the platinum mining company had made significant progress in delivering its commitment to the community of Marikana with modern housing being a key focus of the company's social and labour plans.
Magara said the company's financial investment in housing since 2013 would reach R500 million by the end of this year.
He also said that the funds had made it possible to convert all the single-sex legacy hostels into 2 162 single units and 759 family units, and that 1 240 apartments had also been built by Lonmin, and will all be fully occupied by the end of 2018.