NEWS

Two Years Later, Zuma Tries To Get Tough On Lonmin's Housing Plan

The revised housing plan provided by the company prior to the Farlam Commission's findings has no clear timeline.

12/12/2016 10:49 SAST | Updated 12/12/2016 10:49 SAST
SIPHIWE SIBEKO / Reuters
The shadows of a mother and child are cast on a shack in Marikana's Nkaneng township in Rustenburg, 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, August 15, 2013. A year after South Africa's bloodiest post-apartheid labour incident awoke the world to the potential for unrest in the country's mines, the industry still suffers from worker poverty, pay disputes, shrinking profits and a violent union feud. To match Analysis SAFRICA-MARIKANA/ REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: POLITICS ANNIVERSARY BUSINESS SOCIETY)

The Department of Mineral Resources plans to ask mining giant Lonmin for a compliant housing plan and may revoke the company's mining rights if it doesn't receive it, President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.

Zuma was giving an update on steps taken by various government departments to implement the Farlam Commission of Inquiry's recommendations.

He said a report carried out on June 25, 2015, indicated that Lonmin had converted 776 hostels for families, and another 1 908 single apartments by December 2014, as was required by the Mining Charter.

"Prior to the Commission's findings, Lonmin was directed to amend their Social and Labour Plan and the company submitted a revised plan during October 2014, in which they have addressed the housing needs by committing to build infill apartments, which... would replace the 5 500 houses committed to, as the majority of employees indicated that they are interested in rental accommodation," Zuma said.

But, he said, the revised labour plan was broad and needed a clear timeline.

'Progress slow'

On September 23, 2015, Lonmin was told to revise this plan to address the housing conditions of mineworkers.

"However, progress is slow, compelling the department to contemplate sterner measures. The Department of Mineral Resources intends to take further action," Zuma said.

"A compliant housing plan will be requested from Lonmin, failing which immediate action in the form of suspension or cancellation of the mining right will be taken."

On August 16, 2012, police shot dead 34 striking Lonmin miners, apparently in an attempt to disperse them and end their industrial action. Ten people, including two police officers and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

Zuma subsequently established a commission of inquiry, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, to look into the matter.

It found that no senior government officials, including Lonmin non-executive board member Cyril Ramaphosa, were responsible for the shootings.

It however recommended a probe into police commissioner Riah Phiyega's fitness to hold office.

Zuma suspended Phiyega in October last year.

The Claassen Board of Inquiry announced in November that it would hand its report to President Jacob Zuma at a date to be determined by him.

The inquiry concluded its hearings on June 3.

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