THE BLOG

Lonmin: Marikana Has Left Us All With Some Deep Institutional Scars And Memories

We are committed more than ever to ensure that an event like this never ever happens again in our country's history.

16/08/2017 10:44 SAST | Updated 16/08/2017 11:34 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters
Miners are seen underground at Lonmin Plc's Karee mine in Marikana, Rustenburg 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, March 5, 2013.

There is no doubt that the tragedy of Marikana changed the way we do business at Lonmin. It transformed how we engage with our employees, our unions and communities.

Since Marikana we have endured a serious economic downturn and sustained a low pricing environment, which has had a dramatic impact on our ability to invest and grow at the rate we would like. But despite these challenges, we strongly believe we have achieved a great deal.

Caring for the families

One of our first priorities was to ensure the victims' families were supported. We offered each family employment for one family member, which every single family has taken up. We cannot replace the lives that were lost but we have helped in providing an income for the grieving families.

The 1608 Trust was set up by Lonmin after Marikana to specifically look after the educational needs of the victims' children. One hundred and forty-one children are supported by the Trust with 10 children in tertiary education, 107 in primary or secondary school and the remaining children at pre-school. We are deeply committed to seeing this commitment through to the end and have allocated R40 million to achieve this.

Our Rock Drillers now earn a cash package of R15,770 and R17,950 including medical aid and last year we signed a three-year wage deal with AMCU.

Improved housing

Our vision of facilitating sustainable, integrated housing for all our employees is on track. Admittedly in some areas, our progress has been slower than expected as we battled economic conditions and the resultant financial restraints. In 2014 we converted all our single sex hostel blocks into renovated single and family units in compliance with the Mining Charter.

Under our current Social Labour Plan (2014-2018), we have allocated R500 million to complete the same sex hostel conversions and to develop 1,240 modern apartments. In another project, Lonmin donated 50 hectares of serviced land for development by the Government and it is expected that 2,658 dwellings will be built there.

Improving the lives of our employees

Our Rock Drillers now earn a cash package of R15,770 and R17,950 including medical aid and last year we signed a three-year wage deal with AMCU. The successful conclusion of this deal shows the maturing relationship we have built with our majority union. Our employees are now part of a profit sharing scheme, which entitles Lonmin employees to 3.8 percent of our profits at no risk.

We have saved our employees R5.2 million through our indebtedness and financial literacy programme, which helps our employees manage their debt effectively. Our investment into employee health has increased to R216 million in 2016, from R180 million in 2015 and we have reviewed our HR policies and procedures by aligning them to international best practice with respect to human rights outside the workplace.

To honour the victims of Marikana and mark the five-year anniversary, on 15 August we launched the first- ever designs of a Marikana Memorial.

Our commitment to the community

In the community, we have awarded the Bapo community four contracts worth in total R1.65 billion. We have increased the Bapo shareholding to 2.4 percent with two further community trusts holding 0.9 percent. We have implemented community healthcare programmes that focus on HIV/Aids and TB education and prevention, upgrading clinic infrastructures and nutrition.

We have built schools, implemented learner/teacher training programmes and nutrition programmes. We have delivered bulk water infrastructure systems, upgraded roads, improved waste disposal and provided funding for business incubation. We have trained local communities in engineering and artisan skills.

Memorialising the lives lost

To honour the victims of Marikana and mark the five-year anniversary, on 15 August we launched the first- ever designs of a Marikana Memorial. The proposed design has been developed around the concept of a green blanket, emblematic of the garment worn by late strike leader Mgcineni Noki. The anticipated green space, planted with indigenous trees, will serve as a place for social gatherings and some recreational activity including restaurants.

We also hope to include the first ever platinum museum in the memorial. While we are very much in the early stages of this project, we are inviting all stakeholders to give their input on the design and will be embarking on an extensive stakeholder engagement programme to get input and comments on the initial design.

SIPHIWE SIBEKO1 / Reuters
Members of the mining community walk near crosses placed at a hill known as the "Hill of Horror", where 43 miners died during clashes with police, during a strike at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in Rustenburg, 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, May 14, 2013. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Marikana has left us all with some deep institutional scars and memories. But we are committed more than ever to ensure that an event like this never ever happens again in our country's history. We will continue to focus on improving the lives of our employees and the Greater Lonmin Community (GLC).

We will continue to partner to build a Marikana beyond mining and to have a net positive contribution to the well-being and lived reality of all our people.