Greater collaboration between stakeholders needed to ensure effective transformation
South Africa’s leading mining bodies; the Mineworkers Investment Trust (MIT), National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC) and the Mineworkers Development Agency (MDA) are calling for bold steps to be taken to ensure that effective transformation continues to be a key narrative that serves as a blue print for economic emancipation in South Africa.
Luthando Brukwe, the Head of Transformation at the National Union of Mineworkers says stakeholders in the mining sector need to ensure that there is an accelerated implementation of the NEDLAC endorsed social accords.
Paving The Way for Solutions
He stresses that there needs to be an alignment of mining and construction charters in the B-BBEE Amended Codes that were released recently by the Department of Trade and Industry.
“Another way forward which speaks to the objectives of saving, creating and maintaining employment in the National Development Plan is that there needs to be a campaign against transfer pricing, offshore listing, mergers and acquisitions resulting in massive job losses. We believe that there should be sufficient support for social wages and we will continue to demand a living wage and enforce the equal pay for equal work principle across the industries we organise. As a way forward it is also imperative that we continue to demand unwavering enforcement of legislative and regulatory frameworks that benefit workers and communities at large as well as champion sanctioning for escalating non-compliance,” adds Brukwe.
Currently, there is a serious lack of co-ordination between government’s owned entities, government departments and industry are not being held accountable for non-compliance. This serves as a major obstacle towards reaching transformation objectives. Brukwe acknowledged that the department of mineral resources is legislatively empowered to monitor and report on the compliance and transformation in the mining industry, however there have been various stakeholders who have punted their own determined results.
Benefits of Initiatives in Mining Communities
Oren Fuchs, the Investment / Special Projects Manager of the MIC speaks of the good work that the Mineworkers Investment Trust and its subsidiaries have done over the last 20 years as an organisation that was created to take care of the interests of mineworkers and their families. He says that part of what has driven the MIC to have a current investment portfolio of R5.9 billion is the need to address the recurring themes of unemployment and job creation.
“Unemployment is a serious issue and it is becoming increasingly important to break the barrier to job creation and to break the cycle of poverty. The key focus areas that our resources need to look at is education, poverty alleviation and training. Under the MIT, the return on investment made through the MIT has established the JB Marks Education Trust which has been operating since 1997 and has given more than 2000 bursaries, producing over 1000 graduates for the dependents of mineworkers in South Africa. It is a substantial bursary scheme and is one of the largest and most impactful in SA,” he comments.
Another important factor highlighted by Fuchs is that the MIT is also heavily involved in providing the right training facilities for miners to ensure that they obtain the relevant skills, another critical part of what transformation objectives should achieve in the sector.
Effective Stake Holder Engagement for Success
Tshimane Montoedi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Mineworkers Development Agency (MDA) is of the view that the main objective of socio-economic transformation envisaged within the NDP is to realise the freedom charter vision of a society in which the people shall share in the country’s wealth.
He indicates that various stakeholders still had an important role to play in ensuring effective transformation in mining.
For example, parliament needs to ensure that it provides a platform for a progressive legislative regime while national government has the responsibility to monitor and ensure compliance. Over and above that the provincial and local spheres of government needed to safe guard, maintain and support the implementation programme in order for transformation to be effective.
In addition, the mining industry has to implement programmes with “meaningful consultation” with stakeholders.
Communities are also an integral part of the stakeholder process because with proper consultation, they can benefit as well as safe guard and complement the implementation process.
He recommends that all mining right holders develop an effective and inclusive stakeholder management programme as well as engage in “meaningful consultation” with primary and secondary stakeholders.
“The broad based empowerment programme needs to be inclusive and transformation should be beyond compliance. There must also be an establishment of multi-party stakeholder forums (e.g municipality, organised labour, community, traditional leaders) and extensive consultation with these forums in drafting SLPs and Mining Charter targets,” he says.