As this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Marikana massacre, Sibanye-Stillwater in partnership with government, continues to honour the lives that were lost.
The company continues to contribute to reparations for those who were and continue to be affected by the tragic events of 2012.
Since acquiring Lonmin’s operations in 2019, Sibanye has been actively engaging with various stakeholders in Marikana and has set up the Marikana Renewal Programme which was launched in 2020 by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.
The Marikana Renewal Programme seeks to promote healing and provide socio-economic redress that will facilitate the sustainability of the local communities.
Sibanye-Stillwater benefits communities through mandated Social and Labour Plans (SLPs) and various corporate social responsibility projects.
As part of the SLPs, Sibanye has delivered 22 projects in the areas of education, 13 projects in health, 6 projects in welfare, 10 projects in economic development, four projects in social infrastructure and four projects in road infrastructure.
As part of the Letsema Process, which lies at the heart of the Marikana Renewal Programme, the patron has visited families in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho and key stakeholders in Marikana.
The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) visited the areas of Marikana in July, to look at the projects by the company in partnership with government and stakeholders.
Some of the projects is the first phase of the Leokeng Secondary School, which was completed in late 2021, the newly extended Majakaneng Clinic and the Majakaneng Agricultural Project.
Speaking to SAnews, one of the teachers at the Leokeng Secondary School, Neo Booysen said the community has benefited immensely from the new school because learners do not have to walk long distances to access other schools that are far away.
On the challenges the school faces, Booysen told SAnews was that it was difficult when the school opened because there was a shortage of learning materials, basic needs like toilet paper, markers and there was a shortage of water.
“We would like for government to step in and help in addressing the challenges we are faced with. They should come frequently to check how the school is doing and help where they can. We need equipment and material. Sibanye has done well in building the school but it will take everyone to come to the party and assist in providing teaching and learning materials,” she said.
For the staff and regular patients at the Majakaneng Clinic, the renovations of the health facility brought to an end the days of poor service delivery due to inadequate facilities and equipment.
The clinic that was built in the early 1990s used to have only two rooms that functioned as multipurpose rooms.
Patients had previously had to wait for long hours to receive assistance, resulting in many having to travel far to access medical attention elsewhere.
With the help of a R9.3 million investment from Sibanye-Stillwater, the clinic, which services the community of Majakaneng, was renovated in 2020.
Speaking to SAnews Malebo Mototoba, a Professional Nurse at Majakaneng clinic, said the facility is now bigger than it used to be and has made a difference in the community.
“Sibanye has helped us by extending the clinic. It was too small and that resulted in congestion. We now have more consulting rooms and the wellness clinic is big. This makes me happy because we now work in a conducive environment and are able to treat about 400 patients a day,” she said.
Given the COVID-19 lockdown regulations in the country, implemented on 27 March 2020, delays were experienced in completing some projects in accordance with the 2020 implementation plan.
Some of the projects currently in the pipeline include the upgrading of roads in Wonderkop and Nkaneng and a Memorial Site at the koppie where the 34 miners lost their lives.
The Marikana Renewal Programme held its first pitso – a traditional Sotho gathering – in May, which brought forward the importance of honouring the lives of the fallen.
Speaking to SAnews on the site where the violence erupted ten years ago, Tshepo Kgasago – Head of Community Engagement and Development for PMG Region South Africa said the Pitso was attended by 94 family members of the deceased.
He said the families were engaged in a bid to help co-create a path towards constructing a memorial park.
Kgasago said the memorial park that is still in the conceptual stages will be situated in between the two koppies where the majority of the deaths took place on 16 August 2012.
“We have been engaging with the widows on the memorial site. It will not be a project that we are going to develop by ourselves without the inputs of everybody else. We are busy with the concept for the memorial site,” he said.
The families have requested that a task team be put together so they can contribute to the planning in as far as the memorial park is concerned.
“Following the request, we were able to convene the 44 families and they have elected nine representatives to form part of that task team. The families are being engaged on an ongoing basis,” he said.
In 2014, 23 widows and 21 family members accepted offers of employment from Lonmin, most of whom Sibanye-Stillwater continues to employ to date.
Sibanye continues to offer closure counselling to the widows and their beneficiaries.
“Sibanye-Stillwater also offers legal support for the widows. We are assisting those widows/families who have not received any compensation from the State to engage with the relevant authorities with a view to pursuing compensation,” Kgasago said.
Sibanye also continues to support the 1608 Memorial Trust, which was originally founded in September 2012 by Lonmin and its partner Phembani Group (formerly Shanduka Resources) to fund the educational needs of the dependent children of the employees who died in the tragedy.
The Trust currently supports 139 beneficiaries, ranging in age from nine to 41 years old, coming from all over South Africa as well as Lesotho and Swaziland.
The fund has provided for the education of three postgraduate students, one of whom recently acquired a PhD – as well as 14 tertiary graduates.
“Through the 1608 Memorial Trust, we continue to support the dependents by providing educational assistance in the form of schooling and registration fees; stationery, textbooks and uniforms; tertiary tuition fees; transportation and meal allowances; as well as extramural activities such as sports and school excursions for educational purposes,” Kgasago said.
Sibanye has previously committed to building houses for the 16 widows that were not supplied with homes by the AMCU Trust.
Programme Manager for Housing at Sibanye, Riaan Barnard, said that eight houses have been finalised and another eight is being built in locations that were selected by widow.
The locations include the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, North West Province (Mahikeng), Northern Cape (Kimberley) and Lesotho.
Living conditions in Marikana
Speaking about housing in the Marikana area, Barnard said the partnership with government in providing further housing has started and is well underway.
Barnard said Lonmin initially donated 50 hectares of serviced land to the Rustenburg Local Municipality, valued at the time at R80 million, proclaimed as Marikana Extension 2.
“This enabled the construction of 2 658 accommodation units by government for employees and local community members. Phase 1 of the project has been completed, with 544 houses having been finalised – 292 for employees and 252 community residential units,” he said.
In 2019, Lonmin formed a partnership with the Housing Development Agency (HDA) to jointly implement defined housing initiatives in the Marikana and surrounding areas in full alignment with the local municipalities and the province.
Contributing to Economic Development
Sibanye-Stillwater employs 84 981 people (including contractors) at its South African and United States operations. Of these, 24 444 employees and contractors are employed at the Marikana operation.
Kgasago said that a R3.9 billion capital investment in the Marikana K4 project will sustain jobs for the next 50 years.
The Marikana K4 project and other operational requirements has directly/indirectly contributed to about 1 563 job opportunities for locals since July 2021.
Several SLP projects approved for this year
At Western Platinum (WPL), these include the second phase construction at Leokeng Secondary School and the Marikana Community Health Centre (CHC).
Sibanye said additional support will be given towards the erection of the Marikana high mast lights, the support of agri business, implementation of storm water management, the refurbishment of road infrastructure and the support to small scale sheep farmers.
At Eastern Platinum (EPL), the projects include shearing sheds, the new Sonop Secondary School, installing of high mast lights in six wards, upgrading of Bapong and Wonderkop CHC sewage system and Rhode school upgrade.
Source: South African Government News Agency