We have worked hard to improve conditions - Lonmin CEO

2015-06-25 21:16
George Bizos, lawyer for the miners, stands in contemplation, during the Farlam commission investigation near Lonmin mine in Marikana. (Mujahid Safodien, AFP)

George Bizos, lawyer for the miners, stands in contemplation, during the Farlam commission investigation near Lonmin mine in Marikana. (Mujahid Safodien, AFP)

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Johannesburg - While the report by the Marikana Commission found that Lonmin had failed to ensure the safety of its workers and did not comply with housing obligations for them, the company said it had worked hard to improve conditions over the last two-and-a-half years.

“As a company we have worked hard over the past two-and-a-half years to build a more open, transparent and mutually trustworthy environment, and in the process make Lonmin a safer, better place to work," CEO Ben Magara said in a statement.

"We have placed particular emphasis on living conditions and employee indebtedness, two burning issues that we believe will make a profound impact on the well-being of our employees. Much work has been done in this regard."

He said this was in addition to the assistance the company rendered to the widows and children of the employees who died in 2012.

"While we can never replace their loved ones, we have offered employment opportunities to their families and every child of school going age is a beneficiary of the 1608 Education Trust. This is in addition to the statutory pay-outs from pension and life funds."

Magara said Lonmin gave its full support to the commission.

"Its findings will need our detailed consideration before we take further action and before we provide our considered responses," he said.

"We as a company have already moved a long way towards building a more open, transparent and mutually trusting environment. I cannot say that we have fully achieved this yet, but I can say that we have made progress, and we will continue to do so in conjunction with other stakeholders.

“While the report will generate painful memories for many people, it is all of our responsibility not to lose sight of our common humanity, not to destroy the good work already done, to conduct ourselves respectfully and with due restraint and empathy, and to provide support to those who need it.”

'Failed to employ safeguards'

President Jacob Zuma gave a summary of the commission's report on Thursday night.

Besides recommending that national police commissioner Riah Phiyega must face an inquiry into her fitness to hold office, the commission found that Lonmin did not use its best endeavours to resolve the disputes that arose between itself and its workers who participated in the unprotected strike and between the strikers and workers who did not participate in the strike.

"It also did not respond appropriately to the threat of and outbreak of violence," Zuma said.

"Lonmin also failed to employ sufficient safeguards and measures to ensure the safety of its employees."

He said the commission found that Lonmin also insisted that its employees were who not striking should come to work when it knew it was not in the position to protect them from strikers.

"It also criticised Lonmin's undertaking with regards to social and labour plans," Zuma said.

The commission recommended that Lonmin’s failure to comply with the housing obligations under the social and labour plans should be drawn to the attention of the Department of Mineral Resources, which should take steps to enforce the performance of these obligations by the company.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  jacob zuma  |  marikana inquiry

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