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RETIREMENT OF DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - Mineral Deposits Limited©2006
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October 2012


The judicial inquiry into the shooting at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana began on 1 October in the Rustenburg Civic Centre. President Jacob Zuma appointed retired judge Ian Farlam to head up the commission, which is expected to take four months.

The three-member commission, which includes advocates Bantubonke Tokota and Pingla Hemraj, has been tasked with investigating the incidents that led to the deaths of 44 people at the mine. It is required to submit monthly progress reports to the president’s office, the first of which is due by mid-October.

A total of 46 people died in the violent protests that took place during weeks of unrest at the mine in August, but only 44 deaths are being investigated, as two deaths fall outside the scope of the inquiry.

Parties involved in the enquiry include Lonmin, the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the department of minerals and labour.


Andile Sangqu, an executive director of Xstrata South Africa, addresses the issues of safety and transformation in the mining industry in his keynote address at the MinsSafe 2012 conference in Johannesburg in August. He also spoke about the important issue of transformation in the mining industry. “Transformation is a process of profound and radical change that takes an organisation to a new level of effectiveness. It is not incremental changes but a radical change of character, meaning that the company bears no resemblance to the previous company.”

He took the audience a step back to 1994, with the establishment of the country’s new Constitution that looked to transform South African society and its various sectors. “At the heart of this is the preservation of human dignity, which is a huge task considering our history of Apartheid and colonialism. A new set of laws and policies were therefore required to get South Africa to be a normal society. A new mineral framework formed part of this and was put forward by our first democratic government.”

He spoke about the important role that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) plays in this process and how it has already won many victories of workers in the mining labour space.

A lack of transformation

To achieve zero fatalities sector must work together, and it begins at the top. “Leadership is required to focus on change and health and safety at all times. To achieve this culture must change, but it is a difficult thing to change. It needs inspiring leadership. This is the journey our industry has to achieve. It must be through the hearts of people.”

For our children

He acknowledged that progress had been made since the early days of the Mining Charter, but emphasized the need for support from broader society and support for newer entries into the industry. “Our deputy president stated that transformation is important to the future of mining. Our challenge is to ensure we have an industry which practices and positively reflects the society we wish for our children. We can achieve this, we must be sensitive, but there is no alternative.”


Mining communities are well known for their heavy reliance on mining as their basic source of income and employment for local communities. When mining activities decline, factors associated with unemployment such as poverty, crime and infectious disease become prevalent. In such situations, woman and children are always the victims. 

In 2009, De beers created an enterprise development vehicle called De Beers Zimele, which empowers local communities to avoid such social ills, by offering an opportunity for easy access to funding to start their own businesses. The objective is to ensure that communities where De Beers operates will have alternative employment and income when mining operations come to an end. “Zimele” is an Nguni word that means stand on your own feet and be independent. 

De Beers Zimele operates by establishing hubs at its operations and, in turn, the hubs provide loan funding, the transfer of business skills, mentoring and support. All aimed at helping to drive broad based black economic empowerment and fighting poverty through the creation of sustainable small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). This is done through loans from R1 000 to a maximum of R1-million at 6% interest. 

De beers, together with its partner Anglo American Zimele, are committed to respond to the “Business Call to Action” initiative, to create 25 000 jobs by 2015. De Beers’ contribution to this goal is to provide 5 000; the other Anglo American business units (Anglo Platinum, Kumba, and Anglo Coal account for the remainder of the 25 000). 

The objectives of De Beers Zimele are to:

·        Develop and nurture commercially viable and economically sustainable businesses

·        Bring about sustainable black economic empowerment through the creation of small and medium enterprises.

·        Provide capacity building and funding of SMMEs through extensive support, mentorship and guidance.


Beatrix Mine, a Gold Fields mine on the rim of the Witwatersrand Basin, identified the need for literacy training for its workers and has partnered with Media Works to run two ABET projects at the mine. 

Of the two ABET projects currently running, one is focused on training and educating mine employees and the other is focused on the community, as this forms part of the mine’s social responsibility programme. 

Local entrepreneurs are supported by the mine, as well as schools and teachers in the area.

“There are eight facilitators for ABET on the mine and 15 facilitators for the community learners,” says ABET co-ordinator Caroline Hlaele. 

“These facilitators have all been trained on the Media Works ABET material and how to use the multimedia programme. The learners know that they need to be disciplined and must dedicate the required time towards achieving their objective, which is to obtain a full MQA qualification on NQF level 1.” 

The 15 facilitators are spread across the region. There are six in Meloding township, six in Thabong township and three in Masilo township, catering for Gold Fields employees and community members.

Media Works has over 3 000 corporate and government clients as well as numerous NGOs, schools and other training institutions. The learner base is well over 200 000 and learners making use of the company’s training materials have managed to maintain an exceptional pass rate. 

Media Works has a policy of continually reinvesting in products and technology. The product line has grown from English Literacy to now include all the major learning areas at NQF level 1. The product range is available in a computer assisted (multimedia) format, a face-to-face format or a combination of the two.  



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