Sibanye-Stillwater hosted the second annual Marikana Memorial Lecture on 17 August 2021, since their acquisition of Lonman in June 2019. The lecture was the culmination of a week of activities held at and around Marikana, commemorating the past and engaging on a way forward, and forms part of the long-term Marikana Renewal process launched in 2020. Sibanye-Stillwater CEO, Neal Froneman, commented, “The interdependence between business and stakeholders has never been more critical nor has the need for collaboration.”
The Marikana Massacre is remembered 9 years on with sombreness, when 34 miners lost their lives on 16 August 2012 at the hands of the South African security forces. This, after a mine strike culminated in escalated tensions and a violent confrontation resulted in the tragedy.
Froneman said, “We as business are not the social partners in this equation: we are the economic partners providing very substantial social support”, noting that in taking on the Marikana operations in 2019, whose very survival was under threat at the time when acquired, it was first necessary to restore operating effectiveness as the basis of sustainable operations.
“Based on the success achieved that created financial stability, I was pleased earlier this year to announce the R4-billion investment in extending the life by bringing K4 shaft into production, with the creation of 4 400 new jobs. This helps greatly in providing sustained local employment that goes someway to addressing the crisis of unemployment, especially amongst the youth, and creates the potential to build local supply chains that will support entrepreneurial growth in the local communities. We have recently launched a programme that will support 20 local entrepreneurs to build their businesses and participate in our supply chains.”
Sibanya-Stillwater embarked on a journey of collaboration with all Stakeholders in 2020 when the Marikana renewal process was launched under the themes of ‘honour, engage and create’, patroned by Archbishop Thabo Magoba. Sibanya-Stillwater states their belief that by “co-creating a shared vision and delivering on tangible and sustainable socio-economic programmes for the benefit of local communities, a new legacy of healing and hope will emerge”.
The company has committed to providing support to the widows and families by way of housing, education, and employment. Sibanya-Stillwater is growing young talent by providing educational assistance up to and including tertiary level for the dependants of those who lost their lives at Marikana in 2012.
Keynote speaker at the Lecture, Dr Mamphela Rhamphele said, “We are here today to celebrate the lives of those who were caught up in the events of that fateful day. Their courage to challenge what they regarded as an unsustainable business model that excluded them from sharing the value they have contributed to, has triggered the transformation process we are witnessing today.” She added, “The mining industry in South Africa would have a brighter future if it were to embrace this wisdom [of Ubuntu] and transform its operations from extractive models towards regenerative ones. Regenerative models open spaces for all participants and are essential for all to bring their best into the collaborative work to generate shared prosperity.
“Imagine a transformed institutional culture that affirms the dignity of all and celebrates the diverse contributions each participant brings to the party. Imagine the rise in energy levels that would be unleashed. Imagine the growing trust levels that would encourage all to share their ideas because they would know that each one of them matters and they are better together. Imagine what creativity would be unleashed when each participant is confident that they would share in the additional value they could bring to the institution!
“The transition from the traditional colonial extractive mining model would require investments in transformative processes to bring people along into a future that would be better than the past and present. Such a transition requires healing of the wounds of past models.”