Impala Platinum (Implats) has rejected union claims that the platinum producers have been involved in tax evasion.
The company was responding to accusations by Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) negotiator Brian Ashley, who said yesterday that platinum companies were negotiating in bad faith and might be guilty of tax evasion and wage dodging.
“Implats refutes these allegations in the strongest possible terms and views the inflammatory and unsubstantiated allegation of criminal behaviour in a very serious light,” spokesman Johan Theron said yesterday.
“We have a zero-tolerance stance on fraud and corruption and comply with all legislative and regulatory requirements governing our businesses.”
All taxation accounting was subject to careful assessment by external auditors and the tax authorities.
Theron said the company’s audited accounts were open for interrogation and scrutiny.
Ashley said earlier that the union believed the companies were dodging tax through “the process of transfer pricing or worse, mis-invoicing, which is an illegal offence”.
He claimed that mining companies could be moving part of their profits to countries with low or no tax on profits to escape tax and avoid paying higher wages.
His suspicions were based on a comparison of the companies’ annual reports and annual market prices of commodities. “We still have to put all the dots together to get to the absolute conviction that what we are dealing with is tax evasion, capital flight, and wage evasion.”
Ashley said further information would be released at a press briefing on Monday.
On Wednesday, Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi announced the establishment of an interministerial technical team to resolve the strike in the platinum sector, which entered its 19th week yesterday.
Theron said: “The producers have heeded the minister’s call for all parties to show leadership and to seek to reach an agreement during this process. So much is at stake for our companies, our employees, our communities and our country. We respectfully request that Amcu observes the same.”
Members of Amcu at Lonmin, Implats and Anglo American Platinum downed tools on January 23, demanding a minimum salary of R12 500 a month.
They rejected an offer by the employers to bring their pay to R12 500 by July 2017. - Sapa