Lonmin’s licence is under attack

A Lonmin mine shaft at Marikana. A Cape Town think tank wants the company's mining licence revoked. Photo: Leon Nicholas

A Lonmin mine shaft at Marikana. A Cape Town think tank wants the company's mining licence revoked. Photo: Leon Nicholas

Published Jul 6, 2015


Cape Town-based think tank the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) is gearing up for an international campaign to have Lonmin’s mining licence revoked due to a number of reasons.

These include the events related to the Marikana massacre during a strike by Lonmin workers and alleged tax evasion by the company.

At the same time, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) plan to lay criminal charges against the company’s directors and have demanded that Lonmin compensate victims of the Marikana killings.

Lonmin has come under fire following the release of the much anticipated Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the events leading up to the deaths of more than 40 people, including 34 mineworkers, who died in a police shootout at its Marikana Mine in mid-August 2012.

President Jacob Zuma released the Marikana report on June 25 and since then Lonmin’s share price has fallen by 13 percent.

On Friday, Lonmin’s shares declined by 1.86 percent to R20.02.

Rogue company

Brian Ashley, a director at AIDC, alleged on Friday that Lonmin was a rogue company involved in the looting of billions of rands from South Africa.

The AIDC had previously alleged that Lonmin transferred R1.2 billion between 2008 and 2012 in commission fees to Bermuda, a tax haven.

“As the AIDC, we will pursue a campaign for the company’s licence to be revoked and for the state owned mining company to take over the company,” said Ashley.

Department of Mineral Resources spokesperson, Ayanda Shezi, was not available for comment.

“I am flying off to Geneva with Amcu president (Joseph Mathunjwa) to address a UN meeting on business and human rights to call for Lonmin’s licence to be revoked. We need to hold these huge corporations to account. You cannot have a company in a country that needs to be rebuilt sucking the resources dry,” added Ashley.

Ashley said that compensation from families should be taken from the huge profits through the company’s activities in tax havens.

Julius Malema’s EFF called on the company to compensate the victims and families of the massacre.

“The EFF will institute a process of reparations against Lonmin to demand reparations and payments of all the families of deceased mineworkers of R10 million per family and R5m per injured worker,” the party said. In addition, the EFF planned to lay criminal charges against Lonmin directors for conspiring to kill workers and not protecting them.

It also accused Lonmin of tax avoidance and said they would report Lonmin to the SA Revenue Service.

Also on the compensation front, the DA is planning to table a bill in parliament when it reconvenes in August seeking compensation for the families of the victims of the Marikana massacre.

In another development, Nomzamo Zondo, a director at the Socio-Economic Institute of South Africa (Seri), which represents 36 slain mineworkers, said on Friday the organisation would shortly institute civil claims.

Civil claim

“We will be instituting a civil claim against Lonmin before the August 15, because the families have lost their breadwinners,” Zondo said. Seri is a public interest law centre. AIDC’s Ashley has forecast that Seri’s civil suit in court would be very long and drawn out. “I am not confident that the government will ensure speedy compensation,” Ashley added.

Peter Major, an analyst with Cadiz Corporate Solutions, said the government should ignore the AIDC’s call to revoke Lonmin’s licence. “Who is this AIDC anyways? Are they going to help out the 35 000 people who lose their jobs when Lonmin closes down?” asked Major.

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