JOHANNESBURG - Marikana mining communities have decried the dismissal of their application to appeal the R5.2 billion merger of Sibanye-Stillwater and Lonmin Plc which they said would give the two miners legal sanctions to renege on the building of 5 500 housing units as recommended by the Judge Richard Farlam Commission.
“The houses have not been built and now Sibanye is going to walk away without being bound by any court." Louie Mogaki of Khanyile MB Attorneys Inc, which represents the Greater Lonmin Community (GLC) said in reaction to the judgement.
The Constitutional Court on Thursday dismissed, without costs, the application for leave to appeal brought by the GLC to set aside the acquisition of Lonmin by Sibanye-Stillwater.
The GLC is a not-for-profit organisation representing various affected communities of Rustenburg, such as Marikana, Mooinooi, Majakeng, Tornado, Nkaneng, and Bapo ba Mogale.
The organisation went to court in July and applied for direct access and leave to appeal the Competition Appeal Court ruling which upheld the Competition Tribunal's decision to approve the transaction last November.
Sibanye-Stillwater acquired Lonmin in June subject to certain specific conditions after 18 months of talks and litigation.
The GLC wanted the apex court to declare sections of the merger unconstitutional and to declare the merger irregular.
It argued that the Competition Tribunal erred in approving the merger with conditions, without proper investigation of Lonmin’s social labour plan (SLP), which was in the process of being amended at the time.
But the court said the application for leave to appeal bore no reasonable prospects of success, and dismissed GLC’s application for direct access saying the organisation had not made a case that was sufficiently in the interests of justice.
Mogaki said the ruling would set a bad precedence against mining communities that companies can use the courts to ignore their inherited responsibilities.
“We will await for the copy of the judgement and familiarise ourselves with the aspects of the judgement before we release a full media statement. But I am shattered,” Mogaki said.
Sibanye’s chief executive Neal Froneman said the ruling would bring an end to all proceedings.
Froneman said the GLC’s claims had been properly dealt with before by the Competition Appeal Court and the Competition Tribunal, and were frivolous.
“It is unfortunate that certain stakeholders seem unable to recognise the plight that faced the Lonmin operations and, instead of engaging with us, continue to pursue spurious and expensive legal alternatives,” he said.
“We are sensitive to the needs of our communities and remain committed to ongoing engagement and to delivering on Lonmin’s Social and Labour Plan commitments as recorded in the conditions handed down by the Competition Tribunal and reiterated by the Competition Appeal Court.”