RUSTENBURG - The Mining Forum of South Africa (MFSA) said that the Marikana community's discontent over the approval of the Lonmin and Sibanye Stillwater merger poses a risk similar to the 2012 massacre.
"The merging parties have failed to consult with the communities affected by Lonmin’s operations," MFSA president, Blessings Ramoba said.
"Community consultation is very vital as it enables communities directly affected by mining operations to have a meaningful participation in the process," Ramoba said.
Forty-four people were killed in Marikana near Rustenburg, North West, in August 2012 during a violent wildcat strike.
Lonmin workers downed tools demanding a minimum monthly salary of R12,500. They also rejected the majority trade union, National Union of Mineworkers and elected a committee to represent them.
On August 16 2012, thirty-four mineworkers were killed when the police opened fire on them. Ten other people including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards were killed in the week leading up to August 16.
The Competition Tribunal, the regulatory body which provides final approval for large mergers in South Africa, on Wednesday approved the proposed acquisition of Lonmin by Sibanye-Stillwater.
Sibanye offered R5.17 billion for Lonmin in a deal that would create the world's second largest platinum producer.
As recommended by the Competition Commission, the acquisition was approved subject to specific conditions, including mitigating the negative impact of job losses on more than 3,000 employees who were likely to be retrenched.
However, Ramoba said they were not happy with the approval of the merger.
"Marikana is volatile and conditions should be placed for this merger in order to address social and economic issues faced by the communities.
"Our main concern is that the 2012 incident is going to happen again as strict conditions to ensure compliance with SLPs [social labour plans] are not put in place. People are not going to accept this merger without conditions that speak to and safeguard their social and public interests," Ramoba said.
"We are immediately going to review and appeal the tribunal’s decision and there is no deal that’s going to happen here.
"The tribunal did not address the issues of SLPs, community consultation and participation fully with satisfactory conditions and therefore we are going to immediately review the Tribunal’s decision approving this merger," he saidl
He said they were still awaiting the judgement of the North West High Court after they took the department of mineral resources to court for failure to enforce Lonmin's compliance with SLPs.
"We are prepared even on this matter with the tribunal to go all the way to the highest court in the land, the Constitutional Court, and we attest that there won’t be any deal of this nature in this country," Ramoba said.
-African News Agency (ANA)