Over the course of the past few months, a series of articles making serious and unsubstantiated allegations against Impala Platinum’s (Implats) Impala Rustenburg operation have been published.
These articles have, almost without exception, sought to paint Implats in a poor light on a wide variety of fronts, often without comment being sought from Implats on the allegations.
As a company committed to strong governance, we have initiated an internal audit investigation into these allegations and the results will be reported directly to the Implats group audit committee and board of directors.
We invest substantially in developing and maintaining constructive and mutually beneficial relationships with all communities around our various operations. In some instances, there are communities that feel aggrievedand excluded in the broader process of the work we do in ensuring benefit to as many as possible.
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There are forums that exist in which we discuss the communities’ imperatives and that serve as platforms to provide feedback and raise grievances while also sharing opportunities. It is our experience that often those who raise complaints refuse to use the established channels.
It is, however, important to present the accurate facts, specifically about the significant and meaningful contributions being made by Impala Rustenburg to the various communities in the region.
We contribute to communities both directly and indirectly, through the direct and indirect taxes and royalties we pay to the national fiscus, which amounted to R13.5 billion in the past financial year, the jobs we create, the local workforces we upskill, the local business opportunities we generate, the infrastructure we build and maintain, as well as the education and community health initiatives we support.
In addition to our approximately 45 000 employees, there are around 225 000 people in the Rustenburg region whose livelihoods are dependent on our mining activities.
Impala’s total labour costs for last year was approximately R15 billion, which subsequently flows directly into the Rustenburg economy. Job security and sustainability are core to our business strategy and the mine is constantly optimising, while we remain very mindful of the impact of labour restructuring on the Rustenburg economy and the consequential socioeconomic impacts.
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Over the past five years we have spent R2.3 billion on skills programmes, focused on numeracy and literacy, and developing skills that will allow community members to support themselves and their families.
Since the inception of our social and labour plans (SLP), we have invested over R600 million in local economic development projects and remain committed to ongoing delivery on all our commitments.
Impala Rustenburg’s local economic development strategy focuses on collaborating with government, the Royal Bafokeng Nation and other mining companies, to identify and implement high employment-generating projects through public-private partnerships.
During last year, various infrastructure projects were initiated and we spent R250 million on mine community development, R650 million on skills development and over R90 million on community Covid support.
More specifically, our strategic partnership with the Royal Bafokeng Nation delivers high-impact projects to mitigate the adverse socioeconomic impacts of Covid and further develop the local economy.
We estimate that 2 250 sustainable job opportunities can be established over the next three years and we are spending R17 million this year in the pursuit of achieving this goal.
Inclusive procurement and mine community enterprise and supplier development are longterm strategic focus areas.
Our operations continue to support local suppliers to withstand Covid challenges, including the provision of providing preferential early payment terms to help SMMEs manage cash flows.
Our enterprise and supplier development activities are critical enablers for increasing preferential procurement opportunities. Contrary to what has been published, Impala’s procurement activities and targets are alignedwith the transformation objectives and expectations of the 2018 Mining Charter.
Progress is reported annually to the department of mineral resources and energy.
Our spend on SLP projects is ring-fenced for host community enterprises and our sourcing provides opportunities for local businesses to participate in the Implats supply chain through formal fixed-term contracts. Of theR9.1 billion procurement spend in 2021, 16% was with suppliers located in our key, host communities.
In 2022, spend in these communities is expected to increase 23% to R1.6 billion. At Impala Rustenburg, thefounders of 40 high-potential SMMEs, including 17 woman-owned and 17 youth-owned businesses, were trained and mentored through an enterprise development programme.
Of the 40 SMME’s, 27 have been approved as suppliers to the mine with orders to the value of R5.8 million since January 2021. These SMMEs supply varying goods and services, including consulting services, farming and agro-processing, construction and engineering services.
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Over the past year, the Impala Rustenburg vendor committee has approved more than 50 new local entrantsas suppliers to the mine, which contributed over R42 million worth of opportunities for small businesses.
The initiatives outlined above are only a fraction of our community orientated initiatives. In addition, we have industry-leading housing developments, we support local schools and have extensive skills development programmes.
We have implemented several community infrastructure upgrades, including the upgrade and establishment of several community roads, clinics, libraries and recreation centres in our mine-host regions.
Additionally, and in all our operating jurisdictions, we have maintained comprehensive Covid response plans to safeguard and support employees and host communities, achieving a rate of more than 85% of fully vaccinatedemployees and contractors, with 100% full vaccination achieved at three of Implats’ seven operations across South Africa, Zimbabwe and Canada.
Implats is fully committed to and takes its responsibility to supporting its host communities and supply chain seriously and considers it a competitive advantage to sustain meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships.
It is core to how we do things.
Article by Lee-Ann Samuel, Implats Group executive.