Sam Nong
5 minute read
23 Dec 2021
7:46 pm

Kanana villagers reject Implats’ claims of caring as ‘hogwash’

Sam Nong

In the face of disgruntled local businesses and community – amid an excessive red tape and lack of opportunities – no amount of media public relations by Impala, can wipe off the truth.

BATTLE OF DAVID AND GOLIATH: Executive members of the Kanana Business Forum are (from the left) Mokete Moatshe, Sam Nong, Rapula Modibane and Tshepang Moatshe. Picture: Brian Sokutu

The Kanana Business Forum (KBF) – a structure representing local business interest at the Kanana village where Impala Platinum Mines in Rustenburg is operating – has noted with disdain the hogwash reply that Implats has given in articles published in The Citizen on 15 December 2021 and the UK-based newspaper the Daily Mirror on 14 December 2021.

The hogwash and papering over cracks by Implats through the article, is full of inaccurate facts as management is trying by all means necessary to put Impala in good light.

It is of paramount importance to highlight that none of concerns raised by the KBF with Impala, were answered. We are demanding business opportunities from Impala – in lin with the Mining Charter, which is a legally-binding law governing mining operations in South Africa.

As a business forum Subsquent to our protest march to the regional offices of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) in Klerksdorp, the DMRE initiated a rountable discussions with Impala Rustenburg management in February 2021 for us to find one another. But up till now, there has been no progress.

ALSO READ: Implats states its case, denies allegations levelled against it

Focusing on 16 Shaft, situated in Kanana, our demands are simple. We are calling for:

  • Social and labour plans (SLP), mindful of Impala’s failure to  provide us with copies of the SLP since 2006 – the starting date of the 16 Shaft operations. There has been no current and fully implemented SLPs for Kanana.
  • The disbandment of the current vendor committee forum, we consider as a bureaucratic red tap meant to exclude local small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).
  • The provision by the company of a list of all service providers that are currently contracted with 16 Shaft and be shown the spend on each contracted company.
  • The designing and implementation programmes that serve to empower local small businesses – backed by the knowledge and tendering skills. Local Projects must given to local companies only, with local SMMEs co-opted into the underground mining to transfer skills – couppled with fair process, not just for the connected few.
  • Reshuffling of management staff who include Manie Prinsloo and Mark Munroe – seen as racists lacking frontline qualities, with no respect for the local community.
  • Implementation of the the doorstep policy – instead of the unworkable tier1 policy. We want to seek a policy adopted by surrounding mining communities within the Kanana to achieve maximum participation of the local SMME sector.
  • Clarity on current categories of mining spend: localised suppliers in core mining, localised suppliers in mining support, localised suppliers in non-core mining.
  • Inclusive procurement: suppliers and enterprise development scorcrad for 2020 as per the Mining Charter.
  • Information sharing on the number of companies contracted to work at16 Shaft – not from Kanana village
  • Procurement spend of 16 shaft since inception and how many companies from Kanana have benefited out of the procurement spend in each financial year.

We find it appalling and patheic that a local and foreign-listed giant like Impala – with all resoucers avaialble to them to empower a local village where its mining operations are based – is unable to respond and address simple  demands from the KBF – complying with the Mining Charter on procurement spend.

Kanana, a poverty-stricken village with a small population is besieged by destitution: lack of jobs, no opportunities for local businesses and no development.

ALSO READ: Implats being probed for alleged violations of Mining Charter

This is while the Impala group production indicated a 40% production from Kana alone on 30 June 2021.

To further compund the community situation, no one is being compensated by the mine when homes crack or fall due to rock blasting and drilling at 16 Shaft. The phrase “a caring company” is just meant to give a good public relations meaning to investors and shareholders.

This company simply does not care.

In the face of disgruntled local businesses and community – amid an excessive red tape and lack of opportunities – no amount of media public relations by Impala, can wipe off the truth.

In terms of procurement – from water to meat – goods and services at 16 Shaft, are provided by companies outside Kanana, with management claiming there are no butcheries in the village.

We have been engagement fruitlessly with mine management, without any tangible results.

Their reponse only seeks to undermine our intelligency and potray local SMME’s as “rebels and an unreasonable groupings”. We refute such claims that our members don’t want to follow the standard procedure to access opportunities. We have followed and continue to follow all the process to the latter.

We have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that Impala is an apartheid legacy project, seeking to advance racism, undermine and marginalise local black-owned SMMEs and the community.

As a host community and business forum, responsible for three shafts – 10 Shaft,16 Shaft and 17 Shaft , we continue to suffer and experience economic exclusion.

The recent Impala replay sought to undermine our struggle and the generic response that was provided doesn’t speak to our issues.

ALSO READ: Implats remain defensive over broken promises in platinum rich NW

We plead with Impala investors and shareholders – in South Africa and abroad – to apply pressure on the company to visit our village, meet with KBF members and apply pressure on Impala management to return to the engagement table.

What we are asking for, which is enshrined in the Mining Charter, is not impossible – in line with international best practice. 

We want the comoany to publicly apologise to the local community and acknowledge that Kanana has been neglected and more needs to be to accommodate and redress the current sad reality.

We are not surprised with their defensive approach that seeks to promote Impala as a legally-compliant company.

Ours is to simply assist Impala to compile with the Mining Charter – particularly on enterprise development and prioritising host communities.

ALSO READ: Locals feel short-changed as Implats keeps probe internal

Failure to comply or acceed to our demands, can only serve to harden attitudes between the mine and local villagers, who will be left with no choice but to shut down the three mining operations.

Article by Sam Nong, chairperson of the Kanana Business Forum