The chief executive officer (CEO) of Sibanye-Stillwater, Neal Froneman, has defended the astonishing R300.3 million paid to him last year in remuneration.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Froneman said the company would not be bullied into unsustainable wage demands at its gold mines amid wage increase demands from mining unions that have described his R300 million payout as immoral.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have been striking over salary increases at Sibanye-Stillwater for almost three months.
The workers are demanding an increase of R1,000 a month. The gold miner is offering R850 each year for three years.
‘I had nothing to do with my remuneration’
Froneman defended his bonus for the 2021 financial year, saying he had worked hard to increase the company’s profits and save jobs.
He said executive remuneration was not well understood, explaining that his salary and bonuses – including long-term incentives – were determined by non-executive directors and remuneration specialists.
Froneman also said his pay was benchmarked against his peers in the mining industry.
“I had nothing to do with my remuneration. Only a small portion, I think R28 million in this case, is a cash remuneration that is paid by the company. The 270-million of shares is a cost to the shareholder,” he was quoted as saying.
Froneman said the company’s shareholders approved his executive remuneration, adding that he was not against the idea of being transparent about his earnings.
“If you have not delivered and you receive remuneration like this, then you should be embarrassed, but to be honest the Sibanye team has shot the lights out.
“Our gold division only had five years of life. We have still got 10 to 13 years of life. We have saved 30,000 jobs.”
Froneman added that Sibanye outperformed world-class companies like Barrick Gold, Newmont, Impala Platinum, Gold Fields and Anglo American Platinum.
“This is not unfair remuneration. It is also an incentive that is at risk. If we did not perform, we would not receive this. It is not that it is a guaranteed return. It is a very important difference.”