Zimbabwe's platinum mines were an example of well-run and socially aware operations where their black management operated by the book "because they are afraid of the president", The Bench Marks Foundation’s senior researcher, David van Wyk, said yesterday.
Answering questions before Parliament’s portfolio committee on mineral resources yesterday, he said South African platinum and other miners had been less than honest about their recruitment of labour and corporate social responsibility programmes.
The presentation from the non-governmental organisation was part of a process of trying to understand what led to the Marikana massacre. A month ago police shot and killed 34 workers and injured another 78 as tensions at the Lonmin mine escalated.
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In all, 45 people were killed while the labour unrest also spread to other mines.
The Bench Marks Foundation said research on conditions at and around the North West’s platinum mines was conducted last year. The report was released two days before the massacre on August 16.
Mr van Wyk said Zimbabwean platinum mines were safe with few accidents, good living conditions and a 100 percent worker literacy rate. " All the mine management are black and they are afraid of the president so they do everything by the book ."
This showed that Zimbabwe regulatory compliance was high, unlike SA where the mining companies often bought government officials.
Mr van Wyk said women were employed wisely on those mines and even operated machinery. "Women are known to operate machinery more carefully than men and so the machinery lasts longer."
Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest platinum deposits.
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