The BBBEE credentials of Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH) have come under severe attack in the latest research findings of the Bench Marks Foundation.
The NGO which monitors sustainability in the mining industry, Bench Marks, released this week its latest research findings about platinum mining in the North-West Province. The conclusion are generally scathing about the impact of the industry to communities surrounding platinum mining operations. In a survey pillared by the views of community members the behavior of mining giants like Anglo Platinum, Impala Platinum, Lonmin and Xstrata were heavily criticized.
On RBH, the Bench Mark survey which has largely been celebrated as a successful BBBEE model, the Bench Marks survey unearthed protesting voices from members of communities touched by the RBH. The RBH is positioned as a BBBEE vehicle of the so-called Royal Bafokeng Nation
“Communities complain that the present agreements between Royal Bafokeng Holdings and the mining corporations suit the mining corporations and the Royal Bafokeng Authority (RBA), while they experience the degradation of their land and environment as a result of mining”.
Voices in the survey include the following: “All the developments take place in Phokeng where the king stays, we don‟t see any development here in Chaneng. We want a building for our traditional council”. (Mchizo, Chaneng resident).
“They tell us that the mine belongs to us. But we have never even set eyes on a share certificate. Our community has never seen revenue from this mine, nor have we been consulted on how to spend that money from the mine. We have never been part of the budget process of either the mine or of the Royal Bafokeng Nation”. (Gomolemo, Luka resident).
“The Bafokeng Model should be questioned. The Bench Marks Foundation considers this model a form of community capture rather than a model of community participation”.
There is no doubt that the model has generated immense wealth, but despite this, it has achieved very little welfare and negligent human development. “What we see in the area under the control of the RBN is an emphasis on customary rights constructed along the lines of the old British model of indirect rule, which gives prominence to the despotic in traditional society, while undermining the democratic aspects of that society. It is a system that has served mining capital well for more than a century of colonialism and Apartheid, but it should not as a system be encouraged in a democratic post-Apartheid society, particularly in that it deprives the individual of civil rights while making him or her vanish into the collective community assumed by customary rights. Mahmood Mamdani correctly identifies this as a primary cause of state failure in post colonial Africa”.
For more of this research see: http://www.bench-marks.org.za/