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Social and labour plans are binding legal obligations, not targets to be pursued if the company does well, writes Lisa Chamberlain THERE is no question that it has been important to search for truth and accountability for the events that took place on August 16 2012 and the days immediately preceding them. But one of the biggest failings of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry is that so little of its focus went to the context in which those events played out. In the early days of the commission, it looked as if underlying contextual issues, such as living conditions and systemic inequalities in the mining industry, might get some airtime in the mysterious "Phase 2". Sadly, this was not to be. The commission’s report is 646 pages long; 22 of those pages deal with housing conditions for mine workers and their families.Nevertheless, perhaps we should be grateful this made it into the report at all. The limited slice of context addressed in the report centres on social and labour plans (...

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