Fight for justice: Bishop Jo Seoka is to attend a Lonmin annual meeting in London to speak to shareholders over mineworkers’ demands after the Marikana massacre. Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Fight for justice: Bishop Jo Seoka is to attend a Lonmin annual meeting in London to speak to shareholders over mineworkers’ demands after the Marikana massacre. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

The Bench Marks Foundation says it will campaign to persuade Lonmin shareholders to divest from the platinum miner, should it not meet the organisation’s housing, wage and compensation demands by the fifth anniversary of the Marikana massacre in August.

The nonprofit organisation, which monitors corporate social responsibility in SA, will also take the unusual step of attending the group’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Thursday in London, where it will address shareholders on its concerns.

The group said on Monday it wanted to compel Lonmin shareholders to commit to divest from the company should it fail to meet the demands made by the foundation.

It will be five years in 2017 since the massacre, which saw 34 miners shot and killed in a strike in which workers were marching for a R12,500 basic monthly wage and better living conditions. Foundation chairman Bishop Jo Seoka, who is planning to attend the Lonmin AGM on behalf of the foundation, said that the organisation would "not rest until justice is achieved for the massacred, arrested and the widows and orphans [who have been] left behind".

Some of the foundation’s demands include a living wage of R12,500 per month for mine workers, tackling the housing needs of 33,000 workers who it says still live in informal settlements and a compensation for the widows, orphans and injured survivors.

The foundation said although Lonmin had employed many of the widows of the killed miners and offered school support for children, it was not enough.

Should Lonmin not meet the demands, the foundation said it would call for international solidarity to have Lonmin’s mining licence revoked. In December, President Jacob Zuma threatened to revoke Lonmin’s mining licence for failing to comply with its own housing targets.

Lonmin CEO Ben Magara said on Friday the company had met the foundation to find ways of solving the housing issue.

Lonmin spokeswoman Wendy Tlou said the company was open about the challenges it was facing. Tlou said Magara would meet the foundation again on Tuesday to continue their discussions.

"We need to understand the role the NGOs play in keeping companies like ours in check and after five years of the Marikana tragedy, we expect stakeholders want to know, and if it was up to us we would have done a lot more.

"We are a reaching out to Bench Marks to say, let’s work together where you are stronger and have better relationships," Tlou said.

The company had committed to spend R500m in the next five years to improve workers’ living conditions, she added.

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