Lonmin workers on strike before the Marikana shootings. Picture: INVESTORS MONTHLY
Lonmin workers on strike before the Marikana shootings. Picture: INVESTORS MONTHLY

Communities have complained to the Competition Tribunal about a veil of secrecy around the proposed merger of Lonmin and Sibanye-Stillwater.

They warned that an already volatile situation would be stoked if   13.300 expected job losses were not mitigated.

This was submitted to the tribunal on Wednesday, the final day of its hearing on the proposed merger.

The merger is billed as the saving of Lonmin, which has been in financial dire straits for several years. But it will bring job losses, significantly affecting  local communities, including Marikana.

Affected communities asked the tribunal for tighter conditions to ensure the companies cannot shirk social obligations under their social and labour plans (SLPs).

SLPs are development plans commit to as basic conditions for mining rights.

Louie Mogaki, for the Greater Lonmin Community, said there was no consultation on the merger with most of the community, and the companies had been secretive.

Mogaki said the deal would affect local communities, which often demonstrated  for basic services.   More than 13,300 jobs would be lost at Lonmin. This   would have a significant effect on the community, unless the companies were compelled to  deliver on its SLP..

Lonmin had been found to be noncompliant with its SLPs and failed to deliver the 5,500 houses it committed to a decade ago.  In 2018, it  applied to the department of mineral resources to be allowed to scale down its commitments due to its financial constraints.

Sibanye committed to taking on all outstanding SLP obligations from Lonmin, but the community was distrustful.

Louis Snyman, for Marikana women's group Sikhala Sonke, said there was a growing culture of failure to fulfil SLPs, with  only 30% of companies  compliant.

Sikhala Sonke asked for merger conditions relating  to SLPS to be more specific so the companies could be held to account.  It asked for Lonmin to withdraw its application to reduce its commitments, given that it would be in a better financial position after the merger.

steynl@businesslive.co.za