Business and human rights have been at odds for most of SA’s history. In 1893 British periodical Truth called Cecil Rhodes “the head of a gang of shady financiers” who operated “on the principle that godless heathen ought to be mowed down with Maxim guns if they happen to inhabit a country where there may be gold”. A century later, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission documented “the role business played or failed to play in the apartheid years”, ranging from active collaboration in security structures to complicity in labour repression, pass laws and forced removals. And with the SA Human Rights Commission stating unambiguously in 2016 that “the mining sector is riddled with challenges related to land, housing, water, the environment, and an absence of sufficient participation mechanisms and access to information”, as well as a slew of more recent corruption scandals involving not only shady actors but some of the world’s most prominent corporate names, the post-apartheid story ...

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