Who We Are

Bench Marks Foundation was founded by the Churches in 2001 to monitor all multinational companies in South Africa and the region, with a regional focus on South African companies’ expansion into Africa. It has done work on South African supermarkets in Africa, on whether they are purely extractive or contribute to host countries economic development. It has a big focus on mining and extractive both in South Africa and in Botswana, Zambia and the DRC, as well as Malawi. This focus has also led to focus on the relationship between banks investment policies and mining and other sectors of the economy.

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Bench Marks Foundation has worked with a number of international NGO’s on human rights due diligence and of the biggest buyers of platinum and international companies supply chain responsibilities encompassing human rights and the environment.  With a focus on South African Companies expanding into the rest of Africa.

Bench Marks Foundation works with an international coalition of faith-based organizations from around the world that developed the Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility-Bench Marks for Measuring Business Performance, that has been hailed as one of four leading instruments that set benchmarks for social responsibility through the lens of corporate social responsibility covering all sectors of the economy


To be on every company’s agenda and to be a household name


Bench Marks Foundation is committed to providing leadership and advocacy on bench marking of good corporate governance, ethical and socially responsible investment as well as linking people and institutions committed to these ideals


Pro poor and on the side of those suffering – an option and solidarity for the poor, speaking truth to power, to the promotion, attainment, and restoration of human dignity. A Values driven organization that is highly ethical, accountable and acts with integrity and has an excellent track record both in its work, governance, and financial integrity.

Research - Policy Gap Series

We critically examine CSR through the lens of investment and investment impacts. Is it good or bad? Do the costs outweigh the benefits? Companies, governments and civil society, both locally and globally, recognize us as a key role player and opinion maker regarding CSR and sustainable development.

Voice Power and Media Advocacy

Currently communities are severely disadvantaged when it comes to mining companies. Communities often lack information and access to expert advice, and end up giving their rights away.They also lack recourse to justice when they are aggrieved. Women and children are particularly impacted.

Community Monitoring School

The Bench Marks Foundation has mobilized and trained members from over forty communities in South Africa to monitor corporations and local government. Community Monitors report on their findings using internet, social media, local radio and newsletters.

The Independent Capacity Building Fund (ICF) And The Independent Problem Solving Service

Currently communities are severely disadvantaged when it comes to mining companies. Communities often lack information and access to expert advice, and end up giving their rights away.They also lack recourse to justice when they are aggrieved.

John Capel, Executive Director of the Bench Marks Foundation, has resigned effective from 31 December 2021. He has served the organization with distinction over the last twenty years. the board and staff thank him for his services and wish him well in his future endeavors. the deputy Director Moses Cloete will serve as acting Executive Director in the interim.

South Africa – The Most Unequal Country in the world?

#6 Dear Friends , there is so much happening now, and the year has just truly finished its first quarter. This edition will not do justice to all that we and the wider social justice movement are engaged in but we hope will keep you in touch to seek more information, more knowledge. We touch […]

…dislocated from their lands, traditions on false promises

#5 Dear Freind, this second edition of 2022 sees the Foundation trying to consolidate its resources and committing to do more with less, to work smarter. It contains a number of important resources for citizens as it deals with the sanctity and essence of water in our lives and relations between humans, the Right to […]

Battle of ideas for an egalitarian society continues

#4 Dear Friend, this first edition in 2022 brings news of the departure of the founding Executive Director of the Bench Marks Foundation, John Capel. Bishop Jo Seoka and staff wish John well in his future endeavours and know that he has laid a good foundation for future work. A full tribute from his comrades […]

The country is literally burning from climate change?

#3 Dear Friend, the month of November is usually filled with news and expectations of various kinds, in particular the long awaited holidays, Christmas and New Year Celebrations. Yet this November – December combined Bulletin will contain much news, most of it unexpected but nevertheless unforgettable. First the big news: Climate catastrophe will be our […]


In 2021, convening the AMI in the usual fashion was a challenge given the restrictions that came with the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time in 12 years, the conference was held virtually under the theme, “Building forward together, pivoting the extractives sector for adaptation and resilience against Covid-19”.

The AMI took place at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in the deaths of thousands of Africans, and over two million people worldwide, having ravaged communities and pushed millions into further poverty amidst exacerbating levels of socio-economic inequality to unprecedented levels.

The AMI2022 Theme: ‘A just energy transition for sustainable mining communities in a climate crisis era’.

watch Alternative Indaba 2022 Live

courtesy artist: http://pitikantuli.com/marikana-photos/

10 Years After Marikana Podcast

This podcast is a recording of a workshop convened by the Bench Marks Foundation. The aim of these workshops was to record and develop a critical understanding of the significance of Marikana to mining communities and society at large.

This workshop was organised under the theme 10 years Marikana: Where to? This hybrid event, organised in person with people gathering in Rustenburg and online, is now edited as a two-part podcast. The participants are all scholar-activists with long association with the community of Marikana and the justice campaign for the victims of the massacre of 2012.

The running order of the podcast is as follows:

Part 1:
– Chairperson / facilitator Eric Mokuoa introduces the speakers and provides commentary;
– Sonwabile Mnwana (Rhodes University),a sociologist and senior researcher focusing on land and politics of resource extraction;
– Asanda Benya (University of Cape Town), a feminist activist working on labour and gender issues in the mining sector;
– Andy Higginbottom (London based Marikana Solidarity Collective), secretary of the City of London Anti-apartheid Group (late 1980s) and still active in support of social movement in Latin America, South Africa; and
– Ngaka Mosiane Senior Researcher (Gauteng City-Region Observatory), focusing on future directions of informal housing research, theory, and methodology.

10 Years After Marikana Podcast Part 2

Part 2:
– Respondent David Ramohanoe is a social justice activist, passionate about land reform, community development and industrial relations. He is also the Chairperson of Wonderkop Land Claims Committee.
– The Questions and Answers involved questions and discussion from the floor.
The media picked on one comment made by Bishop Jo Seoka, where he called on “President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign and that he be arrested for his alleged involvement in the 2012 Marikana Massacre.” This SABC report took the sensational route – to society at large – when they reported that “President Ramaphosa failed to apologise and show remorse for what happened in Marikana. Bishop Seoka also called for the dismissal of cases against the injured and arrested mineworkers.”

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