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ARCHIVES (PDF Only)

2020 ARCHIVES

 Summary of BMC Closure Report September 2019 – 30/01/2020

Initial discussions by the Bench Marks Foundation (BMF) with the North West University began in 2006…

2019 ARCHIVES

Amplats Called upon to embark on a genuine Audit Exercise – 10/10/2019

… The mining giant’s claim in the media that it is open to independent audits needs to be viewed with some caution.

New Legislation will infringe on the constitutional Rights and Welfare of 17 million People – 04/06/2019

A new piece of legislation, the Traditional Khoisan and Leadership Bill will see millions of people lose any democratic rights the constitution infers upon them, says the Bench Marks Foundation…

Click the image to listen to BIshop Jo Seoka interviewed on radio about his address to the Mining Indaba.

Page will open in a new window. Click the pink button to start the recording – Uploaded 06/02/2019

Protect the Land from Land Grabbers, Bishop to tell Mining Indaba – 04/02/2019

Democratically elected leaders such as cabinet ministers should protect communities from land grabbers. Instead, people’s land continues to be stripped, degraded and ultimately destroyed for profit from mining activities…

Minister warned not to intimidate anti-mining Community – 10/01/2019

Any survey of residents of Xolobeni about mining commissioned by government will simply amount to intimidation and could be in contravention of a recent ruling of the North Gauteng High Court…

2018 ARCHIVES

 Illegal mining Threat Reports are Baseless – 28/11/2018

Media articles claiming that small scale mining by so-called zama zamas is posing a threat to Johannesburg’s safety are completely baseless, according to the Bench Marks Foundation…

Judgment is ‘game changer’ for communities – 22/11/2018

Today’s judgment in the North Gauteng Court is a game-changing victory for the right of communities in South Africa to be properly consulted before mining rights are issued, the Bench Marks Foundation says…

No Place in the Sun for Mining Communities – 22/10/2018

There is currently no place in the sun for mining-impacted communities in South Africa, and the cold darkness of the night continues for them as they are excluded from any meaningful consultation or decision making processes…

Mindset Shift need for new way of Mining – 22/10/2018

It is imperative that South Africa adopts a new way of mining that fits in with a vision of a sustainable society, according to the Chairperson of the Bench Marks Foundation, Bishop Jo Seoka…

New Dawn or continuing NIghtmare? – 22/10/2018

Whether there is a new dawn for mining impacted communities, or whether their past and current nightmare of existence continues will be the focus of the annual conference of the Bench Marks Foundation, starting today…

Keynote Address by the Rt Rev’d Jo Seoka – 22/10/2018

A year has passed since we met at our conference in 2017. It has been a momentous and eventful year, one which has seen many developments for those in and impacted by the mining industry…

Fury at Mantashe, Police Action at Xolobeni Meeting – 24/09/2018

The tactics employed by police at yesterday’s chaotic community meeting at Xolobeni on the Wild Coast are reminiscent of those used by the apartheid police, the Bench Marks Foundation said today…

The following Block of Articles relates to Policy GAP 13

 

Amplats’ Shareholders cashed in; Communities and Workers still losing out – 05/09/2018

Amplats shareholders, rather than workers and communities, benefited the most from the “good years” prior to the global financial crash of 2008, according to a study by Bench Marks Foundation released today in Johannesburg…

 

Small Fraction of Shareholder Value allocated to Workers’ Housing – 05/09/2018

Amplats’ allocation of R1.14 billion for housing projects represents only 2.79% of total dividends paid to shareholders from 2003 to 2008, a new publication by Bench Marks Foundation says…

 

Amplats’ Information inadequate for proper green Study – 05/09/2018

Information provided by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) in its sustainable development reporting (SDR) over a period of 13 years is inadequate to fully assess a mining company’s impact on biodiversity and ecosystems…

 

Comprehensive Model needed to measure Mining Impact – 05/09/2018

The mining industry urgently needs to adopt a comprehensive accounting model that will enable it to disclose all benefits and costs to stakeholders, the Bench Marks Foundation said today…

 

Call for more Consistency in sustainable Development Reports – 05/09/2018

Mining companies, including Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), need to disclose the impact of their activities more consistently than they currently do in their sustainable development reports (SDR), according to Bench Marks Foundation…

 

Marikana Massacre: Justice delayed is Justice denied – 15/08/2018

Justice delayed to the families of the Marikana massacre victims is justice denied to them, the Bench Marks Foundation said on the eve of the 6th anniversary of the massacre…

Summit a potential Farce, says Bench Marks Foundation – 06/06/2018

Bench Marks Foundation has accused the Minister of Mineral Resources of ignoring structures that represent mining communities and has described this weekend’s summit on the Mining Charter as a potential farce…

New Charter a Step in the right Direction, but the Devil is still in the Detail – 03/07/2018

The proposed new Mining Charter is a step in the right direction, but the devil remains in some of the detail that must still be clarified, according to the Executive Director of the Bench Marks Foundation, John Capel…

Mining Charter full of Ambiguity and Nuances that need Clarity (Article in Business Day) – 03/07/2018

The debate about mining frequently fails to recognise that mining activity means local communities give up their land and their livelihoods, and suffer severe health effects, along with water and air contamination and soil erosion…

Sibanye-Stillwater Safety Record raises Questions – 12/06/2018

 

The relatively high number of deaths at Sibanye-Stillwater mines this year could be an indication that the company is putting profits and acquisitions ahead of the safety of workers, says John Capel…

Platinum for the World Market, Iron Shacks for the Workers – 15/05/2018

Living and Working Conditions in Marikana five Years after the Massacre (Large File, availabe as PDF only)…

Address by Jo Seoka to BASF Shareholders Meeting – 08/05/2018

Dear shareholders of BASF, for the last years we have been appealing to the conscience of your management and your board of directors, to take social responsibility along their platinum supply chain seriously…

The following Block of Articles relates to the recent Court Case
in which Bench Marks Foundation was a Litigant

 

Ground-breaking Court Case to impact SA Mining Communities – 22/04/2018

In a ground-breaking case, a South African court will hear on Monday that the only way to mitigate the impact of mining is through ensuring that communities have the right to say ‘no’ to mining…

Mining Charter: Who is fooling Whom? – 22/04/2018

In his haste to get the job done, the new Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, proceeded without including mining communities in a mini-indaba in mid-March…

Sunrise Sector for Whom? – 22/04/2018

If the mining sector is to be a sun-shine sector it has to ensure, it does not crowd out the search for clean, democratic and empowering alternatives, and factors the very real concerns of the water crisis and climate change…

Draft Press Statement by Mantashe 15 March 2018 – 22/04/2018

The Bench Marks Foundation is concerned that this weekend planned meeting with labour, business and governments excludes communities…

The Heads of Argument – 22/04/2018

On the Wild Coast there is an area called Umgungundlovu. It is an area of immense natural beauty where several hundred people – the Applicants. This case arises because the sands of Umgungundlovu are rich in titanium…

Response by Department of Mineral Resources Minister – 22/04/2018

I wish to make it clear, at the very outset, that the respondents oppose this application on principally the following grounds…

Bench Marks supporting Affidavit – 22/04/2018

The foundation has formed a more nuanced view of mining. While mining can provide benefits, communities are vulnerable to grevious harm that can outweigh any gains…

 

Charter discussions do not augur well – 20/03/2018

The exclusion of community representatives from the inaugural discussion about the mining charter that took place over the past weekend does not augur well for the charter’s future, says Bench Marks Foundation…

New minister may listen to community voices – 28/02/2018

The Bench Marks Foundation has welcomed the appointment of Gwede Mantashe as the minister of mineral resources, adding that he may be the right person to fully grasp the industry and its impacts and listen to the voice of civil society and communities’ concerns…

Impartial facilitators will help solve intractable conflicts in mining – 06/02/2018

Participation in an independent problem-solving service will help solve intractable conflicts of interest around the mining industry…

Mine bosses told: Change your attitudes – 06/02/2018

A leading non-government organisation today told mining bosses at the Alternative African Mining Indaba to change their attitudes and to shift their mind-sets and defensiveness…

Mining legislation in Africa gone back to colonial days – 05/02/2018

Mining in Africa has reverted to the pre-independence days of colonialism in which legal regimes exist primarily to facilitate profit for mine owners, according to Dr Yao Graham, executive director of Third World Network in Ghana…

Mining power to be challenged by community voices – 04/02/2018

A unique platform for communities gathers tomorrow in Cape Town, determined to continue its quest for the parallel African Mining Indaba to hear the voices of civil society and people impacted and affected by mining…

2017 ARCHIVES

Bench Marks dismisses DRDGold criticism as fatuous – 05/09/2017

Responding to criticism of its latest report, Policy Gap 12, the Bench Marks Foundation said today it has earned international respect for its use of credible scientific research, as well as its accurate reflection of community views, in its reports over the past decade…

Acid mine drainage real threat to mine-impacted communities – 29/08/2017

Acid mine drainage (AMD), the result of over a century of abusive mining practice, has become a real threat to the wellbeing of residents of townships adjacent to mining activities in Gauteng…

Call for compensation into asbestos in Soweto – 29/08/2017

The Bench Marks Foundation has called for a parliamentary enquiry into compensation for residents of Soweto whose houses still contain asbestos, despite the building material having been banned on 28 March 2008…

British shareholders castigated for taking gold’s profit – 29/08/2017

South Africa could have been a wealthy country with all its citizens enjoying a decent standard of living had some of the returns from gold mining stayed here instead of making huge profits for mainly British shareholders…

Largest concentration of uranium on planet threatens Joburg – 29/08/2017

Thanks to over a century of mining, Johannesburg’s population is living on the largest concentration of radioactive uranium on the planet…

Gauteng sitting on radioactive time bomb – 29/08/2017

The people of Johannesburg and Soweto are living on a radioactive health time bomb, thanks to one of the largest mine-produced and naturally occurring concentrations of uranium on the planet…

Radioactive sand being used in housing – 29/08/2017

The unregulated use of radioactive sand drawn from mine tailings/slimes waste for low-cost housing in Soweto is putting thousands of its residents at risk of developing cancer…

Respiratory ailments associated with living close to mine dumps – 29/08/2017

Communities living in the shadows of Johannesburg’s infamous mine dumps are at greater risk of respiratory illnesses than those of the city’s leafy northern suburbs, a new study by the Bench Marks Foundation has found…

Mining’s legacy is a massive environmental challenge – 29/08/2017

Over a century of abusive mining practice in Gauteng has put the province’s supply of fresh water at severe risk, and left current and future generations with a massive, dangerous and expensive environmental challenge…

Building houses in exclusion zones courts disaster -29/08/2017

Local government authorities that are allowing housing to be built within 500 metres of tailings dams and other mine waste sites are courting disaster, according to the Bench Marks Foundation…

Policy Gap 12: “Waiting to inhale”: A survey of Household Health in Four Mine Affected Communities – 23/08/2017

The Bench Marks Foundation invites you to the launch of our latest research study, Policy Gap 12: “Waiting to inhale”: A study on household health and wellbeing in four mine impacted Soweto communities …

Platinum for the World Market, Iron Shacks for the Workers – 17/08/2017

Living and Working Conditions in Marikana Five Years After the Massacre [PDF only (5.5Mb)]…

Justice still far off for Marikana Victims – 14/08/2017

Five years after the Marikana massacre, justice for the victims is still far off, the Bench Marks Foundation says on the eve of the 2012 shooting that left 34 striking Lonmin mineworkers dead and a further 78 injured…

Mines going into Suspension need to provide social Grants – 11/08/2017

Mining companies going into a state of suspension should establish a system of social grants to support the mineworkers they are retrenching, according to the Bench Marks Foundation…

Flawed Charter will further bedevil Relationships – 19/06/2017

The new Mining Charter is a flawed document that is the result of inadequate consultation with communities, and is set to further bedevil relationships among stakeholders in the industry…

Platinum Consumer Giant urged to act responsibly – 17/05/2017

Trade unions, miners and NGOs have again demanded that the world’s biggest consumer of platinum pressurise Lonmin to adequately improve living and working conditions of workers…

DMR called to legitemise “zama zama” mining – 29/03/2017

As minerals such as gold become depleted in South Africa, the country needs to formalise and legitimise “zama zama” or survivalist mining…

Current mining practices not working for Africa’s people – 08/02/2017

Mining is not working for the people of Africa and current mining practices are causing harm to the health, wellbeing and survival of communities on the continent…

Bishop slams Africa Mining Vision – 07/02/2017

The Africa Mining Vision (AMV) represents the voice of foreign investors, and does not speak on behalf of the people of Africa…

Gap is as wide as ever – 06/02/2017

The suggestion that the gap between mining companies and communities impacted by them is not as wide as perceived is absurd…

Mining Indabas urged to call for release of civil society delegation – 05/02/2017

The Bench Marks Foundation has called for the release of members of a Tanzanian fact-finding mission who were arrested in northern Malawi in December last year…

Forced Relocation of Community through Violence, Intimidation, and Exclusion – 06/02/2017

South African gold-mining giant AngloGold Ashanti acquired land to extend its open pit gold mine in Guinea through violence, intimidation, and other unethical behavior…

Lonmin is to apologize! – 02/02/2017

An international alliance of non-governmental organizations has increased the pressure on the British-South African mining company Lonmin to show goodwill…

Community’s Plight underlines need for proper Compensation – 01/02/2017

The plight of a community near Sishen in the Northern Cape highlights once again the need to properly and adequately compensate people who are impacted by mining…

Lonmin shareholders to be challenged on Marikana obligations – 23/01/2017

Shareholders of mining company Lonmin will this week face a challenge from the Bench Marks Foundation to compel the company to meet its obligations in respect of workers’ needs by the fifth anniversary of the Marikana massacre…

2016 ARCHIVES

Bench Marks Foundation says Housing Tensions are on the boil again – 13/12/2016

Tensions in the Marikana community around the Lonmin Platinum mine are again running high over housing, with at least one activist having been killed over this issue in recent days…

14 years on, and Water is still a problem for rural Village – 27/10/2016

Access to water is a basic human right, but a community in the Limpopo Province, relocated 14 years ago to make way for a platinum mine, still does not enjoy adequate and reliable access to this vital commodity…

Call to protect communities from corporate predators – 27/10/2016

The Bench Marks Foundation (BMF) has called for the Constitution to be amended to protect customary communities from predatory actions by corporations…

Market Compensation for relocated Communities entirely inadequate – 26/10/2016

Depending on the market as a mechanism to compensate relocated communities for the loss of their land is “entirely inadequate”, a report by the Bench Marks Foundation, “Life before and during mining”, says….

Mines challenged to create sustainable Jobs through Sisal, Aloe Vera – 26/10/2016

Modern mining operators in Sekhukhuneland should revive the market for biodegradable bags and ropes made of sisal. This could also result in sustainable job creation under community ownership and management, as well as being environmentally sustainable…

Social Disorders widespread in mining-relocated Village – 25/10/2016

Depression, unemployment, substance and alcohol abuse are the legacies for a community in rural Sekhukhuneland of their relocation 14 years ago to make way for a new platinum mine, according to members of the community…

Home destroyed on eve of study launch – 25/10/2016

The home of a member of a rural community was burnt down last night while he was on his way to speak at the launch of a study about the negative impact of mining on his community…

Sign of hope from ICC – but SA has withdrawn (Masego Madzwamuse Address) – 24/10/2016

The decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that company executives, politicians and other actors can be tried for land grabbing and environmental destruction is a sign of hope in the age of mining impunity…

CONFERENCE & AGM
Mineral-rich but people still poverty-stricken (Bishop’s Opening Address) – 24/10/2016

Despite its mineral resources, the SADC region has the worst health and poverty gap on the planet, the Chairperson of the Bench Marks Foundation, Bishop Dr Jo Seoka, said this morning in Braamfontein…

Policy GAP 11 – 24/10/2016

Life Before and During Mining – The relocation and struggles of the Magobading Community, Limpopo…

2015 Annual Report Published – 24/10/2016

As we reflect on 2015, we remain conscious of the context in which Bench Marks Foundation operates…

Key Note Address: Mining – Development or Disaster – 24/10/2016

The debate on mining has reached an unparalleled level of interest and debate since our transition to a constitutional democracy. The question frequently asked is: Does mining lead to development or underdevelopment…

Africans must unite so they can have Power over the Continent’s Future – 25/05/2016

Africans must unite to fight corruption, water scarcity and contamination as well as environmental degradation, says the Bench Marks Foundation…

Rich People in Glass Houses – 25/05/2016

Bench Marks Foundation’s response to Ivanhoe Mines’ statement singling out community activist Mr Aubrey Langa, Mining Watch Canada and civil society groups in general, for the troubles it faces in the Limpopo area…

Bench Marks boycotts BASF business dialogue – 25/05/2016

The status quo in Marikana remains the same with some cosmetic changes…

IvanPlats – New Developments – 22/04/2016

In our earlier media release, calling for protection of human rights defenders in the mining areas, we indicated that a Mr. Holly Maponya, (whom we in error referred to as Mokopane) was the victim of an attempted assassination…

New Mining Charter has many shortcomings, especially for communities – 21/04/2016

Although aimed at reducing the BBBE shortcomings of the current Mining Charter, the revised Charter gazetted on 15 April 2016 fails in two vital ways, according to the Bench Marks Foundation…

Community monitors harassed by police – 21/04/2016

The Bench Marks Foundation has expressed its deep concern at the increase in harassment, intimidation, violence and assassinations of community leaders as well as activists in South Africa…

Bench Marks pays Tribute to Freek Cronje – 05/04/2016

Director of NWU Bench Marks Centre for Social Responsibility and award-winning scholar of Potchefstroom who would have soon been a full professor, Freek Cronje died after he collapsed after a squash match. …

Bench Marks Foundation outraged at cold-blooded mining-related murder – 29/03/2016

The Bench Marks Foundation is devastated by the news of the cold-blooded murder last week on the South African Wild Coast of Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe. His murder is reminiscent of apartheid-style death squads…

Communities suffering as a result of environmental pollution by Shiva Uranium – 18/03/2016

Community members from Dominionville in Klerksdorp in the North West Province of South Africa are suffering from an increase in respiratory diseases caused by dust from Shiva Uranium’s tailings dams…

An open letter to North West Commissioner of Police and South African Human Rrights Commission (SAHRC) – 08/03/2016

The Bench Marks Foundation has written an open letter to the North West Commissioner of Police and the South African Human Rights Commission to draw attention to the unacceptable pressure being brought to bear on communities in Chaneng, in South Africa’s North West Province…

More Views on alternative Mining Indaba – 23/02/2016

The recent flurry of post AMI articles have had their moment of fame until next year, but the discussion is welcomed as it raises at least two valid points…

Representatives from Colombian organisations meet with AngloGold Ashanti Management – 19/02/2016

Representatives of Colombian organisations visiting South Africa met with AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) on 18 February 2016…

Open letter to AngloGold-Ashanti Management – 20/02/2016

Colombia is immersed in one of the longest ongoing internal armed conflicts in the world. All actors in the conflict, including the state and government armed forces, have been implicated in serious and systematic human rights violations…

Bleak future from Gold mining set for Colombia – 17/02/2016

Colombian activists are shocked and alarmed at the devastation caused by gold mining they witnessed during their fact-finding visit to South Africa this week and will take what they have learnt from the experience home…

XOLOBENI MINING PROTEST
Australian Commissioner to take Bench Marks’ concerns to Australian Government – 15/04/2016

A Bench Marks Foundation delegation met with Australian High Commissioner Mr Adam McCarthy to express outrage at the killings of mining activists…

Respect communities’ right to say “NO” – 14/04/2016

South Africa’s Communities’ right to say no to mining and to decide on its own development must be respected and all intimidation stopped, says the Bench Marks Foundation in a memorandum handed to the Australian High Commissioner, Mr Adam McCarthy today…

Accepted Amendements to the Letter to the Australian High Commissioner

Accepted Amendments to Annexure A

View the Photo Gallery

Commitments needed by all stakeholders for the betterment of mining – 11/02/2016

A communiqué calling on African governments, the United Nations, international and local mining, business and financial houses to revolutionise the often uncaring and disrespectful way governments and mining companies treat their citizens and workers…

Social Labour Plan commitment welcomed as a first for mining – 10/02/2016

A public commitment to publish its Social Labour Plan on the company’s website by Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American PLC is a step in the right direction and more companies need to follow suit…

Scant redress systems in place for communities bulldozed by government – 09/02/2016

Communities who arm themselves with knowledge and information and work together to protect their interests are clearly a threat to the government and mining companies, says the Bench Marks Foundation…

Impala Deaths a Tragedy – 26/01/2016

The death of four mine workers at Impala Platinum’s Shaft 14 mine in Rustenburg, South Africa on Friday, 22 January 2016 is a terrible tragedy says the Bench Marks Foundation…

Department of Water Affairs Fails to apply its Mind sufficiently to Makhado Water Use Licence – 21/01/2016

Despite extensive opposition and clearly not being in the country’s best interests, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWAS) issued an Integrated Water Use Licence (IWUL ) on the 14th of this month to Coal of Africa,s Makhado operation…

2015 ARCHIVES

African Mining Vision 2050: part of the solution or part of the problem? – 22/10/2015

Although the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) is the first attempt in recent times by African Leaders to take stock of the mineral resources on the continent, there are critical weaknesses that must be addressed…

A crisis of legitimacy: undermining dignity – 19/10/2015

Mining faces a crisis of legitimacy as while the industry may have a legal licence to operate, consent from local communities and broader society is waning, says Bishop Jo Seoka…

Mining charter – Shared ownership or elite colour swop? – 19/10/2015

The Chamber of Mines in South Africa’s view that ‘once empowered, always empowered’ has been met with strong opposition by communities and civil society organisations during the Bench Marks Foundation’s annual meeting…

Communities being stripped of their heritage by mining – 24/09/2015

Communities in Sekhukhune in South Africa’s Limpopo Province are not only being stripped of their dignity, but of their heritage too thanks to mining, says Trevor Malope…

Corporate arrogance behind mining protests – 09/09/2015

The violent protests that have erupted in Ga-Mapela in Limpopo Province today reflect mining in South Africa as a whole, says John Capel, Executive Director of the Bench Marks Foundation…

Business Report by John Capel – Job losses in mining sector: who benefits? – 12/08/2015

Anglo American to downsize operations globally, based on weak commodity prices, declining demand and a sliding rand, meaning it will contribute to joblessness…

Articles Related to CoAL Report
Government still disregards environmental and health impacts of coal mining – 24/08/2015

Despite very strong opposition to Coal of Africa’s (CoAL) Vele and Makhado mines in South Africa’s Limpopo Province from community members and NGOs, the Department of Mineral Resources seems set to allow these mines to operate…

Mine security companies a law unto themselves – 24/08/2015

Attacks by mining security companies on community members and others are natural phenomena in South Africa, as witnessed first-hand by a team from the Bench Marks Foundation earlier this month…

Human rights due diligence must become law for companies – 24/08/2015

Multinational companies must commit themselves to conducting assessments of the impact on human rights through the actions of its suppliers’ and partners…

Marikana: Three years on and people are still shafted – 12/08/2015

As mining companies look at downsizing their operations it is important they do not forget how fragile mining communities are…

John Capel on Weaknesses in the Farlam Commission’s Mandate – 29/06/2015

John Capel, highlights some of the weaknesses in the Farlam Commission’s mandate into investigating the incidents at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana…

Serious Questions raised from Farlam Report – 29/06/2015

The release of the long-awaited Farlam Commission, raises many serious questions relating to the mining industry as a whole, says the Bench Marks Foundation…

Demilitarisation welcomed but private security companies need investigation – 29/06/2015

Demilitarisation of the police is a welcome recommendation in the long-awaited report released by the Farlam Commission into the events that led to the deaths of 44 people in August 2012 in Marikana…

Blaming the Victim – Joe Seoka Report on Marikana – 28/06/2015

The release of the Farlam report and its findings is welcomed with disbelief and confirmation of our suspicions. The commission appointed by the President had to serve the aspirations and wants of the master…

Overview and individual media releases – 03/06/2015

 

The Mining Industry fails to comply with the Mining Charter – 21/05/2015

The degree of non-compliance with the Mining Charter by the industry is shocking to say the least, says The Bench Marks Foundation…

Another Miner killed in Limpopo – 18/05/2015

The Limpopo province is yet again set to explode following another death during clashes between police and protestors…

Effective communication is required to stem mistrust in the mining sector – 13/02/2015

A lack of proper communication, disregard for human dignity and respect were some of the main topics discussed during the last day of the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on 12 February 2015…

Graça Machel urges government, private sector and civil society to change – 12/02/2015

For government, private sector and civil society it’s no longer business as usual. The rules of the game have to change, said keynote speaker at the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI), Graça Machel…

Jo Seoka on the alternative mining indaba – 11/02/2015

It is time for civil society and communities to be meaningfully included in the Mining Indaba and to have at least a 50% representation at the meeting…

Speak against mining at your own peril – 11/02/2015

People who speak against the devastation experienced by mining in their communities do so with a very real threat to their lives, says the Bench Marks Foundation…

Memorandum ignored by mining indaba – 09/02/2015

Yet again organisers of the Mining Indaba and leaders of the sector have snubbed mining communities and civil society during a march by those attending the Alternative Mining Indaba on 9 February 2015…

6th Alternative Mining Indaba – 05/02/2015

Exorbitant fees and omission from the Mining Indaba’s programme means that those who have vital input to make, such as civil society and community members, are excluded from discussions that ultimately affect their lives and livelihood, says the Bench Marks Foundation….

2014 ARCHIVES

 Mines shouldn’t use legacy as an excuse for not doing what it should – 19/11/2014

Mining company Impala Platinum braved the lion’s den by participating in the Bench Marks Foundatiion’s panel discussion on labour and community relations post Marikana…

Chapter 9 institutions are friends, not foes – 19/11/2014

Communities must realise that there are avenues open to them to report injustices caused by both the private and public sectors…

Mining: South Africa can learn a lot from Germany – 18/11/2014

The importance of mining has declined in Germany due to the high cost of production and the cutting of subventions by 2018 which is equivalent to the end of hard coal minin

Mines shouldn’t use legacy as an excuse for not doing what it should – 19/11/2014

Mining company Impala Platinum braved the lion’s den by participating in the Bench Marks Foundatiion’s panel discussion on labour and community relations post Marikana…

Press statements relating to Policy Gap 9 – 19/08/2014

 

Marikana 2 years after – 16/08/2014

This weekend marks the second anniversary of the tragedy that killed 34 people in 2012. Already people are calling August 16th Marikana Day… Download PDF version

Church played big role in ending strike – 16/07/2014

Having just come out of the longest mining strike in our history, we need to pause for reflection. Why did it take a gruelling five months to settle the strike…

Leadership Magazine- Striking for Dignity – 01/06/2014

The protracted strike in the platinum sector has turned monstrous, polarising society and casting a long shadow across the economic landscape…

Peacemakers have arrived – 26/05/2014

The peace makers have arrived but not in the form originally anticipated. The balance of power is changing…

Bring in Peacemakers – Give Workers Respect – 22/05/2014

Lonmin fires more than 200 essential workers just as tensions mount and, before that, four deaths occurred…

Endgame of Mine Strike is a Test of Democracy – 15/05/2014

Striking platinum workers listen to Joseph Mathunjwa, the president of the Association of Mine workers and Construction Union, at the Wonderkop stadium in Nkaneng township…

Producers create Problems with bad faith Bargaining – 08/05/2014

It’s like a soap opera, what is going to happen next, except the stakes are very high….

Not Enough Focus on Plight of Miners – 28/04/2014

So much has been said yet so little about the ongoing strike involving 70 000 platinum workers…

Companies Have a Duty to Behave as Good Citizens – 27/03/2014

We have an obligation to remind ourselves, and educate the younger generations, that freedom was not free…

Respect Legitimate Wage Demands – 20/04/2014

With the continuing strike in the mining industry, all the pressure is on the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, Amcu, to be reasonable, and call off the action…

Declaration Of The Alternative Mining Indaba – 16/04/2014We note with dismay the continued rush for profits by rent-seeking Trans-national Corporations (TNCs) at the cost of both human and animal life and the complete destruction of the environment…

2013 ARCHIVES

BMF Hails a true fighter – 06/12/2013

The Bench Marks Foundation is deeply saddened by the death of the great activist against poverty and injustice, Nelson Mandela. Says Bishop Jo Seoka: “Madiba was the champion for the oppressed”….

Bench Marks – ArcelorMittal – Steel at any cost – 28 /11/2013

Global steel giant ArcelorMittal is having a negative impact on the environment, its employees and the communities in and around Vanderbijlpark, according to a research report by the Bench Marks Foundation…

Bench Marks – ArcelorMittal Lack of transparency – 28/11/2013

Bench Marks spoke to VEJA and interviewed residents, employees, ex-employees and other civil society organisations for this report, it became clear that the company performs poorly with regard to transparency and engagement…

ArcelorMittal actions questioned by monitoring_organisation – 28/ 11/2013

The Bench Marks Foundation has questioned steel giant, ArcelorMittal’s actions toward its past and present employees and to the communities surrounding its operations in a report released today…

Bench Marks Conference – Mining Key Messages – 21/10/2013

Government, in line with its political mandate, must serve the poorest members of society, and cease what communities see as collusion with corporate power…

Coping with Unsustainability Lonmin 2003 – 2012 – 15/10/2013

Policy Gap 7 is the Bench Marks Foundation’s latest study. It focuses on CSR and Mining, but in this case on one specific mining company: Lonmin…

Time to end poverty for those who dig SAs wealth – 15/10/2013

Almost 14 months ago, on August 16, 2012, conflict between capital and the state cost the nation 44 lives. Thirty-four workers were killed in a labour dispute with their employer, while another 10 workers, including police and security personnel, died violently….

Address by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe -15/10/2013

From the onset let me commend the Bench Marks Foundation for its research initiatives that are aimed at resolving social problems affecting mineworkers, communities and the mining sector…

Lonmin’s environmental issues – Community Perceptions -15/10/2013

Mining impacts have winners and losers. The winners are shareholders and executive management and the losers are surrounding communities and workers…

Lack of accurate reporting by platinum companies -15/10/2013

There is a lack of accurate reporting of contract worker numbers and their wages in the platinum industry, which is in breach of the legislation…

No housing, no hostels after ten years -15/10/2013

The rapid grown in the platinum mining industry over the past 15 years has resulted in an influx of contract workers in areas surrounding the mines,…

Study claims Lonmin not contributing enough to “social capital” -15/10/2013

Sustainability loses all meaning when a corporation does as it pleases and there are no consequences, says well-known corporate social responsibility monitoring NGO…

Mining transgressors should be held accountable and prosecuted -15/10/2013

Companies which inflict damage on a society and the environment represent danger. This is a critical issue which any state must confront, says Bishop Jo Seoka…

All sides wil be heard at Farlam Commission – 15/10/2013

A ruling made at the High Court on 14 October 2013, that the state must pay the legal costs for the survivors of the Marikana Massacre, is a great victory for the workers, their families and for democracy…

Deputy President to speak at Bench Marks Conference -11/10/2013

As much as mining has contributed to developing the South African economy, it has also had negative social, economic and environmental consequences. These need to be highlighted, debated, and actions agreed on by all stakeholders…

Platinum mining, water and communities – 06/09/2013

View this compelling SABC documentary detailing how the intensive mining of platinum in the North West Province is affecting the availability and quality of water…

More tough times forecast for women in mining – 26/08/2013

Sustainable Women Empowerment and Gender Equality was the theme for this year’s Women’s Day and Month, but for women within mines and in the communities surrounding mines there is very little evidence that they have been empowered…

Marikana a year later – still walking on a knife’s edge – 13/08/2013

The instability and tension that gave rise to the Marikana Massacre a year ago, is still palpable and will remain so until the socio-economic conditions that gave rise to the events in the first place are addressed…

State must financially support needy parties in Farlam Commission – 17/07/2013

It is unforgivable that there has been a lack of financial support for mineworkers wounded and arrested during the Marikane massacre last year, resultig in them being unable to take part in the Farnham Commission…

Inclusion of Communities essential to obviate more Mining Strife – 01/07/2013

The legitimate concerns of communities that are affected by mining will continue to fester and grow into new areas of conflict and strife if they are not dealt with…

All Parties Must Tread With Care To Solve Strife – 25/06/2013

We have to be wary of complicating an already very complicated situation by taking actions like sending in the army to the platinum belt…

Mining-related laws need to be jacked-up – 21/06/2013

It is unacceptable that prospective and new mining laws continue to be handled in a haphazard way, especially since it has been such a volatile sector over the past year, says the Bench Marks Foundation…

John Capel Interviewed on SAFM Morning Talk 15/05/2013

Listen to the podcast…

Rain and contaminated water impact farming and harm communities – 25/03/2013

Acid rain and contaminated water continue to negatively impact farming activities and communities in areas in which mines operate, despite claims by mining companies…

Portfolio Committee urged to consider key Recommendations – 07/03/2013

The draft Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill (MPRDA) was gazetted on 27 December 2012 by the Department of Mineral Resources without proper public consultation and participation, says the Bench Marks Foundation…

Women still Marginalised in Mining – 05/03/2013

Women are still a minority in the mining sector, and particularly in the lower paid categories…

Request to Portfolio Committee regarding Input to MPRDA – 04/03/2013

The Bench Marks Foundation requests a meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources to discuss our recommendations for the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill…

JSE SRI GRI Fical Points – 03/03/2013

On Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th February 2013, the Bench Marks Foundation participated in a panel discussion at the JSE on the relevance of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)…

Alternative Mining Indaba – 03/02/2013

Tax avoidance, extreme environmental degradation of proposed, current and past mining activities, equitable redistribution of wealth and financial resources are some of the topics that will be debated at the Alternative Mining Indaba…

 

2012 ARCHIVES

 Church Leaders adopt an African-wide Campaign – 31/10 /2012

A tool to forge a broad-based campaign of church leaders, leaders of other religious faiths and civil society organisations aimed at serving the needs of people was launched by Rt Rev Dr Jo Seoka…

 

“It’s time for miners to benefit,” Business News – 30 /10 /2012

Over the next few days we will be discussing minerals and a just world, and will ask the question, “Whose resources?”…

 

Ex-employees and community members to march to ArcelorMittal – 24/10/2012

Community members of the Vaal, ex-employees of ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) and supporting organisations of Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (VEJA), will march to ArcelorMittal’s Vanderbijlpark premises today, 24 October 2012…

 

Differing expectations due to mining fragmentation – 09/10/2012

The high level of fragmentation within the mining industry is a contributing factor to the continued discontent of miners and mining communities which ultimately ends in strike action…

 

What Government needs to do to prevent another “Marikana” – 04/10/2012

As strikes in mining communities throughout South Africa continue, the unhappiness that was so apparent during the Marikana strike will not go away until the root causes of discontent is addressed…

 

Governement statement following meeting with BMF – 28/09/2012

The Portfolio Committee on Mineral resources has received a briefing from the Benchmarks Foundation, on living conditions around the Marikana area…

 

Rock drill operators – Business Report – 23/09/2012

How rock drill operators have secured their place as ‘kings of the mine’ underground…

 

Bench Marks defends mining sector report – 17/09/2012

The article in Business Report (September 5, 2012) by Keith Bryer cannot be left unanswered, the more so in that he asks us to reply to certain questions..

 

Marikana situation is becoming untenable – 15/09/2012

“It seems as if both government and Lonmin misread the situation on the platinum belt and now what seemed resolvable might become an untenable situation,” said Bishop Jo Seoka, president of the SACC..

 

Worst fears appear to be coming true – 11/09/2012

The Bench Marks Foundation says that its fears that the situation in Marikana might deteriorate seem to be coming true with the impasse with the striking Lonmin workers and Lonmin and the CCMA breaking down…

Charging of miners is absurd and scandalous – 01/09/2012

Talking about the brutal killings of the striking miners at Marikana raises all sorts of questions, but the truth is yet to be told by eyewitnesses…

Timely collective bargaining could have nipped deaths in bud – 29/08/2012

The killings at Marikana could have been avoided if Lonmin’s management had listened to the workers’ concerns. There was no need for the strike – let alone the violence that led to the loss of 44 lives…

Miners want Bishop in talks with Labour Department – 27/08/2012

There has been some progress in the discussions between the miners in Marikana and the executive management of Lonmin weeks after the crisis began, says South African Council of Churches president and Bishop of Pretoria, Bishop Jo Seoka…

Memorial service for Marikana dead – 22/08/2012

A memorial service will be held at the Lutheran Church hall in Marikana at 11am tomorrow morning for those miners who were killed in the violence that erupted as a result of strikes at the Lonmin Mine last week…

Update to Lonmin Mamangement From John Capel – 22/08/2012

The Bench Marks Foundation expresses its deep regret over the killing of 34 Lonmin miners with another 78 wounded in Marikana on the 16th of August, and over the death of a further ten people earlier in the same week…

Press statement Bench Marks Foundation – 17/08/2012

Yesterday the President of the SACC and Chairperson of the Bench Marks Foundation, Bishop Jo Seoka and a team, met with the striking Lonmin workers. He was told by the striking workers that they wanted management to talk to them…

Community monitors share experiences and resources – 25/07/2012

For the past three years, mining communities have been building a bank of blogs and Facebook sites, which have chronicled their experiences in the communities in which they live…

Accountability and investment needed in squatter camps around mines- 16/07/2012

The situation for those who live in informal settlements around mines is abysmal with overcrowding, a lack of proper sanitation and potable water as well as a lack of electricity the norm…

Mine Jobs at Risk 2012/13 – 02/07/2012

John Capel, Executive Director for the Bench Marks Foundation argues that the loss of thousands of jobs can be avoided if these companies changed their mindset and prepared for leaner times…

Dust-related lung diseases overshadow mine accidents – 07/05/2012

Mining deaths and injuries continue to plague South Africa’s mines and remains a serious cause of concern according to the Bench Marks Foundation…

Small victory for communities – 23/04/2012

The Bench Marks Foundation welcomes the recent judgment by the Constitutional Court on the ruling that permission is required from provinces prior to the commencement of mining by those who have obtained mining rights…

Communities impacted upon by mining – 23/04/2012

Government involvement in mining is essential, but it needs to lead to the betterment of those communities that depend upon mining operations as well as those who are affected by mining…

Aurora miners’ human rights have been violated – 15/03/2012

The abysmal situation thousands of miners have found themselves in following the debacle at Aurora Mine in the North West Province is nothing short of a human rights violation…

Steps to reduce the impact of acid mine drainage are seven years too late – 13/03/2012

South Africa’s water situation is in dire straits with acid mine drainage causing havoc by polluting our natural groundwater in several areas in the country…

Opinion Piece: Nationalisation-Wealth Distribution and Inequality – 11/02/2012

Amartya Sen won the Nobel prize in economics for his finding that if one group of people’s income rises faster than the national income, another group of people’s income will decline…

Are Mining Profits Ethically Earned – Alt Mine Indaba 2012 – 08/02/2012

Just why do a hundred civil society leaders from across the continent get together each year around the African Mining Indaba in what is called the Alternative Mining Indaba…

Launch of the Bench Marks Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility – 23/01/2012

On Monday, 23 January, the Bench Marks Foundation launched the Bench Marks Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility at the University of the North West in Potchefstroom, North West Province…

2011 ARCHIVES

Bench Marks Foundation, warns against another Cop-Out – 28/11/2011

Bishop Jo Seoka, chairperson of the Bench Marks Foundation, has warned that if richer countries do not submit themselves to a “just solution” to crises of the climate, poverty and inequality, they would be leading us to “Armageddon”…

 

Suffering former mine workers must be rewarded – 24/08/2011

Bench Marks Foundation supports the decision to encourage mining companies such as AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields to look at ways in which to reward their former mine workers who have suffered work-related injuries and sicknesses…

 

Eating and breathing pollution – 15/08/2011

South Africa’s steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, is slowly killing the future of many young people in the Joko Tea and Bophelong Townships in Vanderbijlpark, with the fumes produced by its Vanderbijlpark Works plant…

 

The Monitoring Action Project – 28/07/2011
Through its Monitoring Action Project, Bench Marks teaches writing and computer skills to “monitors” who then observe and document problems faced by their communities. The monitors are chosen by a local community group…

 

Open letter to De Beers and Dept of Mineral Resources – 30/06/2011

The Bench Marks Foundation of South Africa asks De Beers and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to respond to the inadequacies in the community consultation process prior to transfer of mineral rights at Namaqualand Mines…

Churches have been challenged to support responsible investment, sustainable systems of production and sound economic development policies for poor communities..

Failure by mining companies to include in its cost accounting, the environmental, economic and social costs to the communities in which it operates, will push more people into absolute desperation and poverty and will thrust our planet towards extinction…

Questions and experiences around how corporate social responsibility impacts on communities socially, economically and environmentally will be issues that will be addressed at the Bench Marks Foundation’s public AGM meeting on 14 June 2011…

Reports of the apparent meltdown of Botswana through strikes by teachers, medical personnel, border and state officials and the detention, interrogation and tear gassing of innocent people and children, is noted with concern by The Bench Marks Foundation…