The Minerals Council South Africa has condemned the “violence and thuggery” being experienced at various operations and in various communities across South Africa and has called on authorities – especially the South African Police Service – to “act swiftly and impartially” to ensure the safety of communities, employees and private property.
The council referred to recent events, including the death of a motorist caught up in protests in Mpumalanga in February, and the violent and damaging protests around Prieska, in the Northern Cape, over the course of the last week.
“In almost all cases the protests are led by a small group of individuals who are able to organise and intimidate with impunity. Very often, they are equipped with weapons,” the council lamented in a statement on May 7.
While some protests appear to stem from a lack of municipal service delivery, there is worrying evidence of a culture of corrupt “tenderpreneurs” having been allowed to disrupt legitimate operations, and who are seeking to subvert legitimate procurement practices, the council elaborated.
It reiterated that these events “are at odds with the attempts by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and the industry to attract exploration and development investment into the country and the region”.
The council called for a stop to these practices, “if there is to be any hope of attracting new and lasting investment into the country”.
The Minerals Council expressed its support for and solidarity with members, such as Orion Minerals, which have taken a firm public stance against corruption and illegitimate demands from failed suppliers at its Prieska copper/zinc mine in the Northern Cape.
Mining Weekly has reached out to Orion Minerals for further comment.