Precious metals miner Sibanye-Stillwater has undertaken several social upliftment initiatives in South Africa since the outbreak of Covid-19, including financial support for non-working employees, financial contributions to relief funds, providing potable water and sanitisation solutions, promoting personal hygiene, helping students learn and assisting employees.
In terms of its contribution to national relief funds, Sibanye-Stillwater’s board and executive management team made contributions over three months, in the form of salary reductions, amounting to R2.8-million. This meant the total corporate contribution to the Solidarity Fund was R12-million.
The miner also contributed R9-million to the South Africa Future Trust Fund.
“We have disbursed just under R7.6-million thus far. This fund is assisting those small, medium and micro enterprises who are part of our value chain,” says stakeholder relations head Thabisile Phumo.
During the lockdown period, Sibanye-Stillwater also endeavoured to pay employee salaries, or portions thereof, with R1.5-billion of financial support for non-working employees during the lockdown period.
“We note the impact that Covid-19 has on our employees and communities around our operations and we therefore, as a company, took a decision as part of our broader social development programme to assist them to deal with the impact of Covid-19,” says Phumo.
She adds that Sibanye-Stillwater also assisted employees with accessing Unemployment Insurance Fund relief and also extended counselling services to employees' families.
“We have disbursed just under R7.6-million thus far. This fund is assisting those who are part of our value chain,” Phumo says.
To provide support for vulnerable communities, the miner also donated 20 water tanks to the Madibeng municipality, which the council deployed to areas facing potable water shortages. This was backed up with the provision of 8 000 food parcels for local communities and 600 blankets and mattresses for homeless shelters. In addition, over 1 000 food parcels were distributed to communities in the Eastern Cape in partnership with Rand Mutual Assurance.
This was undertaken in parallel to the miner’s sanitisation initiative, which extended to partnering with other South African companies to provide sanitisers to near-mine healthcare facilities, schools, old age homes and taxi ranks, as well as selected areas in the Eastern Cape – a key labour-sending region.
“Close to 100 000 litres of sanitisers were distributed in partnership with AngloGold Ashanti, Sasol and Imperial Logistics,” says Phumo.
In line with its sanitisation initiative, Sibanye-Stillwater also donated R2-million worth of personal protective equipment to hospitals and clinics, including gowns, masks, gloves and boots.
This was coupled with the conversion of single-accommodation facilities in the Free State, West Rand and Rustenburg regions into quarantine facilities to house suspected Covid-19 patients, as well as employees returning to work. This was done at a cost of R4.9-million.
Sibanye-Stillwater also assisted schools near its mines with a catch-up initiative in the North West, Free State and Gauteng. This was undertaken through sanitisation in schools and the donation of technology devices, including smart boards, computers and other learning materials.
This was undertaken to help schools make up for the lost time when schools were forced to close during the lockdown period.
From a corporate perspective, she says Sibanye-Stillwater sees itself as a strategic partner to the communities and governments in the areas in which it operates.
“Our contribution is premised on our vision of creating superior value for communities in areas around our operations. We hope to continue to work with them on this and many other social economic development programmes that we are already involved in through our social upliftment programmes to ensure we can create modern mining towns where there is sustainable economic development and sustainable livelihoods for our employees and their families and the communities in which we operate.”