Anglo Platinum has welcomed the release of a report by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) that examines the potential human rights impacts of mining on poor communities. The SAHRC has produced some useful recommendations about identifying and mitigating the risks of human rights violations associated with the resettlement of communities.‘While we are pleased that the report makes no findings of violations of the law or human rights, the SAHRC has drawn attention to some of the hidden vulnerabilities of communities and residents around large-scale mining projects,’ says Mary-Jane Morifi, Head of Corporate Affairs at Anglo Platinum. ‘We will give serious consideration to the SAHRC recommendations regarding complaints mechanisms, better community representation, more effective communication with affected communities, human rights impact assessment and the importance of building the knowledge and capacities of all the key players in a resettlement.’
‘The SAHRC has made a valuable contribution to current debates around business and human rights in South Africa, and recommended ways that we can better protect the rights of poor and vulnerable people.
‘This is an important report that will not only help guide our own business practices, but will serve as a reference for others in the mining industry engaging in similar large-scale projects in the future.’
‘This is a detailed and far-reaching report that needs to be studied. We shall be engaging the SAHRC, government officials, local communities and other stakeholders in discussing how to move this debate forward.
‘Partly because of the length and intensity of consultation with the affected communities, the resettlement was planned over many years and was designed in advance of the publication of some key pieces of international guidance – such as the IFC Performance Standard, which would now form the benchmark for any Anglo American resettlement. Following publication of the Ruggie Report on business and human rights, we also have work under way on designing appropriate grievance mechanisms going forward.’
‘We have common ground with the Commission in our belief that mining should enhance the capacities and livelihoods of the communities where we work and we are committed to the goal that resettlement should improve the opportunities available to the affected communities. We believe that this will prove to be the case at Motlhotlo where the great majority of households have chosen to relocate and now have greatly enhanced housing, schools, health facilities and land. We accept that there is much still to do and we hope that the Commission’s report will help all concerned to resolve outstanding issues.’