Num condemns Lonmin community deal

[] — PLATINUM producer Lonmin’s agreement to employ only locals at its Marikana mine in Bapong promotes xenophobia, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Monday.

“The notion promotes regionalism and tribalism at worst as it seeks to turn South Africa into an extreme federal state worse than Bantustans where people of a particular language must reside and work at a particular place,” Num general secretary Frans Baleni said in a statement.

Business Report on Monday said that Lonmin CEO Ian Farmer had agreed to employ 643 locals after Bapong residents accused Lonmin mine of neglecting its social responsibility to develop the area.

Last week, residents blockaded the road between Sun City and Pretoria with burning tyres and damaged vehicles belonging to Lonmin platinum mine, the police and civilians.

Bapo-ba-Mogale tribal authorities threatened to not renew a lease agreement with the mine – which would expire at the end of the month – if their demands were not met by the end of last week.

Lonmin was not immediately available on Monday to clarify if it would only be employing people from the local community in future.

However, the Num said it noted with serious concern the “escalating ’employ locals only’ culture in mining communities” and was worried about the precedent it set.

“It is a terrible thing to allow as it now sets working class people against each other,” said Baleni, who called upon the ANC to condemn it.