Disappointing results for BASF’s engagement in South Africa

  • Study shows continued deterioration in living and working conditions at BASF supplier Sibanye-Stillwater
  • Precariousness, division and lack of justice still evident nearly eleven years after Marikana massacre and several years of BASF involvement
  • Discussion event, protest and interventions at BASF AGM for more supply chain responsibility

On the occasion of BASF’s Annual General Meeting on April 27 in Mannheim, Germany, the South African-European campaign Plough Back the Fruits is calling for the chemical company to engage more effectively with its South African platinum supplier Sibanye-Stillwater.

Following the 2012 Marikana massacre, in which 34 striking miners were shot dead, those responsible should not only be held accountable, but the precarious, sometimes inhumane living conditions in the mining communities should also be sustainably improved. Following civil society pressure to live up to its supply chain responsibilities, BASF also entered into an exchange with Sibanye-Stillwater to this end and conducted audits. However, working and living conditions in Marikana have hardly improved since then – in some cases they have even worsened.

Niren Tolsi, a journalist from South Africa who will also speak at BASF’s Annual Meeting, reports: “I have been dealing with the aftermath of Marikana for the last ten years, I have returned there often and continue to do so. If you talk to the miners and the local population there, they agree: the socio-economic conditions are much worse than ten years ago. The new mining company that bought the operation from Lonmin, Sibanye Stillwater, doesn’t seem to care about the workers either. There is still no electricity or water at the smelter sites around Marikana. The migrant labor system continues to set the tone; destroying families and individuals. Safety remains an issue underground. Mine workers are still poorly paid. Some of the police officers who commanded during the 2012 strike are now employed by mining companies to head their security departments. Drug abuse and gender-based violence remain major problems in the mines.”

A study published last year by sociologists Dr. Asanda Benya and Dr. Crispen Chinguno also shows that neither the mining companies nor the South African state have contributed adequately to improving the situation. The study highlights specific grievances and calls, among other things, for an end to collaboration with temporary employment agencies that circumvent labor regulations and do not pay living wages. In the case of those wounded in the massacre, some of whom were left paralyzed, lifetime health care is needed. They and their families are entitled to support, as are the widows and families of the slain workers.

Discussion event “The Crime Scene World and BASF,” Wednesday April 26, 2023, 7 p.m.
Among others, Asanda Benya and Niren Tolsi will report on the current situation in Marikana.
Location: sanctclara ecumenical education center, B5 19, 68159 Mannheim – or online. Registration to dachverband@kritischeaktionaere.de
All info: http://wordpress-ploughbackthefruits.p51238.webspaceconfig.de/de/deutsch-der-tatort-welt-und-die-basf/

Protest action and interviews before the general meeting
Interviews with Niren Tolsi are possible on April 27, 2023, starting at 8:30 a.m. in front of the Congress Center Rosengarten as part of the protest action “Tatort Welt und die BASF” (Crime Scene World and BASF), where various organizations express their criticism of various BASF business activities: https://www.kritischeaktionaere.de/basf/tatort-welt-und-die-basf/

Study “Waiting for Justice. A decade after the Marikana massacre” (2022) by Dr. Asanda Benya and Dr. Crispen Chinguno,

Background: the 2012 Marikana massacre.
In August 2012, South African security forces shot and killed 34 striking workers at the Marikana platinum mine owned by mining company Lonmin (now Sibanye-Stillwater) and 78 workers were injured, some seriously. The massacre has left deep wounds in South African society to this day – and the victims and relatives are still waiting for justice.

Press contacts:

Tilman Massa, Dachverband der Kritischen Aktionärinnen und Aktionäre, dachverband[at]kritischeaktionaere.de, phone: 0221 599 56 47, mobile: 0173 713 52 37

Boniface Mabanza, Church Office Southern Africa, boniface.mabanza[at]woek.de, phone 06221 43336-17

Twitter: @Lonmin_BASF @Krit_Aktionaere