On March 29, former Northwest Deputy Police Commissioner Mzondase Mpembe and three other senior police officers were acquitted of all three charges related to the Marikana massacre. This continues the trend that up to the present day none of the police officers directly involved in the massacre and the decision-makers behind the order to shoot have been convicted in politics. Nine years have passed and history continues on its course, “Business as usual”. This also applies to the living and working conditions of the mine workers and all people who live in Marikana.
Structurally nothing has changed for them, but the platinum from Marikana continues to reach the world market. Although the lack of justice, which is expressed in the fact that those responsible for the massacre have still not been convicted, can be traced back to the failure of the South African state and its public prosecutor, the mining company Sibanye Stillwater has been responsible for the unimproved living and working conditions for a year Operator of the Marikana mine, responsibility.
As a customer of Sibanye Stillwater, BASF also bears a responsibility because it refuses to use its room for maneuver to put pressure on Sibanye Stillwater. The audits to which BASF refers and which serve as arguments to operate “business as usual”, evaluate criteria that are irrelevant for the concrete lives of mine workers in the workplace and in the communities. Since BASF is unable to generate the necessary pressure on its own, we hope for a strong supply chain law that will ultimately force it to do so.
The article by Tilman Massa from Ethical Shareholders Germany uses the example of the current draft law to show what it would have meant if the law had already been in force in 2012.
This newsletter is published on the day before BASF’s ninth Annual General Meeting since the massacre in South Africa and contains the countermotion and the questions submitted to the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board by the Ethical Shareholders Germany and the campaign network “Plow Back The Fruits”, as well as an open letter from Auschwitz -Committees of February 22nd of this year, which deal with the future headquarters of Wintershall Dea in Hamburg.
Wintershall is currently still a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF and, after the merger with Dea, intends to move into its headquarters at Hamburg’s Lohseplatz (formerly Hannoverscher Bahnhof). From here, Hamburg Jews, Hamburg Sinti and Roma were deported to the extermination camps during National Socialism. An alliance of survivor organizations and civil society groups had not only fought hard for a memorial site at this point, but also achieved that a say about the occupancy of the adjacent buildings was guaranteed. With the leasing to an IG Farben successor company in the same building as the planned documentation center for the memorial site, the voices of these groups would be overlooked one more time.
In addition, we and groups from the climate justice movement submitted various critical inquiries to the BASF Executive Board about Wintershall’s activities, which can be read in a separate article.These articles make it clear once again that the example of BASF shows that the reappraisal of the company’s own history and global, fair economic activity without civil society pressure and the will of the politically responsible seem to remain lip service. This is also what Jo Seoka’s short afterword to this editorial speaks of for the case of South Africa:
“The state and all those involved in the ongoing tragedy of Marikana must be reminded that justice delayed is justice denied. We therefore want to call on the BASF investors to rethink their investment policies. Morality and ethical practices must be on top of doing business not just monetary gains. Those who have visited Marikana can testified how shocking the reality is. In the main time BASF and its partners are producing audits emphasizing cosmetic changes, just for generating the impression that things have changed and justify their business as usual. It´s an insult to the victims of the massacre.”
For the campaigning-network Plough Back the Fruits,
Boniface Mabanza and Maren Grimm