“It is time for BASF to recognise that the impact of the Marikana massacre is transgenerational”: Speech by Amina Hassan Fundi

Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed shareholders and executives of BASF,

Allow me to paint a picture for you. Imagine a nine-year-old girl, surrounded by her loving family at the dinner table—mom, dad, and older brother. They’re sharing stories and laughter, basking in the warmth of their togetherness. Then, the phone rings, shattering the tranquility. You see, that call brought news of a man—a husband, a father, a hardworking employee—called to duty to serve his employers. But instead of returning home to his family, he met a violent end, killed in cold blood and lit up in flames. His story, once one of love and dedication, was reduced to a footnote—a mere “necessary sacrifice” in the pursuit of profit and production – by Lonmin, by Sibanye-Stillwater, by BASF.

That man was my father. And today, that little girl stands before you as a grown woman, aged 21. Still fighting for justice, still haunted by the events of that fateful day. Despite the passing years and the unforeseen circumstances, one thing remains unchanged: the fight for justice that my mother and I, alongside other widows and families, began 12 years ago for truth, accountability, and restitution for the lives lost at Marikana. My name is Amina Hassan Fundi, and I represent the next generation of Marikana. I stand here not just to speak, but to be seen and heard. I carry on the torch of hope ignited by those who came before me, determined to see this fight through to the end.

It pains me to say this, but there seems to be a distorted view among your company’s executives—a view that absolves you of any responsibility for the Marikana Massacre. You claim that it’s “hard to assess from this distance,” but let me assure you, the pain and suffering of Marikana are as real and palpable as ever.

I’ve seen first-hand the safety measures in place at BASF’s plant, and I couldn’t help but wonder—why weren’t those same measures afforded to my father and his colleagues at Marikana? Why did their lives matter less than the platinum they were mining for your profit?

It’s clear to me that your company’s relationship with Lonmin, your largest supplier, goes beyond mere business transactions. By turning a blind eye to their egregious labor practices and human rights violations, you are complicit in their actions. Your silence speaks volumes, and it’s a deafening indictment of your corporate values.

You claim that the Sibanye Stillwater’s education trust is a form of compensation for the families affected by Marikana. But let’s be clear—it’s a token gesture at best, a paltry attempt to absolve yourselves of guilt. The guidelines governing the trust, established twelve years ago, have remained unchanged since their inception. The allowances provided for things like monthly toiletries, food, clothes and transport to classes have not changed since 2012: 1850 rands, or around 90 euros. The allowances are woefully inadequate, failing to account for inflation and the rising cost of living over more than a decade.

As I stand here before you, I can’t help but wonder—what more could you do to right the wrongs of the past? Here are a few for you:

  1. Will you provide fair compensation to the families of the victims of Marikana, including adequate financial support and access to educational opportunities?
  2. Will you establish a fund to improve the lives of communities affected by your operations, investing in infrastructure, healthcare, and education – not just in Marikana, but wherever you do business?
  3. What rigorous oversight and accountability measures in Marikana and other parts of the world will you implement so as to ensure that your suppliers adhere to fair labor practices and respect human rights?
  4. When will you start engaging directly with communities affected by your business dealings in Marikana and elsewhere, so as to listen to their concerns while working together to find solutions?

In conclusion, the time for empty gestures and half-hearted apologies is over. It’s time for BASF to acknowledge its role in the Marikana Massacre and to take meaningful action. It is time for BASF to acknowledge that the Massacre’s effects – traumatic, emotional, financial, violent – are transgenerational. That it will run through my lifetime and into my children’s – as it did from my parent’s into mine. I urge you to commit to   working tirelessly to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.