Living and working conditions at Sibanye-Stillwater remain degrading

Countermotion to the Annual Meeting of BASF SE 2024 on agenda item 4: Ratification of the actions of the members of the Board of Executive Directors

The Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany proposes that the actions of the members of the Board of Executive Directors for the 2023 financial year not be approved.


BASF’s Board of Executive Directors continues to fail to adequately fulfill its human rights due diligence obligations.

South Africa: Living and working conditions at Sibanye-Stillwater remain degrading

BASF continues to purchase platinum from the South African mining company Sibanye-Stillwater, which took over the platinum company Lonmin. Lonmin was partly responsible for the Marikana massacre in 2012, when 34 striking miners were shot dead. After the massacre, those responsible also wanted to make lasting improvements to the precarious, sometimes inhumane living conditions in the mining communities. Following pressure from civil society to do further justice to its own supply chain responsibility, BASF also entered into an exchange with Sibanye-Stillwater and carried out audits.

The study “Warten auf Gerechtigkeit” [Waiting for Justice] showed in 2022 that working and living conditions in Marikana have hardly improved since then. Neither the mining companies nor the South African state have made an adequate contribution to improving the situation. The study highlights specific grievances and calls, among other things, for an end to cooperation with temporary employment agencies that circumvent labor regulations and do not pay a living wage. In the case of those wounded in the massacre, some of whom were paralyzed, they need healthcare for life. They and their families deserve support, as do the widows and families of the workers who were killed.

Recent reports show a lack of transparency, accountability and consultation with the Wonderkop community. For example, obligations under Sibanye-Stillwater’s current Social and Labor Plan (SLP) have not been fulfilled. The maintenance of workers’ housing is very poor, and the housing is tied to the employment contract without adequate information. Even employees who have worked for Lonmin and then Sibanye-Stillwater for more than 30 years are thrown out of their homes when they retire and cannot find alternative accommodation.

Furthermore, Sibanye-Stillwater does not respond adequately to the risk of health hazards from air and water pollution. The community has no access to current emissions data, and wastewater from mining operations runs unchecked into the local stream. The retention basin (tailings) required for mining is too close to the settlement and leaks are observed. A child died in 2023 in this basin, which was not properly cordoned off. Apart from a donation for the funeral, Sibanye-Stillwater has not yet paid any compensation to the family.