Lonmin boss wants Marikana to inspire change

11 August 2017 - 13:06 By Jan Bornman
HANDS-ON: Ben Magara, the newly appointed CEO of Lonmin
HANDS-ON: Ben Magara, the newly appointed CEO of Lonmin
Image: Business Times

Lonmin CEO Ben Magara hopes the Marikana massacre can be a catalyst for positive change.

"It was indeed a tragedy‚ for the company‚ Lonmin‚ and for the country. It really is a sad tragedy‚" he said.

"I think ... one has to reflect and say ... could it be a catalyst for positive change? And that is the work I am passionate to talk about‚" Magara said.

Thirty-four Lonmin mine workers were gunned down by police on August 16 in 2012 after weeks of tensions.

Magara‚ who assumed the role of CEO in 2013‚ was speaking at a Business Day Dialogues event along with mining leader Joseph Mathunjwa on Friday morning.

Despite challenges in the gold and platinum mining industries in recent years‚ Magara said the events of August 2012 had led to with transformation within the company.

"I am very proud of the efforts in transformation we have made. Of my six general managers‚ at the mines right now‚ five are black South Africans. On my executive committee‚ there are females‚ there are blacks‚" he said.

"So I really think sometimes we are not ready to hear the good news‚ because it is better to talk about the things we haven't fixed‚" Magara said.

He said the company has had to make "tough and painful" decisions along the way.

"But somebody needs to make them‚" Magara said.

Mathunjwa's Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) led the Marikana protests.

He said he wanted to see more procurement and other transformation deals granted to the community.

"We are pushing Lonmin to say you cannot give business‚ for example supplying of tea bags and sugar‚ and you are saying this is the real business. Give the yellow machines (operation trucks) to the community‚ of which they did‚" he said.

"That is tangible transformation‚ and that was through the engagement of Amcu‚" Mathunjwa said.