Cape Town - Government has the right to criticise platinum producer Lonmin, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.
Responding to a question in the National Assembly, he told MPs that progress on addressing worker housing at Lonmin's mines was "not as in other mines".
"We cannot stop criticising companies who have money. We have made policies that they should change housing [for workers] from being hostels... into family houses.
"And some of the mines are doing it. And that is why you can stand and criticise Lonmin. Because the progress there is not as in other mines. Those are the facts," Zuma said.
Therefore, "we have the right to criticise Lonmin".
Earlier, referring to the mining industry in general, he said conditions in mines were terrible.
"With regard to the conditions in the mines: I think it would be a mistake to compare what government is doing, and what the mines have been doing over the centuries. I think it would be an unfair comparison.
"Conditions in the mines have been terrible, all the time, as a specific area that is owned by companies, not by government."
* Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.