Johannesburg - South Africa's political
system is being polluted by mining companies, the Bench Marks
Foundation said on Tuesday.
"It makes democracy problematic,
because whose interests are being served?" asked foundation
researcher David van Wyk.
"There are political parties who
need to win elections. They need huge amounts of funding to win those
elections and those corporations give them the funding to win those
elections," he said in Johannesburg.
He said mining companies which were in
favour of the party elected were problematic and undermined
"This is why communities end up in
the streets protesting, instead of going through the democratic
channels that are there, because they don't feel like they can trust
the democratic channels."
Van Wyk said this was why there had
been service delivery protests almost every month since August last
year in the North West.
The foundation was releasing a study
entitled "Policy Gap 6, Living in the Platinum Minefields".
It looked at six mining communities and
examined what had changed, what had improved, and what needed to be
The companies surveyed were Anglo
Platinum [JSE:AMS], Impala Platinum Holdings Limited [JSE:IMP],
Lonmin [JSE:LON], Xstrata, Aquarius Platinum Limited [JSE:AQP], and
Royal Bafokeng Platinum Limited [JSE:RBP].
The Bench Marks Foundation is an
independent, faith-based organisation monitoring how well companies
perform in the field of social responsibility.
Van Wyk said politicians becoming board
members of mining companies was a problem.
"A lot of the problems arise from
what we call 'political pollution'. Politicians becoming board
members is becoming a problem," he said.
There were examples in the study's
report of political involvement.
Van Wyk read from the report: "The
Bench Marks Foundation is disappointed by the [black economic
empowerment] information contained in the Aquarius report to the
effect that Zwelake Sisulu, HRH Princess Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, and
Malibongwe Women's Development Agency are all beneficiaries of
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