Platinum Dreams

Anglo American’s boardrooms at 44 Main Street, Joburg, and Carlton House Terrace, London, are lovely – far lovelier than its mineshafts in Rustenburg. This is business as usual. In a sweeping analysis of corporate social responsibility, from the colonial philanthropy of the Oppenheimers to BEE, Dinah Rajak hunts the elusive ghost of empowerment. What follows is an excerpt from her recent book, In Good Company: An Anatomy of Corporate Social Responsibility (Stanford University Press, 2011)

 

 

Diwe

‘I’ve come here today, to see what they have to offer’, Diwe said to me; ‘they don’t come to us, so we must come to them’. Diwe, whose partner had been a temporary contractor at the Rustenburg Mine, was attending Anglo Platinum’s annual ‘Community Participation Day’ on 4 June 2005. For the past three years, she had been living in Edenvale, the largest of the informal settlements on the outskirts of Rustenburg, the urban hub of South African’s platinum belt. ‘At heart, I am a business woman’ she said, before asking if I had any ‘social enterprise’, ‘empowerment’ or ‘business projects’ for which I could recruit her. Diwe appeared as the model of entrepreneurialism, the kind of convert whom, Anglo American (or indeed any of South African’s corporate giants that espouse commitment to corporate social responsibility), strive to produce through its ‘empowerment’ work. In all but the material goods, she embodied the ideal-type small entrepreneur imagined in the inclusive vision of a new corporate-driven development, bringing the opportunities of the market to empower the margins; extending the promise that in the new South Africa, ‘everyone can be a businessman’.

Like many others Diwe had embraced the entrepreneurial spirit that ‘empowerment through enterprise’ commands, in which freedom means freedom to do business alongside all others. She was one of many thousands who inhabit excluded margins such as Edenvale, hopeful entrepreneurs in search of opportunities. As the mining boom drew increasing numbers of people to Rustenburg in search of work, informal settlements, bearing names suggestive of a very different reality – Edenvale, Mayfair and Park Heightsii – have developed on the edge of the town. Here, in the ‘borderland’ (metaphorically and geographically speaking) between the mines and the formally recognized community, ‘disadvantaged young people from post-revolutionary societies, from inner cities and from other terrors incognita . . . seek to make good on the promises of the free market’ (Commaroff and Commaroff 2000: 308iii).

It was not only the tangible benefits that Diwe sought from the company, though of course these are much in demand, but also acknowledgement of her status as a potential participant in the company’s corporate social investment programmes; to be ‘seen’, as it were, as a suitable target for ‘empowerment’ which the company extended to the ‘community’, but which had up to this point seemed elusive. In quest of recognition as ‘stakeholders’, and the possible benefits this brings, there are many like Diwe who aspire to be selected as a potential small business contractor, or future Anglo Platinum bursary holder. As Deborah James has written of rural squatters, the prospect of success is ‘tantalizing’:

The promise of accelerated social mobility…is a vivid one. Although people like Amos Mathibela with his entrepreneurial and leadership skills are outnumbered by the multitude of their real or prospective followers with fewer prospects of upward mobility, the promise is there: one to be realized (or thought to be achieved). (James 2011: 334iv)

The power of this ‘new’ South African dream to recruit followers to the ideology of empowerment through enterprise lies, as it does with the American dream, in the aspiration rather than the fulfilment of that illusory yet persistent promise.

Just as the systems of patronage generated by the practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR) can create categories of ‘beneficiaries’ or ‘recipients’, so where there are beneficiaries there are also those who are excluded from the educational, medical or infrastructural advantages provided by CSR initiatives. The construction of a ‘community’, demarcated through the practices of CSR as they are pitched at particular groups and target zones, is itself a moral project; one which is mediated through the technologies of social investment and the mechanisms of partnership and ‘stakeholder engagement’. Here the power of CSR works to define the territory under the company’s purview, and to render the informal settlements as external to the company’s social responsibility as they disrupt the picture of upliftment and empowerment it strives to portray. As I continue the analysis of the company’s social investment in Rustenburg, these exclusionary processes are the main focus of this chapter.

As CSR around the mine generates webs of patronage and clientelism, company personnel saw themselves as empowerers of a hand-picked bunch of beneficiaries and expressed resentment at the expectation of handouts from others. For gifts are given, but should not be claimed. The corporate discourse of ‘self-empowerment’ thus implicitly rejects any claims of entitlement. Anglo Platinum’s entrepreneurial development initiative, The Businessv, describes its goal as ‘unleashing the unlimited socio-economic potential of disadvantaged job seekers surrounding the mine’. But aspiring participants must heed the warning on the front of the brochure, in a speech bubble next to the photograph of a newly empowered graduate of the programme: ‘I used to expect the mine and the government to give me everything to make me happy. I can’t believe how I now see life differently’. A profile of another success story of the company’s empowerment initiatives has a similar message: ‘since Bennet attended (The Business) he became so motivated he started finding opportunities for business everywhere! . . . He never stops, hence the nickname the “Duracell Bunny”. The injunction to ‘help oneself’ and ‘exploit the opportunities given’ acts to reinforce the denial of obligation. Individuals who do not respond to the moral injunction to help themselves have, it seems, only themselves to blame:

Everyone in Rustenburg is always looking to the mines for the town’s failures, for their own failure, and for the solutions. Perhaps they should to start looking to themselves . . . because when the mines close, we’ll all be gone (Refinery Manager, Anglo Platinum, Rustenburg).

Implicit within the construction of the ideal subject of empowerment—one who can ‘help oneself’—is the rejection of those who cannot or do not follow this model: those who, as one CSR officer put it, ‘squander the opportunities provided by the mine and sit waiting for handouts’ (Gilbert Mogapi, Anglo Platinum, Rustenburg). Thus we find Victorian discourses of the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving poor’ re-animated and redefined in the contemporary register of CSR: on the one hand the ‘deserving’ who have earned their status as beneficiaries by demonstrating their will and capacity for upliftment and conversion to the entrepreneurial spirit; and on the other the ‘undeserving poor’, who are rendered ‘dependent’ and ‘idle’ through social welfare. As Polanyi (2001vi) showed us, it was just such moral rendering of the corrosive effects of social welfare, and the edifying influence of the market which provided the legitimation for reforming the Poor Law in 1834vii.

The true subjects of empowerment are juxtaposed with the myriad ‘false’ claims on the company for ‘endless supplies of cash’ about which the company’s CSR officers often complained: ‘we’re not made of money, we’re not a bottomless pit, but everyone thinks we are’. They saw it as their responsibility to sort the ‘legitimate’ subjects of empowerment (those who reject the role of ‘beneficiary’ and, as Anglo’s empowerment arm, Anglo Zimeleviii, put it, ‘stand on their own two feet’), from those who try to ‘take advantage of’ or ‘exploit’ the company. The inclusive vision of economic empowerment, whereby the goals of transformation and development are asserted to embrace all through the emancipatory power of market opportunities, gives way to exclusive practices of patronage, delivered by the company to those who, so we are told, ‘can help themselves’ and do not ‘think the mine owes them’, as Grace, an Anglo Platinum CSR officer, put it. The celebration of a new era of entrepreneurialism thus rebukes those who ‘squander’ or fail to seize the opportunities of the market, facilitated through CSR.

When claims to compensation or entitlement were made on the company, CSR officers dismissed these as illegitimate or driven by, as Gill (a socio-economic development coordinator at Rustenburg) put it, ‘ulterior motives’. To illustrate this, let me return to the June 4 public participation day, when a decision was made to cancel the ‘open discussion forum’ that had been planned. Instead, the Recreation Club in Anglo Platinum’s Waterval mining complex was filled with stalls presenting what the company had to offer, or had done, in the various areas of its CSR work. There was a stall for black economic empowerment (BEE) procurement offering Cadbury’s Top Deck chocolate bars (a layer of white chocolate on a layer of dark chocolate) with a ribbon attached on which was printed ‘Add Value, Not a Face’. There was another for educational bursaries handing out application forms; a stall for HIV/AIDS prevention distributing awareness leaflets; and one for environmental management with large technical diagrams of the new Acid Converting Plant, explaining how the sulphur dioxide which it produced would be used as fertilizer. Above the entrance table, posters listed the issues raised at the last open day (May 2004) and the ways in which the company had responded to these, or was in the process of doing so. Nox, a corporate social investment (CSI) manager at Rustenburg Section, and her colleague Grace, explained the company’s decision to cancel the discussion forum so as to avoid the ‘fiasco’ of a previous stakeholder event held earlier in the year, which, according to Grace, had been ‘invaded’ by a group of people who ‘came only to make demands, and make trouble’:

Grace:
If we have an open day, people come and say “oh our home has cracks in it because of the blasting in the mines”, or “our children are sick because of the pollution”. At the last meeting Nox was completely mobbed by people making these claims, weren’t you?

Nox:
Yes, people were coming with all sorts of claims about what the mine had done to them. But you know, what people really want is jobs. There’s such unemployment and they’ve come here from all over to find jobs and they are expecting to find them at the mine . . . then they complain ‘you give jobs to migrant workers from Gauteng or Eastern Cape, but not to locals’. But they are not from Rustenburg themselves. Maybe they have been living here some years now, but they’re migrants too!

Grace:
You know I really felt for you—it was like going into the lions den. But you know, we say to them, ‘ok, we’ll bring a mine doctor to check your children’, and of course he’ll say it’s not the mine making them sick. Look at my children, they live right on the mine and they aren’t sick. Or we’ll say ‘ok we’ll bring an engineer to your house to check the cracks’. But it’s not the mine, it’s the poor building and materials, no concrete, nothing. But what they want is jobs . . . They have all these expectations that the mine will just provide. These are people who are not happy with their lives because if you were happy with your life would you bother going to an Anglo meeting. And Nox has to tame them.

Since the event recounted by Nox and Grace, Anglo Platinum public participation meetings had been a little short on both drama and participation. The June 4 open day was the third in a series of ‘stakeholder consultations’ held by Anglo Platinum in Rustenburg between March and June that year. The first two events, both of which were held at 9am on consecutive Tuesday mornings in the Recreation Club, specifically concerned environmental pollution issues, with the aim of explaining to the public the reduction in emissions achieved by the new Acid Converting Plant. Highly technical presentations were made by the manager of the converting plant and an environmental consultant who had been contracted as a ‘third party’ to facilitate the meeting. It was attended by around fifteen to twenty people, including several management-level employees of the mines, a union representative and directors of an environmental pressure group operating in the Rustenburg area, run by Karl and Neelius, two retired mining engineers who lived on small-holdings in the area outside Rustenburg, and who described the group’s objective as ‘to keep the mines clean’ (Neelius). ‘We’re watching them’ Karl said, ‘we’re monitoring the emissions . . . but mostly now they talk to us and listen to us because we speak the same language as them’. The meetings remained highly technical. The only time ‘social issues’ entered the arena during the meeting was in a question from Karl: ‘when are you going to do something about the informal settlements? We have some in Kroondal now and the ecological degradation that they are causing to the landscape is terrible, they have to be moved’. In response to this, the facilitator explained, ‘we’ll deal with social issues at the 4 June open day’.

Writing about stakeholder participation in England, Elizabeth Harrison describes how participants are expected to conform to an ideal of the ‘good citizen’, demonstrating their worthiness for social welfare initiatives. Conversely, those who refuse or fail to conform are perceived as ‘subversive’ as they ‘disrupt or negate the intended processes or outcomes of public policy’ (Barnes and Prior 2009, quoted in Harrison 2012ix). In the community participation processes at the Rustenburg mines, those who are seen to ‘make demands’ on the company risk being categorised as ‘troublemakers’, or worse. Earlier, Grace had referred to the presence of these apparently unwelcome guests at the stakeholder forum as an ‘invasion’. By making ‘claims’ on the company—whether in relation to health, housing or jobs—they transgress the unwritten rules of engagement, disrupting the apparent efficacy of the company’s community upliftment and empowerment agenda. For in doing so they are perceived to have given voice to an illegitimate sense of entitlement, rather than demonstrating that they are willing and able to be empowered ‘to help themselves’.

Diwe went away empty-handed from the June 4 stakeholder event, except for a bunch of pamphlets, and the promise of feedback within three months to the list of questions and comments left on a clipboard at the entrance. I asked Diwe what had gone before in the way of community projects led by any of the mining companies. She said a couple of years previously a mining company had initiated a recycling and waste collection project in the area of Edenvale in which she lived: ‘one of the companies came, Impala I think maybe, and they said we could do a business with collecting waste, some recycling too . . . We made a business plan . . . but I don’t know what happened, I never saw it again’. She added, ‘I’m very interested in the BEE procurement, so I come to all the stakeholder workshops to find a project . . . but it’s very difficult to start something in Edenvale’.

A Joint Responsibility

The dramatic expansion and urbanisation of the area within the Rustenburg Local Municipality (RLM) has created enormous developmental pressures, manifest most starkly in the rapid expansion of informal settlements which surround the various Rustenburg mining operations and which now account for an estimated 10–20 percent of the population of the RLM (Rustenburg Local Municipality 2005: 13x). The RLM’s 2005 Integrated Development Plan states that:

This is a stark reality, in that the municipality now continues to see an influx of migrant and seasonal workers, imported crime activities, over burdening of existing resources, shrinking land availability, widening gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ (ibid: 4).

In most of Edenvale, as in the other informal settlements in the Rustenburg area, there is no access to basic services. Only a very small corner of Edenvale has access to water tanks and a sewage system. According to Prosper Masinga, a union shop steward at Anglo Platinum who lives in Edenvale:

We have a mobile clinic which comes to the place I live in—one mobile clinic for 20,000 people and Anglo built sewage and supply water to the bit of the camp I live in, but that’s the only one I know. That’s it.

The clinic which comes once or twice monthly is provided by the Department of Health. According to Jerry Mosenyi, the company had plans to fund another such clinic at some point in the future. There are no schools in Edenvale, (the nearest school is over 3km awayxi), and only one tarred road which goes from the edge of the settlement to the Anglo Platinum mining compound.

The informal settlements have become categorised as a problem of their own, isolated from the list of core development issues identified in planning processes which commonly read as education, healthcare services, water provision, small and medium-sized enterprise development, and informal settlements. In formal documentation, both Rustenburg Municipal Council and Anglo Platinum stress their commitment to working in public-private partnership to meet the urgent development challenges of these areas. According to the discourse of partnership, this is to be achieved through the ‘Integrated Development Process’. In the Municipality of Rustenburg, as in all municipalities in South Africa, there is a sophisticated Integrated Development Plan (IDP), a strategy for multi-stakeholder partnership to which all parties claim to subscribe. CSR managers within the mining companies commonly referred to the IDP as ‘the motherboard’, ‘template’ or even, ‘bible’ guiding the company’s socio-economic development activities and stated their commitment not only to working with local government, but also to being guided by them on CSR planning: ‘we all really subscribe to it—you know it has become a bible to many of the people because these are the real needs of the community identified in here’ (Jerry Mosenyi, corporate social investment officer, Rustenburg). Nox explained that needs assessment was made on the basis of dual and complimentary processes of stakeholder engagement: through the integrated development plan and through the company’s in-house systems:

Well, you see it’s a combination. First of all we have our own broad priorities—infrastructure, small business, education and HIV—although infrastructure is more for the new remote mines in Limpopo, not so much for Rustenburg anymore. Then we undertake needs assessment, first with reference to the Integrated Development Plan for the RLM, and secondly through our own stakeholder engagement as part of SEAT [Anglo American’s Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox]. So we hold ‘community participation’ meetings like this one on June 4th.

The national government requires that all municipalities in the country produce a comprehensive Integrated Development Plan every five years, and review the plan annually in consultation with all local stakeholders, from representatives of the corporate sector to local ward councillors. In Rustenburg, a central focus of the IDP is diversifying the economy away from a reliance on mining, by developing small and medium sized business and encouraging large non-mining industrial business to move to the area, together with a strategy for rural and agricultural development.

The support which Anglo Platinum provided to this collaborative pursuit of the IDP goals was not simply financial. Anglo Platinum personnel spoke of ‘donating’ the company’s ‘expertise’ and ‘technical know-how’ in areas such as environmental management, urban planning and water delivery, in order to help ‘build capacity’ in local government. During the time I was in Rustenburg the company had seconded two technical advisors to the municipal offices for a period of two years. The first, an environmental manager was involved in designing the new environmental plan for the Rustenburg Municipality. The second, a housing officer, had been seconded to the council’s planning department, ostensibly to help deal with the acute shortage of housing in the area, and the rapid growth of informal settlements.

But, while the inhabitants of the informal settlements are often the subjects of formal discussions, they are rarely participants in the conversations. With the exception of a small area of Edenvale and Mayfair, another settlement which surrounds the Xstrata Chrome mining areas, the informal settlements remain outside the existing structures aimed at recruiting stakeholder participation in the integrated development planning process. As the largest of the informal settlements with an estimated population of somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000, Edenvale has some level of formal recognition, but was only granted the formal status of a ‘ward’ of the Rustenburg municipality in 2005, and as such, is represented by elected Ward Counsellors who attend the annual IDP review. However, the formal discourse of the IDP continues to distinguish between ‘formal stakeholders’, defined as ‘permanent residents’ of the Rustenburg Municipality, and ‘informal stakeholders’ (Rustenburg Local Municipality 2005: 25). In the 2005 IDP, the ward which represents Edenvale, was formally categorised as ‘Edenvale Squatters’ (ibid: 54). This classification explicitly emphasises not only the spatial liminality of the informal settlements, but imposes a temporal liminality on them. This distinction is replicated in documentation relating to Anglo Platinum’s local socio-economic development activities, and in the discourse of the company’s frontline socio-economic development officers, in which, informal settlers were commonly categorised, not only as informal stakeholders, but as illegal squatters or invaders.

As a result, social responsibility for the informal settlements was displaced between the development planning mechanisms of the Rustenburg Municipality and the ‘community’ of beneficiaries as it is constructed through the patronage and clientelism generated by corporate social investment, so revealing the disjuncture between state provision and corporate responsibility. This tension was further compounded by the febrile relationship between the Rustenburg Municipality, Anglo Platinum and the Royal Bafokeng Administrationxii (RBA)—which owns a significant amount of the land leased by the mining companies and has developmental (though not legal) jurisdiction over the territory under its domainxiii. Displaced within this institutional triad of authority, the informal settlements have become the subject of competing attempts to deny, rather than assert social responsibility. As Jeremy Brooke, ex-Community Affairs Manager for Anglo Platinum remarked: ‘the informal settlements are just a disaster—not that I was personally responsible for that . . . but those are the areas that no one wants to take responsibility for’.

While Anglo Platinum’s socio-economic development officers stressed that the Integrated Development Plan was their ‘motherboard’ guiding the company’s social investment activities, a very different picture emerged from the annual IDP representative forum meeting at the Rustenburg Civic Centre in May 2005. The hall was packed with over 300 Ward Counsellors from each of Rustenburg’s thirty-five wards and any other people who wanted to attend the open meeting. No representatives from any of the five mining companies were present. Odette Kambalame, the IDP manager for the Municipality, told me:

They sit on the advisory panel of the IDP and meet to tell us their needs and plans, but when that meeting happens is up to them—sometimes it doesn’t, or . . . instead most companies send a junior manager with no power to the meetings. They send the ‘photocopy boy’ who knows nothing and can’t make any decisions. If they followed the IDP, as they say they do, they would come to us to ask, where is the need that we have identified through our community consultation process? But with them, people just manoeuvre their way in and then the mine just hands them the money. There is no identification of need. I have never seen them at an IDP representative forum.

At the IDP representative forum ‘The Informal Settlements’ was listed as an item on the agenda, a separate category in its own right. The Rustenburg Mayor opened the meeting, with a brief obituary for a ward counsellor, PJ Xhosa, who had died the previous Sunday. In his obituary the Mayor spoke of PJ Xhosa’s work ‘at the forefront of negotiating for those people in Edenvale to be relocated to a more formal township’:

The big problem in the squatter camp is that this is a big camp and there is no water there because the squatter camp land belongs to the mines and there was a view that mining would happen in that area.

After the plenary session was formally concluded with a roll-call of all the ward counsellors present, a prayer in Setswana and token budget approval, the assembly broke into eight separate working groups to address the priorities listed on the agenda: education, infrastructure, health, tourism, small-business, sports and leisure facilities, roads, and the ‘Informal Settlements Commission’.

However, the Informal Settlements Commission discussion was constrained by the absence of a critical group of actors—the mining companies—making debate on the whole range of urgent issues listed (including water provision and sanitation) fruitless and resolution impossible. The first point for discussion was water. The issue of relocation which had been raised by the Mayor in his obituary of PJ Xhosa, was the subject of heated yet brief discussion ending in frustration:

RP Nkosi, Ward Counsellor (Park Heights):
I want to know how this consultation works, because they have never consulted with us. We did not have the consultation of the budget and it was not presented to the community.

Facilitator (from the RLM council):
It is very important when we report back that we can say consultation was done and on what day it was held.

RP Nkosi, Ward Counsellor (Park Heights):
Ok, but now I see on the budget that in Protea Park Extension Four they are requesting a swimming pool. We have no toilets. They cannot have a swimming pool when we have no waste removal, no sewage system.

Celia Kabene, Ward Counsellor (Edenvale):
It’s premature to talk about waste removal now, we can’t talk about waste removal when people don’t even have water.

Gladys Mogwaza, Ward Counsellor (Edenvale):
The people who don’t have water to drink will come and take water from the swimming pool!

Facilitator:
I don’t want to talk about swimming pools, let’s leave swimming pools where they are and move on.

Gladys Mogwaza, Ward Counsellor (Edenvale):
We are not talking about a nice-to-have, we must focus on the priorities . . . When are they going to put the water in?

Facilitator:
They cannot put in full water systems . . . because some of the informal settlements are going to be moved for the mine . . . So we’ve all agreed on water tanks in all the informal settlements. OK, water’s done, let’s move on to clinics.

Celia Kabene:
I want to know the time-frame for people being moved because we have no water or sanitation but I don’t have the information as to when we are being moved.

Facilitator:
The RLM is working with the mining company. Their plans are to put in water and sanitation in the new place so that when people move there it is fully developed. Because people are going to be relocated, they obviously aren’t going to pump in lots of money to the place which will be moved for the mine. So they’ll first put in a few tanks of water. Now, let’s move on, the tar road.

Soon after, the facilitator stopped the discussion and instructed us to return to the plenary. Celia Kabene never got an answer as to when the residents of her ward would be relocated. Indeed, speaking to both the planning office in the council and the company’s socio-economic development office, no clear plans seem to have been made (or were told to me) either for the relocation of the informal settlement or for the sinking of new mine shafts in the area it currently occupied. In the meantime, neither the mine nor the local government were making moves to provide full water and sanitation systems to Edenvale.

Beyond the ‘Community’

As spaces of exclusion from service provision, the liminality of the informal settlements reveals the fissure between CSR and state responsibility. They expose the failure of partnership, of which Anglo Platinum’s HIV care and prevention programme, Circle of Hope, and processes such as the IDP were intended to be shining examples. Local government officers responsible for the IDP represented this as a failure on the part of the mining companies to acknowledge their responsibility in both creating and providing for the informal settlements:

They won’t accept responsibility for the informal settlements. The mineworkers want to be with their wives. So their wives are coming to be with them and are living in the informal settlements. That is who is living in the informal settlements—it’s the families of their employees (Odette Kambalame, IDP Manager, Rustenburg Local Municipality).

However, Anglo Platinum employees, from hostel managers to socio-economic development officers, stressed that the true obstacles to delivering development to the informal settlements were, on the one hand the incapacity of local government, and on the other, the Royal Bafokeng Administration’s prohibition on the formalisation of ‘illegal settlements’. Thus, Nox Ndovulu, Anglo Platinum regional corporate social invesment coordinator, explained:

I must tell you, you try and coordinate with local government to come up with a joint venture between the company and local government, but because of lack of capacity there are no decision-makers, people don’t turn up to meetings, they’re not committed.

Nox’s assessment of the failure of local government officers to ‘turn up to meetings’ or take decisions, thus echoed almost completely Odette Kambalame’s converse account of how the IDP process was undermined by the mining companies who either sent ‘the photocopy boy’ to meetings or were absent altogether.

At the same time, with regards to the Royal Bafokeng Administration, any attempt at social investment in infrastructure or development more broadly, Anglo personnel explained, would be taken as an act of formalising a settlement of illegal squatters on Bafokeng land. Thus Kobus, a hostel manager, had remarked while pointing to the informal settlement outside the fences of Hostel A:

You see the squatter camp over there. We’d like to do something for them, give them water or sanitation, but the Bafokeng Administration would accuse us of formalising an illegal settlement on their land. They are squatting illegally on the land—it is Bafokeng tribal land . . . The mine is not allowed to give anything. So they get nothing from them and nothing from us.

Similarly, Daniel Enele (an Anglo Patinum socio-economic development officer) described his relationship with the ‘squatters’ of Robega, an informal settlement close to the Bafokeng Rasimone Mine (a joint venture between Anglo Platinum and Royal Bafokeng Holdings that falls within the territory of the RBA). Enele stressed their status as illegal land invaders:

Fortunately I have only this Robeja in my territory unlike Jerry Mosenyi who is in charge of the areas around Waterval, he has many areas like this, many squatters in his area. Here, they played a very clever game. A few came in and then they advised many others to invade the land and fill it up with people and shacks because they know that the government couldn’t tell them to leave. They are the only outsiders who live in Bafokeng territory.

At the same time, Enele’s comments exemplified the conventional representation of informal settlements, not only as illegal land invaders, but as the common locus of crime, violence and social corruption:

These ones in Robeja are not so bad as other squatter camps though, they are not so violent. At first, they were demanding and threatening, always demanding—they came to a meeting carrying guns. Now the chairman of the informal settlement and myself—we’re the best of friends . . . When I needed to see him because they were squatting on the land where we want to sink a ventilation shaft, I go out of the office . . . I go to his place and I take a loaf of bread and I sit and have tea with him in his shack … People say, ‘what are you doing going from the office to the shack?’ But I go anyway.

This dual construction of the informal settlements as both illegal, and the source of illegality, was pervasive. During our discussion of the development challenges in the Bojanala Platinum District (which incorporates those areas under the jurisdiction of the RBA), the Bafokeng Queen Mother, SB Motlegi, explained:

The major challenge is poverty and then poverty brings a lot of underlying things—you get prostitution and drug abuse. People are flocking to this area—with this free movement from one place to another you get all these things.

This resonated with the account given by Annie du Toit, a housing coordinator for Anglo Platinum Rustenburg. Despite commenting earlier that a large number of Anglo Platinum mineworkers were living in the informal settlements, she explicitly placed them outside the zone of the company’s responsibility, while categorising them as the source of ‘theft, noise and pollution’:

The informal settlements aren’t really a problem for us. Unless they are adjacent to our housing suburbs—then there can be problems with theft, noise and pollution . . . It is a concern to think that people live in shacks—but that will be addressed by the IDP I’m sure.

Thus the failure to accept developmental responsibility for the informal settlements reveals the institutional fissures and fragmentation which lie beneath the claims to community partnership and tri-sector collaboration that are encapsulated in the commitment to ‘integrated development’ and the 2003 Memorandum of Understanding between the Rustenburg Municipality and Royal Bafokeng Administration (see note 13). Yet, as each party attempts to distance themselves from this responsibility, the tension between them serves to collectively reinforce the construction of the informal settlements as outside the welfare ‘community’, and mainstream society in general. While each party shifted the burden of responsibility to the other, all drew on a common discourse that sought to undermine the legitimate status of informal settlers as citizens, and therefore deny their claims to developmental benefits or social welfare whether provided by the mining companies, the local government or the RBA. Local government officers and company CSR personnel alike constantly emphasised that the informal settlements are ‘very new, they are migrants’, or, as Gilbert Mogapi put it, ‘for most people in the squatter camps—this is not their permanent address’. Equally Carol Flynn, a CSR consultant hired by Anglo Platinum to carry out a socio-economic impact assessment in Rustenburg in 2004 commented: ‘they’re all migrants in the squatter camps, these aren’t local guys and if the company puts infrastructure in, it’ll be making them permanent and they don’t want that’. Explaining her own frustration with the apparently intractable situation she added, ‘the trick is to do something, but not too much’.

The persistent categorisation of their status as ‘migrants’ serves a dual purpose. Firstly, as the IDP statement exemplifies, it provides a narrative that serves both the Municipality and the mining companies, according to which Rustenburg’s ‘social tensions’ can be attributed to the moral and social degradation ‘imported’ by an ‘influx of migrant(s)’ (Rustenburg Local Municipality 2005:4). Thus the Development Plan lists one of the priorities for Rustenburg as ‘rebuilding the moral fabric of society’ (ibid: 53). Just as the informal settlements were viewed as a threat to the physical and moral integrity of the workplace, a source of corruption and contagion, within corporate paradigms of HIV managementxiv, so they are categorised as such within the broader development discourses that dominate discussions around planning and social improvement in Rustenburg. Secondly, this classification underpins the representation of the informal settlements as transitory, impermanent, and usually, illegal, and in so doing to reject claims to entitlement by casting their inhabitants—many of whom have lived in the area for a number of years—as, in effect, ‘non-stakeholders’. Thus the disjuncture between the mechanisms of corporate social investment and the Integrated Development Planning process serves constantly to reinforce the representation of the informal settlements as transient, to excise those who live in them from the institutional map of stakeholders, and by casting them as ‘informal’ or ‘illegitimate’ stakeholders, to deny any claims to entitlement. This reminds us how, as discussed in the previous chapter, corporate responsibility is conceptualised as something which is dispensed, or given voluntarily to projects or people selected by the company, so eschewing claims to entitlement, particularly from those who fall outside the demarcated zone of social responsibility.

This brings us back to Diwe, who opened this chapter, striving to be recognized as a ‘stakeholder’, to be selected as a target of the company’s empowerment initiatives. Over twenty years ago, Fred Cooper wrote that ‘the city is inhabited by those still waiting to win as well as those who have won’ (Cooper 1987: 181xv). This is even more true today than it was then, despite the emancipatory promise of the market, extended by the giants of corporate capitalism to aspiring entrepreneurs at the margins. If winners in contemporary capitalism are defined by their capacity to claim benefits from those with the power or resources to deliver them (in this case a mining company), then the odds are certainly stacked against Diwe and others like her who, presumed lacking in these marketable assets, skills or simply potential are further marginalised from the exclusionary processes of empowerment (Ong 2006xvi). For the paradox of corporate social responsibility lies in the fact that it expounds a doctrine of self-empowerment, demanding that beneficiaries demonstrate their will and capacity to ‘help themselves’ to a piece of the market, while at the same time, rejecting any form of ‘claim-making’ on the part of potential beneficiaries and corresponding obligation on the part of the company. Through the master narratives of economic empowerment and conversion to an entrepreneurial spirit, CSR appears, not only as an authenticating discourse for corporate capitalism, but an extension of supposedly market-based values. Yet steeped in the morality of gift-gifting rather than the supposedly autonomous relations of the market, in reality it serves to further entrench the social hierarchies and vast economic disparities which define life around the mines, between mine employee and unemployed, between stakeholder and squatter. The ‘empowerment’ delivered through CSR is highly selective, exclusive, and certainly elusive to those such as Diwe who sit beyond the ‘community’ of corporate social investment, but continue on in the hope of attaining empowerment through enterprise.

***

References:

i All names have been changed to ensure anonymity.

ii The informal settlements have also been given fictitious names to ensure anonymity.

iii Comaroff, Jean. and John. Comaroff, 2000 ‘Millennial capitalism: first thoughts on a second coming’, Public Culture 12 (2):291-344.

iv James, Deborah, 2011. The Return of the Broker: Consensus, Hierarchy and Choice in South African Land Reform. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society 17 (2):318-338.

v The name of the initiative has been fictionalised to ensure anonymity.

vi Polanyi, Karl. 2001 first published in 1944. The Great Transformation. Boston: Beacon Press.

vii ‘Never previously in all modern history has a more ruthless act of social reform been perpetrated; it crushed multitudes of lives while merely pretending to provide a criterion of genuine destitution in the workhouse test’ (Polanyi 2001: 82).

viii Zimele means ‘to stand on one’s own two feet’.

ix Harrison, Elizabeth, 2012. ‘Performing partnership: invited participation and old people’s forums’, Human Organisation.

x Rustenburg Local Municipality. 2005. Draft Integrated Development Plan 2005/2006. Rustenburg: Rustenburg Local Municipality.

xi Furthermore, the majority of schools within a 5km radius of Edenvale are either Afrikaans or Setswana medium schools. The great pressure on English-language schools in Rustenburg further restricts access to education for residents of the settlements, the majority of whom come from outside the North West Province and are not Setswana speakers.

xii The complex relationship between the RBN and the Rustenburg Municipality is beyond the scope of this chapter, but has been well documented by Andrew Manson and Bernard Mbenga 2003, ‘The Richest Tribe in Africa’: Platinum-Mining and the Bafokeng in South Africa’s North West Province, 1965–1999. Journal of Southern African Studies 29 (1):25–47.

xiii On 12 January 2003 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the RLM and RBA was signed by the Rustenburg Mayor and Kgosi (King Leruo Loltlegi of the Royal Bafokeng Nation [RBN]), and witnessed by President Mbeki. The MOU represents an effort to harmonise the legal authority of the Rustenburg District Council with the ‘traditional authority’ of the RBN as recognised by Chapter 12 of the Constitution of South Africa, and as landowner of the Bafokeng area (Memorandum of Understanding 2003: 1.4).

xiv For a discussion of Anglo American’s HIV/Aids corporate care programme and policy see chapters 4 & 5 of the book.

xv Cooper, Frederick. 1987. On the African Waterfront: Urban Disorder and Transformation of Work in Colonial Mombassa. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

xvi Ong, Aihwa. 2006. Neoliberalism as Exception. Mutations in Sovereignty and Citizenship. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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One Response to “Platinum Dreams”
  1. Craig Brown 23 January 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    I t seems there will be a lot of problems in rustenburg… that sucks i guess