Mining towns to receive R2.1bn for housing

Housing for mine workers
Mine workers receive housing

A better life for mine workers

TWO new corporate social investment surveys give mining companies the best marks of all listed stocks for their corporate social investments, suggesting the sector is doing a much better job of living up to societal expectations since the Marikana tragedy in 2012.

According to data by Integrated Reporting and Assurance Services (Iras) the metals and mining sector was the largest contributor to corporate social investment and socioeconomic development expenditures in SA, with 33 companies contributing a reported total of R3.9bn, or 46.4% of the total.

"With much of the media’s focus on post-Marikana debates within the sector being a blame game, suggesting that the sector has not been ‘fair’ to all stakeholders, one must question whether there’s really much merit in that collective argument," Iras managing partner Michael Rea.

Exxaro Resources came first from third last year in last week’s Nkonki top 100 integrated reporting survey and Sasol improved from eighth to third last year, while Anglo American Platinum did well to move up to sixth place from a woeful 41st in 2012. ArcelorMittal stood out with an improvement from 93rd in 2012 to ninth in the latest survey.

While the total amount of corporate social investment reported by all firms listed on the JSE amounts to R8.5bn — a rise of about 6% on the year — questions remain about just how well and on what this growing pot of money is being spent.

Only R6.3bn (74.6%) of overall spending was allocated to a specific developmental focus area, leaving R2.2bn, or roughly 25%, as "unexplained" or "undefined" spending.

The Iras report canvassed 311 listed companies and showed that merely 33 companies (9.3%) provided a comprehensive discussion of returns on corporate social investment and socioeconomic development expenditures.

Partner within PwC’s sustainability and integrated reporting department, Jayne Mammatt, said firms were struggling to measure the outputs of their social programmes, but that measuring this effect was "not straightforward".

Partner at Nkonki, Thuto Masasa, encouraged companies to participate in the Integrated Reporting Business Network being set up by the International Integrated Reporting Council to help drive corporate reporting across the world.

"South African companies have made significant progress ... integrated reporting is a fairly new way of corporate reporting," she said.


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