South African Mining Companies in Southern Africa - Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility
South African companies are increasingly looking for investment opportunities in the wider SADC region in a bid to benefit from favourable international markets for minerals, in competition with western and Asian companies. These investments have social and environmental impacts on people working in, and living around, mines. This book assesses South African mining and gas companies corporate governance and social responsibilities in five SADC countries: The Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe .
The expectation is high on the continent that companies from a country such as South Africa that has a strong rights-based constitution will adhere to globally accepted environmental and human rights standards when investing outside their home country borders, even in fragile states where regulation is difficult to implement and monitor. The main finding is that most SA companies behavior is appalling. Generally they do not respect their development agreement and operate differently from Chinese or Western companies. The book recommends that:
- South African banks must make public their lending practices, partners, and the agreed process of monitoring mining projects they fund in the SADC region.
- The South African government must design guidelines for its companies investing outside its borders, especially in the area of environmental protection and human rights. Alternatively, it could simply embrace the OECD guidelines.
- South African mining companies must respect and implement in full their development agreements when operating in the SADC region.
- To ensure transparency and accountability in revenue collection and sharing, regional governments and South African mining companies must sign-up and implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
- The procurement policies of South African mining companies in the region must privilege local businesses where they operate instead of South African businesses. Where capacity does not exist, they must create it through education and training.
- Host SADC governments must review their mining laws and contracts to raise revenues. This should not only target South African companies, but all companies, including their own national companies.
- Corporate social responsibility must cease to be a Public Relation exercise (as it is for most South African companies) and become an integrated policy for social and economic and sustainable development of communities in the SADC region.
- South African companies must engage and provide the necessary information to civil society organisations in these countries to allow them to do their job of monitoring extractive activities. For this to be effective, governments in SADC must have in place access to information acts which compel every institution to provide information to citizens when they need it.