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Title: The effects of corporate social responsibility on community dispute resolutions in the South African mining sector
Authors: Modimoeng, Keabetswe 
Issue Date: 2017
The South African mining sector has over the years been perceived to be exploitative and not responsive to the investment interest of immediate stakeholders where they extract (local communities and labour). The perception of non-investment has resulted in amongst others, extensive community and labour unrests leading up to mass killings of mine workers at Marikana by the South African Police.

The South African government has enacted policies to guide Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for the sector but the historic problems associated with this sector persists. As a result of community concerns around mining CSR, communities are mobilising around civic organisations, with the aim of brining the mining sector to account and fostering community development in their localities. This research explores and analyses if the mining sector adheres to CSR in their ventures and how communities perceive the sector’s activities and CSR approaches.

The epistemological foundations of this research are mainly positivist adopting theoretical assumptions of the stakeholder theory. The research methods are however those of mixed methods – quantitative sequential qualitative methods. The subsequent research designs are a survey in the quantitative methods and exploratory interviews in the qualitative methods. Data was gathered using a survey questionnaire in the quantitative methods and recorded phenomenological interviews in the qualitative methods. Data was gathered from a sample of 200 community members in the two sampled mining areas of Marikana (100) and Carletonville (100). The former is a platinum belt and the latter is an old gold mining area. To augment quantitative data from the field survey sequential qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews (phenomenological interviews) with mining company executives, government leaders, trade unions leadership as well as community members in Makhado and Tshikondeni mining sites.

The researcher encountered various limitations including travels to remote areas with lengthy distances on gravel roads, and respondents’ “over-researched” attitudes especially in Marikana and Makhado.

The findings suggest that the mine workers’ location, living and working conditions influence their understanding and therefore definition of CSR. Although numerous CSR definitions emerged in the case of Marikana CSR was equated to basic service provision similar to those provided for by the municipality like houses, schools, roads and clinics. In the case of Carletonville which is a well-developed mining town, CSR meant skills development, local enterprise development and provision of bursaries. It emerged that the majority of community members are not aware of the CSR programmes implemented in their localities. Respondents further cited collusive corrupt activities between the mining companies, traditional authorities and municipal leadership as the main deterrent to CSR and to local economic development. Overall findings suggest that the mining sector is adherent to CSR legislation at the minimal level but this does not meet the needs and expectations of community members. The mismatch between community expectations and their understanding of CSR does not align with government policy on CSR requirement of the mining sector.

The study recommends, among others, that bold and decisive government enforcement of penalties, which include consistent revoking of mining licences for non-CSR compliance by mining companies. The thesis also highlights the implications for managers as the rise of civic organisations propels a new engagement approach between mining companies and communities. This new approach would have inherent challenges such as delays in reaching consensus and exposing mining companies to internal community politics. Additionally, the study recommends future research be focused on evaluating constitutional powers of traditional leaders in relation to community interests in mining CSR. Furthermore, research could be conducted to establish previous compliance records on post-mining social commitments and environmental rehabilitation of mining companies in South Africa.

This thesis brings to the fore, an illustration of the emergent bargaining power communities has and how it compels mining corporates to engage with communities more consultatively. Failure to do so, result in situations such as Coal of Africa impasse in the Makhado area where losses amounting to billions of Rands are incurred.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy: Business Administration, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2017.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Management Sciences)

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