Mkhondo coal mine gives 5% ownership to workers

Mkhondo coal mine gives 5% ownership to workers
Workers celebrating after receiving the news from bosses that they will now own 5% of Kangra coal mine. PICTURE BY IOL

The company made history in an environment where companies are notorious for operating in an area and thereafter leave communities languishing in poverty.

The Kangra coal mine in the Mkhondo area of Mpumalanga has given 5% of the company to its workers to own. 

This 5% will also belong to the community and will be used by the community members to develop their area. 

The mine was bought by a company called Menar last year through their child company called Canyon Coal. They took over operation in December 2018 and soon afterwards mapped out ways to assist in community upliftment. 

The event was attended by hundreds of workers, mining bosses and government officials, including mayor Vusi Motha and was held at the Kangra coal mine in the Mkhondo area a week ago.

Workers were given a day off to be part of the event with their bosses and local community members.

The announcement to own part of a giant mine was made by Menar bosses Mpumelelo Mkhabela and Vuslat Bayoglu on Thursday last week and saw the workers going crazy in celebration. The profits will be held in trusts.

The mine is the first in the history of South Africa to give shares to workers. It follows on the requirements of the Mining Charter Third Version that says workers and community should be given shares in mining businesses. 

“This is a permanent arrangement,” Mkhabela said. 

“For as long as you work at Kangra, you will own shares. If the company makes profits and dividends are declared, you will also benefit from dividends that will accrue to the employee’s trust,” said Mkhabela.

“In the next few months, the legal process to give effect to the allocation will be concluded, but we thought we should make our intentions firmly clear right from the start so that you can assess us against our undertaking,” Bayoglu told the event.

The theme of the programme is “New Beginning” and the company is “changing the narrative for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders,” Bayoglu added. 

Since the 1950s there has been coal mining in the Kangra mine but the newest owners said they are here in order to change the whole game. 

They promise to make sure it deals with the issues raised by the community, including issues of transformation.

They also promised they would put locals first when employing people and training and skills will be offered. 

The mine also promised they will give preferences to historically disadvantaged companies in the procurement of capital goods, services and consumables.

Motha, the area’s mayor, urged the community members not to destroy property, block roads or cause mayhem when angered by officials but instead the proper structures should be used in addressing concerns. 

The mine must also act swiftly when there are concerns, he said, saying they should not wait until the issues spill into ugly confrontation with the communities.

“We must not scare investors off,” the mayor said. 

“The new owners must be given the opportunity to prove themselves. Let’s work with them and let’s contribute to stability in our communities,” Motha urged.

(edited by MLM, with IOL) 

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