January 17, 2018

Marikana widows ask BASF for $9.1million support

 legal challenge

Today, representatives of widows of 44 mineworkers at Marikana Platinum Mine, north west of Johannesburg, who were shot dead by the police, hope to convince shareholders of Ludwigshafen (Germany-based BASF SE) in Frankfurt, Germany, during an annual general meeting, to pay €8m ($9.1m) into a fund to support the families of deceased miners.

Two of the widows, Agnes Thelejane and Ntombizolile Mosebetsane, who have been accompanied by South African Bishop, Johannes Seoka, will present their case in Frankfurt.

Seoka said about BASF, on the eve of the meeting: “They’ve got a moral obligation. We are determined and committed to the cause. Many people have died in those mines. Many people have died in the struggle to get employment, to get out of poverty.”

BASF SE is not directly culpable in the Marikana tragedy. However, the widows hope to convince shareholders that their company is guilty by association by platinum, which is used to make catalytic converters used in cars from Lomnin, the world’s third-biggest platinum producer by volume.

A government-commissioned investigation into the incident concluded that Lomnin had to shoulder the blame for the actions which ended in loss of lives.

The issue between the widows and BASF has brought into the spotlight the issue of the liability of company in ethical breaches involving their suppliers.

Meanwhile, on its website BASF says it conducted a thorough assessment of the concerns raised by the widows and has taken steps to ensure that Lomnin is fully compliant with BASF’s code of conduct for suppliers.

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