MINES TO PROVIDE HOUSING TO EMPLOYEES TO ENSURE INTEGRATED APPROACH TO TRANSFORMATION

Mining Sector In South Africa


Surface mining industry body Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of South Africa (Aspasa) has called for further engagement with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) following last year’s release of the Draft Review of Housing and Living Conditions Standard, which requires mines to provide suitable housing for mineworkers.

On the 11th December 2019 the DMRE released the reviewed Housing and Living Conditions Standard for the minerals industry. The reviewed Housing and Living Conditions Standard repeals the 2009 Housing and Living Conditions Standard.

The reviewed Housing and Living Conditions Standard retains many of the principles contained in the 2009 standard while introducing new requirements for both existing and new mining right holders.

A clear distinction is made between existing and new mining right holders:

An existing mining right holder is required to submit a detailed Housing and Living Conditions plan within twelve months from the date of publication (11 December 2019), however,  a new mining right holder would only be required to develop an Employer Assisted Housing Scheme after consulting with organised labour, the relevant municipality and the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation within twelve months of the granting of the mining right.

Key takeaways from the Housing and Living Conditions Standard:

If feasible, a mining right holder who intends developing accommodation for its mine employees shall acquire land within close proximity of the mine operations. A mining right holder must promote housing delivery for a range of income groups. The provision for a state subsidy for low income earners has been removed.

A mining right holder must offer a range of housing options which includes rental accommodation, private home ownership, government subsidised home ownership and living out allowances.

Housing options should include single and family accommodation. A mining right holder must put measures in place to educate, train and inform employees of the housing options available.

In addition to compliance with minimum norms and standards in relation to the delivery and management of housing, the standard requires mining right holders to ensure that the procurement for housing development is conducted in line with the requirements of the Mining Charter III. Mining Charter III provides strict requirements on mining suppliers such as a BEE compliant company having at least a level 4 status in terms of the dti’s BEE Codes of Good Practice, and at least 25% +1 vote ownership by historically disadvantaged persons.

Mining right holders will be under extreme pressure to achieve both the procurement targets and meet the requirements of the Housing and Living Conditions Standard 2019. It is clear that in order to achieve the transformation needed in the South African mining industry, mining right holders will have to collaborate and ensure that they have an integrated approach to transformation.

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