in deep water

Borrie La Grange

Borrie La Grange

Mining giant Anglo Platinum could face pressure from major international automotive manufacturers over allegations of human rights infringements at its operations in Limpopo.

The claimed infringements stem from a report released by international aid organisation ActionAid outlining the plight of villagers affected by resettlement programmes at the Anglo Plat's PPL mine outside Mokopane.

Now Swedish car and truck manufacturer Volvo has acknowledged it received the request after ActionAid wrote it and other producers letters pointing out that platinum used in its vehicles' catalytic converters were mined in Limpopo.

This is in an effort to pressure Anglo Plat to "guarantee the use of platinum extracted in a manner that respects human rights".

Some members of the Ga-Pila, Mothlohlo, Ga-Molekana, allege that their rights to clean drinking water, housing and a healthy environment have been ignored since Anglo Plat resettled them to get to platinum deposits on their ancestral lands.

ActionAid have asked the South African Human Rights Commission to look into what its report suggested were breaching human rights.

Last week SAHRC staff visited the villages to interview residents.

Advocate Tseliso Thipanyane, SAHRC chief executive said: "We are meeting with Anglo Platinum next week, and our staff may return to the area again. We have to get to the bottom of this."

Kajsa Claude, ActionAid spokeswoman in Sweden, said Volvo, Saab and Scania have acknowledged their letters, but have not been clear on what they are to do.

"We would like to ensure the companies are not violating their high standards of corporate social responsibility, even when it came to their (catalytic converter) suppliers," Claud said.

Mining industry analysts were yesterday not keen to comment on the effect of the ActionAid report or the move in Sweden on Anglo Platinum.

BOE analyst Mark Rule was cautious, saying the Limpopo issue has been in the back of the minds of shareholders and investors for more than two years now, but that Anglo Platinum's position was not so dire that investors would look elsewhere any time soon.

Neither Anglo Platinum nor Volvo in Sweden had responded to requests for comment by the time of going to press.