BASF challenged to share responsibility for the 2012 Marikana Massacre in So. Africa

Shot protesters in Marikana 2012, credit: marxist.com

On 16 August 2012 34 workers were killed and 78 injured after police opened fire on striking miners at the Lonmin-owned platinum Marikana mine in South Africa. In April 2015, The Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany filed a shareholders motion calling on BASF, as the major customer of Lonmin, to share responsibility for the massacre and ensure that Lonmin financially compensates the victims. We invited BASF to respond to the shareholder motion. Its response is below.

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Company response
5 May 2015

Statement from BASF to the countermotion of the Dachverbands der Kritischen Aktionärinnen und Aktionäre e.V.

Author: BASF

...Lonmin is a supplier with which we have worked together since the acquisition of Engelhard in 2006. In the past years, there have been repeated conflicts in South African mines, some of them long and difficult. The mining industry in South Africa is a highly regulated industry with government established working standards. The industry has in addition established its own stricter standards.In the specific case, an inquiry has been commissioned by the South African President. The respective report has apparently been completed at the end of March. However, the results of the “Marikana Commission of Inquiry” have not yet been published...Please understand that we cannot comment on an issue that has not yet been fully clarified in South Africa. I can assure you that we have every interest that our suppliers adhere to internationally recognized standards for responsible conduct. We express this in our discussions with them. We are also in discussions with Lonmin and will continue this dialog...

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Article
1 May 2015

Press release: BASF challenged to share responsibility for the Marikana Massacre

Author: The Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany

...After Seoka’s impressive and challenging address about the Marikana Massacre, the living condition of the workers and the responsibility of BASF as the main customer of Lonmin, a lot of applause was given by the Shareholders...Several Shareholders spontaneously referred in their speeches afterwards on the facts Seoka presented. “It is a disgrace to know that the majority of the people, who dig out the world’s most precious metal which BASF is processing to catalysts, work and live under inhuman conditions in the 21st century. It’s a disgrace that BASF, which bought for 450 million Euros platinum group metals from Lonmin in 2014, did nothing to share responsibility up to date.”...In his answer, the CEO of BASF, Kurt Bock, said, that “the BASF board is also disturbed at what happened in South Africa, but it’s hard for them to judge from the distance. Therefore they cannot pay anything for the demanded fund of 3,4 million Euro towards the families of the deceased...

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Item
30 April 2015

Counter motion on the occasion of the shareholder meeting of BASF SE to be held on April 30, 2015

Author: The Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany

...BASF SE board members didn’t fulfill their responsibility within the supply chain in the case of Lonmin. In the reports of the worldwide 3rd biggest Platinum enterprise Lonmin, BASF is declared, besides Mitsubishi, to be the main customer of the Lonmin enterprise (operating in South Africa, based in England). Lonmin characterizes BASF as „principal customer for PGMs“. BASF Catalysts LLC and Lonmin are furthermore members of the International Platinum Group Metals Association. Thus, a close and long term commercial relationship is evident. Now, the process of taking of evidence of the massacre of Marikana (16th August 2012) in the framework of the state appointed (Oct. 2012) “Marikana Commission of Inquiry” provide clear and extensive evidence, that Lonmin is – indirectly as well as directly – co-responsible for the massacre. On a concrete level Lonmin is accused to be co-responsible 1. for the killing of 34 mine workers on the 16 August 2012 and for the 70, partly sustained, injured...

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