While our Company grapples with some of the longer-term challenges that have become entrenched in our industry, there have been many areas where we strived to inject some hope and faith into the lives of those for whom the Marikana tragedy was more personal than a social shock wave.
These are a few of the practical ways in which we have sought to enable tangible and real improvements in the day-to-day lives of some of our people, after the tragedy.
Through the identification of the key needs of our employees after the strike, it emerged that personal indebtedness and a lack of financial literacy were two of the major reasons that so many of our employees were struggling financially.
In response to these high levels of employee indebtedness, we introduced a financial wellbeing programme to educate and advise employees on financial matters such as budgeting, the impact of micro-lenders, the difference between secured and unsecured lending, savings and affordability.
It has now been running successfully since February 2013 and has been incorporated into the induction training schedule. In addition to customised training material, the programme also included the completion of a baseline study, the identification of payday loans, the training of 18 Lonmin trainers who are now qualified to deliver the training material to other employees and the establishment of an on-site consultation service with four consultants ready to help. We are also working with credit providers in the community to ensure that they are adhering to the legal credit regulations.
The programme has received overwhelmingly positive feedback.
To date, we have provided financial wellbeing training, as part of the Induction Programme, to 11,362 employees in the Mining Division, delivered 52 training sessions to 625 employees in the Process Division and have been able to provide 1,065 employees, across all divisions, with face-to-face consultation sessions. Most satisfying of all, Lonmin employees have been able to save an estimated R3 million since the inception of the project through savings and refunds on garnishee orders and write offs on loans and interest.
The second phase of the financial literacy programme is currently being planned, which will focus on tax consulting.
Following the tragic events around Marikana, Lonmin has committed to funding the education of all the children of employees who lost their lives, through the Sixteen Eight Memorial Trust. The fund's endowment currently stands at R6 million and is open to donations from the public. Details on how to donate are available at www.lonminmarikanainfo.com
For more information, see Case study: Sixteen Eight Memorial Trust
During the week of the 12 to 16 August 2013, we arranged a cleansing ceremony for the families of those who lost their lives in the violence, and facilitated 40 prayer sessions at the operations to remember their loved ones. We marked a minute of silence across the Company as a gesture of respect for the victims and on the 16 August a multi-faith, inter-denominational prayer service was also held.