South Africa

Right of Response: Ivanplats ¬¬¬statement on Mogalakwena Municipality

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 11 December 2014

Earlier this month, Daily Maverick reported on a series of problems occurring in the Mogalakwena Municipality around the time of its by-elections. According to columnist Niki Moore’s sources, residents were facing potential water shortages because of a new mine development in the area. In the interests of free debate, here follows IVANPLATS’ response to the article in full.

Ivanplats (‘the Company’) takes strong exception to the attempt to draw it into an apparent power struggle in the Mogalakwena Municipality, which has featured in the news in recent weeks. The report (It was a column – Ed) ‘Mogalakwena by-elections: Symptoms of a terminally ill democracy’ published by the Daily Maverick on 8 December 2014 wrongly implicates the Company’s Platreef mine development project in the municipality’s troubles and is grossly irresponsible, given that very serious allegations are being made against the project without any substance whatsoever.

The allegations made against the Platreef Project are not only completely untrue but are also defamatory. There is absolutely no basis for the allegations made by one individual who was quoted by the Daily Maverick without the reporter having checked with the Company whether, in fact, we had any knowledge of the alleged ‘grey water’ deal with the municipality.

The Company would like to place on record that whilst there had been some discussions with the municipality – as has been the case with other mining houses in the area – about a take-off agreement, no such agreement was ever concluded, and discussions with the municipality in this regard have since ceased.

Jeremy Michaels, Company Spokesman

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South Africa is in a very real battle. A political fight where terms such as truth and democracy can seem more of a suggestion as opposed to a necessity.

On one side of the battle are those openly willing to undermine the sovereignty of a democratic society, completely disregarding the weight and power of the oaths declared when they took office. If their mission was to decrease society’s trust in government - mission accomplished.

And on the other side are those who believe in the ethos of a country whose constitution was once declared the most progressive in the world. The hope that truth, justice and accountability in politics, business and society is not simply fairy tale dust sprinkled in great electoral speeches; but rather a cause that needs to be intentionally acted upon every day.

However, it would be an offensive oversight not to acknowledge that right there on the front lines, alongside whistleblowers and civil society, stand the journalists. Armed with only their determination to inform society and defend the truth, caught in the crossfire of shots fired from both sides.

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