Housing and living conditions


Operations with significant actual or potential negative impacts on local communities
Number and description of significant disputes relating to land use, customary rights of local communities and indigenous peoples
The extent to which grievance mechanisms were used to resolve disputes relating to land use, customary rights of local communities and indigenous peoples, and the outcomes
Sites where resettlements took place, the number of households resettled in each, and how their livelihoods were affected in the process

Key features

  • On average, 20,090 employees lived in Group-provided accommodation in 2013
  • 40,000 meals were served to employees every day
  • R608 million spent on housing to date

Targets and objectives for 2013/2014

The Group is in the process of implementing a home-ownership programme to help employees own their homes. Following extensive engagement with union representatives, building plans have been finalised and construction of show houses, two in the West Wits area and two in Free State province, will start in 2014.

Sibanye recognises the importance of decent accommodation in terms of employee wellbeing and morale. The Group is guided by the MPRDA and the Mining Charter in respect of housing and accommodation for employees and contractors.

The majority of Sibanye’s workforce come from labour sending areas – 29.9% of employees have their primary homes and families in other countries, other provinces or other regions.

Of the 36,274 people employed by Sibanye at the end of 2013, 13,469 employees (37.1%) lived in hostels provided by the Group; 6,495 employees (17.9%) lived in family accommodation provided by the Group; and 12,686 people (35%) opted to receive LOAs.

Sibanye serves three meals per employee per day. Meals served at Group-provided accommodation are prepared according to a meal plan drawn up by clinical dieticians with the energy, macro- and micro-nutrient content rigorously monitored. On average, 40,000 meals are served to employees each day.

Work has continued on Sibanye’s housing programme, which was first initiated by Gold Fields in 2006. To date R607.6 million has been spent on building new houses and hostel upgrades. A total of 644 houses have been built to date with 100 houses built during 2013.

The following aspects are key to the Group’s approach to accommodation:

Family accommodation

While the Mining Charter requires mining companies to upgrade hostels into family accommodation, Sibanye’s approach is to build new family units in viable, stable communities. In total, 6,495 employees now reside in family units.

Upgrading single-person hostels

Significant progress has been made in reducing the density rate at Sibanye’s hostels. In 2013, 184 rooms were upgraded into single-person rooms. Since 2006, the room density at the Group’s hostels has improved from eight people per room to almost 1.15 people per room in 2013.

As such, the Group is on target to meet the Mining Charter target of one person per room in 2016.

Promoting home ownership

Sibanye considers home ownership to be a key element in addressing the accommodation requirements of employees. It will do this by offering financial facilitation services to employees.

Living-out allowance

Employees who receive a LOA choose not to live in high-density, single-person or family accommodation. For the gold industry, the LOA forms part of biennial centralised wage negotiations under the auspices of the Chamber of Mines. As of 1 September 2013, the monthly LOA was increased from R1,640 to R1,820 and will increase further to R2,000 on 1 September 2014.

A major challenge associated with the LOA is that many employees who take up the LOA choose to live in informal settlements. Informal settlements are an undesired and unintended result of the introduction of LOAs, and are associated with a number of negative impacts.

Sibanye makes every effort to improve the living conditions in these areas by providing safe drinking water and assistance with waste management. See the case study below.

Case study: Search for a solution to informal settlements

The growth of informal settlements, particularly around the Driefontein Operation, continues unabated. In the latter half of 2013, a tripartite effort involving Sibanye, the Merafong City Local Municipality and the DMR was agreed to try to find a solution for the local community.

Sibanye’s priorities are being aligned with the DMR’s focus on the Presidential Package for distressed mining towns (including Merafong), which aims, among others, to improve living conditions for mineworkers and raise the socio-economic conditions of prioritised mining towns in line with municipalities’ IDPs.

The DMR is working with the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the Department of Human Settlements, municipalities and business (through the Mining Industry Growth Development and Employment Task Team) to ensure that mines’ SLPs are aligned with the IDPs.

An initiative aimed at providing services to communities around the mine led to the establishment of a community centre, including a clinic and a community hall, in Blybank, where the authorities would prefer people to settle and live. Sibanye has partnered with the Gauteng DoH and the Merafong municipality in this R4.5 million project. Construction of a healthcare facility began in October 2013 and is scheduled for completion by the end of March 2014. Some 25 people, including members of the local community, are employed on the project.

Although the municipality and government believe that the informal settlements should be integrated into existing communities, such as Blybank, they have yet to convince the local population that this is the best route to follow. One of the concerns is that Blybank is further away from the mine so the community’s transport costs are higher.

Another major factor is the LOA paid to mineworkers. The LOA is not used for its intended purpose: to enable mineworkers to buy their own homes. The current accommodation rate in informal settlements is R250 per month. Mine employees often use the rest of the R1,820 LOA to support extended families in the labour sending areas from where many of the residents of informal settlements originate.

“The LOA is commendable but it has the unintended consequence of stimulating the growth of informal settlements,” says Albie Nieuwoudt, executive director: Economic Development and Planning for the Merafong City Local Municipality. “The landlords and the mines unwittingly exacerbate the problem by providing services such as electricity, sanitation, waste removal and water, attracting people to informal settlements where crime is also rampant.”

Sibanye realises that many mineworkers would rather not invest in their own homes around the mine as the area is not viewed as a permanent residence but a temporary place of work. Some employees prefer to reside in hostels or family units on the mine, but this accommodation is also temporary. Unfortunately, this is yet another stumbling block on the road to finding a permanent solution.

Realising that informal settlements present a complicated issue that cannot be resolved overnight, Sibanye is formulating a formal strategy with its partners and continues to engage with the local municipality as well as government to ensure strategic alignment.

The details below are based on the Driefontein Operation and the socio-economic factors that affect the informal settlement nearby. Further information may be found in the Driefontein Mine Socio- Economic Survey: Report, Urban-Econ Development Economists and Zeal Health Innovations, published on 31 March 2009.

Land use
Total number of structures 1,235
Average number of rooms per structure 4.11
Number of rooms 4,111
Average household size 1.7
Population size 6,811
Number of businesses 76
  1. Source: Driefontein Mine Socio-Economic Survey: Report, Urban-Econ Development Economists and Zeal Health Innovations, 31 March 2009.
Demographic profile
Nationalities South Africa: 67% Lesotho: 18% Other: 15%
Languages isiXhosa: 40% Sesotho: 33.5% Other: 26.5%
Gender distribution Male: 59.8% Female: 40.2%
Age distribution 0-14 year olds: 15.4% 15-64 year olds: 84% 65 years and older: 0.6%
Residents renting 66.3%
Average monthly rent R174.13
Average monthly income R3,972.90

Access to household services

Electricity: 27.9%
  No waste disposal: 33.1%
  Flushing or chemical toilets: 22.6%
  Pit latrines: 65.9%
  Water less than 20m from dwelling: 73.3%
  Use cell phones or telephone inside dwelling: 87.1%
  Use mobile clinics as main medical facility: 85.7%

Education and employment

Some primary or no education: 39.7%
  Employment rate: 67.0%
  Unemployment rate: 33.0%
  Males unemployed: 15.5%
  Females unemployed: 42.1%
  Males employed in formal sector: 92.0%
  Females employed in formal sector: 8.0%
  Work for Sibanye: 85.2%
  Walk to work: 84.7%
  Walk to school: 45.5%
  Children attending school, 10 years old and younger: 63.1%


Residents who want to stay in the informal settlements: 78%
  Opportunities at Driefontein Operation as the main reason for moving to
  the area: 72.4%
  Residents who would prefer to move to Blybank: 27.5%
  1. Source: Driefontein Mine Socio-Economic Survey: Report, Urban-Econ Development Economists and Zeal Health Innovations, 31 March 2009.