A clash of cultures (and lawyers): Anglo Platinum and mine-affected communities in Limpopo Province, South Africa
The human rights related controversies surrounding Anglo Platinum's Mogalakwena mine in South Africa's Limpopo Province hit the world stage in 2008, attracting public scrutiny and instigating much debate in the realm of international business and human rights discussions. We provide an in-depth analysis of the controversies at Mogalakwena, and Anglo Platinum's responses. This case study contributes to ongoing debates on mining company-community relations in the context of the emerging business and human rights agenda, specifically with respect to the notion of human rights ‘due diligence’. We argue that the Mogalakwena case study illustrates the risks of companies adhering to and emphasizing the technical and logistical facets of due diligence, without sufficient attention to the relational, communicative and emergent aspects, which are closely tied to corporate culture. We highlight the complexities of company-community relationships, with particular reference to the issues of legitimate community representation and participatory decision-making, and discuss the role that organizational culture plays in exacerbating or mitigating corporate-community conflict. The case study demonstrates how legal challenges often exacerbate rather than resolve the conflicts that arise due to a clash between corporate and community cultures. We suggest the need for corporate leaders to become more conscious of this cultural dimension of effective social management, particularly when interacting with communities whose cultures are markedly different from those of business corporations.
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