Human capital

The health, knowledge, skills, intellectual outputs, motivation and capacity for relationships of the individual are important as organisations depend on individuals to function – a healthy, motivated and skilled workforce is necessary. Damage to human capital by abuse of human or labour rights, or by compromising health and safety, has direct as well as reputational costs.

Sibanye recognises its employees as its most important asset. Efforts to develop and empower employees form part of a drive to continuously improve the quality of life of those who sustain the Group’s business.

The safety, health and wellbeing of employees takes precedence over production at all times.

As people are the mainstay of Sibanye, it is essential that the Group invests in its employees to ensure the sustainability of the business. The Sibanye Academy provides human capital development services to the Group. The skills and knowledge acquired by employees, through training or experience, increase their value not only to Sibanye but in the marketplace.

Sibanye’s operations are located adjacent to formal and informal communities. Training and development of community members who are not employees are also part of human-capital development (as they may become employees) but also form part of the Group’s role and obligations in respect of socioeconomic development.

Sibanye upholds the labour rights of employees and its policies ensure fair and equitable treatment consistent with South Africa’s employment equity requirements.


At the end of 2013, Sibanye employed 36,274 people (33,773 full-time, permanent employees and 2,501 contractors). This represents a decrease in permanent employees of 14% and a decrease in contractors of 37%. Refocusing the business and restructuring operations to align with longer-term sustainable production levels resulted in a reduction of the total number of employees by 5,810 people. This reduction was largely achieved through voluntary separations, voluntary early retirement, redeployment and natural attrition, with only 39 employees retrenched from the Group. Removing layers of management was an important focus of the restructuring, bringing expertise and experience as close to the rock face as possible.

As far as possible, Sibanye seeks to employ local people at its operations. At the end of 2013, 25% of its employees could be defined as local (drawn from within the province of operation). A large percentage of employees with core skills, experience and many years of loyal service are however still drawn from other provinces in South Africa and neighbouring countries (laboursending areas).


Gold mining by its nature involves risk and the process must be effectively managed in the quest for zero harm. Sibanye’s vision is that every employee has the right to a healthy and safe working environment. The Group’s safety strategy seeks compliance as a minimum while engineering out safety risks and collaborating with stakeholders, including employee representatives and the DMR, to improve performance.

Awareness and behaviour-based safety programmes are in place to reduce incidents that cause injuries. Similarly, programmes are in place to equip employees with the information they need to reduce hazards and eliminate risks so that they may enjoy a safe and healthy workplace.

Employees are actively encouraged to exercise their right to refuse to work if they believe that conditions are unsafe.

Engineering out safety risks at Sibanye’s operations remains a key priority for the Group, and a number of ongoing and extensive safety risk-management initiatives have contributed significantly towards a reduction in the severity of safety incidents. In particular, these initiatives relate to reducing falls of ground, seismic and tramming incidents, which accounted for approximately 37% of injuries in 2013.Sibanye has measures in place to manage seismic risk.

Tramming entails moving people, material and ore using railbound equipment, including locomotives, hoppers and other rail cars. The rolling out of a fail-safe command system has continued and is expected to be completed on target by mid-2014.

It is pleasing to report a significant reduction – of some 41% – in the fatal injury frequency rate (FIFR) to 0.10 per million hours worked (2012: 0.17). Other safety indicators also improved during the year.

A total of 55 work stoppages were imposed by the DMR (Section 54 notices) in 2013 (2012: 49).


Sibanye aims to create a working environment that is conducive to the long-term, holistic wellbeing of employees and contractors.

The Group’s health programme addresses general health management, individual safety behaviour, lifestyle management, education and development.

Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), chronic obstructive airways disease (COAD), cardio-respiratory tuberculosis (CRTB) and silicosis are the most significant occupational diseases, while HIV/AIDS, hypertension and diabetes mellitus are the most challenging overall health concerns.

All employees undergo initial and annual medical surveillance, the scope and practice of which are aligned to legal requirements and regional health and safety risks. These assessments are aimed at prevention, early detection and treatment of occupational diseases.

As with safety risks, Sibanye reduces occupational health risks by proactive engineering aimed at reducing noise and dust levels. A number of key environmental management measures are in place to reduce noise and dust.

NIHL is a preventable disorder, even in noisy environments, and is mostly caused by repeated exposure to sound at or above 85 decibels (dBA) over a prolonged period of time. Sibanye seeks to reduce employee exposure to noise by minimising the noise at source, and making employees aware of the importance of wearing hearing protection devices.

COAD is characterised by chronically poor airflow, resulting in shortness of breath, coughing and sputum production. A number of different causes can contribute to this inflammatory response in the lungs. It results in a narrowing of the small airways and breakdown of lung tissue known as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. Various measures have been implemented to reduce employee exposure to air polution at work.

Silicosis is caused by dust particles, which are small enough to reach the small airways of the lung. Free silica (SiO2), also known as crystalline quartz, is found across a broad range of industries, including mining.

TB is recognised as an important health hazard in the industry with silica exposure and silicosis as causes. CRTB is a common and, in certain cases, lethal infectious disease, which typically attacks the lungs, pleura and heart. It is a significant health risk in southern Africa, due to the symbiotic relationship between TB, HIV and silica-dust exposure.

Sibanye has designed a comprehensive strategy to raise awareness and reduce the burden of disease, including annual TB screening for all employees, voluntary HIV testing, freely available Highly Active Anti- Retroviral Treatment (HAART) and TB drugs, as well as post-employment TB management.


‘Sibanye has 45% HDSAs in management.’

Employment equity legislation in South Africa is aimed at redressing the imbalances of the past by promoting equal opportunity, eliminating discrimination and implementing affirmative-action measures.

The attraction and retention of HDSAs and women in management continues to be a significant challenge for the mining sector and Incentive schemes are in place to address this issue.

Sibanye’s employment-equity programme complies with applicable legislative requirements.


Sibanye recognises that decent accommodation is important for employee wellbeing and morale and 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%) live in family accommodation provided by the Group; and 12,686 people (35%) opted to receive living out allowances (LOAs).

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, more than 40,000 meals are served to employees each day.

Sibanye’s housing programme, which was first initiated by Gold Fields in 2006, is continuing. To date R607.6 million has been spent on building new houses and on hostel upgrades. A total of 644 new homes have been provided to employees, with 100 handed over in 2013.


Sibanye upholds the right of employees, contractors and suppliers to exercise freedom of association and collective bargaining and to participate in idustrial action. Wages and other conditions of service for the majority of employees are negotiated biennially at a centralised level under the auspices of the Chamber of Mines. Agreement in respect of wages and conditions of service was reached with the NUM, Solidarity and UASA in September 2013. Three production days were lost as a result of protected strike action called by the NUM.

While AMCU was not party to the final agreement, the agreement was applied to all Sibanye employees as the NUM, Solidarity and UASA collectively represented more than 72% of employees employed by the gold companies represented by the Chamber of Mines at the time.

The agreement reached has seen the cost of labour increase by between 7.5% and 8%. While this is below the double-digit increases demanded by organised labour, it exceeds the country’s inflation target of up to 6%. Labour makes up a significant portion (55%) of on-mine costs. In contrast with the events of 2012, the 2013 period was not marred by violence.


Enhancing human capital through education and training is central to a sustainable business. Sibanye is committed to developing knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours of employees to achieve the desired levels of performance for organisational, personal and broader social objectives.

Sibanye provides human capital development opportunities in a number of ways. these include ABET, portable skills training, learnership programmes, bursaries and study assistance.

The Sibanye Academy provides human capital services to the group. The academy is fully accredited by the Mining Qualifications Authority and has programme approval from a number of other Sector Education and Training Authorities. Satellite campuses are located at the operations and are managed by the Academy.

Training and development interventions are based on business needs and are focused on developing employees and communities. During 2013, Sibanye reviewed its SLP targets to ensure that these are in line with business needs. Where business needs are lower than the targets outlined in the Group’s SLPs, communities are afforded training and development opportunities. Opportunities for recruitment are advertised within the organisation, within communities (local and labour-sending areas) and at learning institutions.

In 2013, the Group spent R316 million on human capital development (2012: R315 million).

A total of 7.86 million training hours were provided.

For more information on all aspects of Sibanye’s human capital, refer to the Sibanye Sustainability Report 2013.