Bayanda Laqwela, Athabile Xuba, and Zanele Hartmann

To address the unjust and exclusionary nature of mining/production in South Africa, the government introduced a Social Labour plan through the Mineral and Petroleum Resource Development Act 28 of 2002 (MPRDA). 

The MPRDA requires both onshore and offshore mining companies to apply for mining rights to produce social and labour plans that state how the company seeks to benefit the local communities in which the mining operation is situated. The Social and Labour Plan (SLP) should also directly address Local and Economic Development (LED) by ensuring that its LED is aligned with the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) of the municipality in which it operates. Furthermore, it should articulate the developmental impact it will have, including infrastructure development, community development, and poverty eradication, among other aspects.

However, there have been some displeasures in certain parts of the host communities where members feel they have not benefited from the offshore production industries operating in their communities. These displeasures are not the results of mining/production industries failing to submit their SLPs, as there is evidence that they indeed produced the SLPs. To illustrate this, in its 2014 report, one of the petroleum and gas companies operating on the South Coast stated that they had invested R348 million towards various communities across domains such as health, education, community development, environment, and sustainable development. Additionally, in their SLP, TotalEnergies Exploration & Production South Africa (TEEPSA) mentioned that their objectives include contributing to Adult Education and Training, Learnerships, Skills programmes, Bursaries, Internships, to name a few.

While the mining/production industries produce their SLPs, which speak to local development, some of these companies are said to fail to comply with their SLP obligations. The failure to comply with the SLPs means that the economic development of the hosting communities is not happening. In cases where the companies have delivered on their SLPs, the community members feel that those developmental programs need to be more representative of their local needs because companies come with already developed SLPs in which the community members were not involved or consulted when they were being developed. In cases where the companies consulted the Integrated Development Plan(IDP) of the local municipalities to inform the SLPs, companies perceived the IDP as a wish list rather than a plan. Integrated Development Plans have their own challenges, like inadequate public participation.


We are of the view that to ensure that LED happens as intended by SLPs, all stakeholders, namely the community members, the local municipality representatives, and the companies, would need to be involved when developing SLPs. The involvement of all stakeholders will give community members who are the beneficiaries, a sense of ownership regarding the developmental project happening in their communities. In addition, follow-up through monitoring and evaluation should be implemented to assess whether the companies comply with their obligations.



Department of Minerals Social And Labour Plan Guidelines  For The Mining And Production Industries

News24.2014. PetroSA’s BEE loophole. Available:


Social and Labour Plan – WSP. Available:

The Social and Labour Plan Series, Phase 1, System Design Trends analysis report by Centre for Applied Legal Studies at 14. 

The Social and Labour Plan Series Phase 2:


Aklilu, A. S. H. A., and Kagiso Makalela. "Challenges in the implementation of integrated development plan and service delivery in Lepelle-Nkumphi municipality, Limpopo province." International Journal of Economics and Finance Studies 12.1 (2020): 1-15

Posted on 25 February 2024 15:36:02

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