Thank you for this opportunity to:
-address you today on the role of TEBA Limited in the South African mining industry; and
-to give you the company’s response to the serious allegation made to this Portfolio Committee that TEBA is involved in the recruitment of illegal immigrants.
I should like to begin by refuting the allegation in the strongest terms. My basis for doing so is:
-the close working relationships TEBA has with the relevant government departments of sending countries and with the South African Government - in particular border posts and Government Departments in towns adjacent to mining operations.
-the very rigorous policies and procedures the company applies in pursuit and execution of its core, labour engagement business.
I should like to stress some key factors in the relationship between TEBA, foreign governments and the South African government:
-TEBA operates in terms of inter-governmental agreements and, foreign and South African legislation.
-TEBA provides details of every new recruit to foreign governments and the South African Government; this way, foreign governments and the South African Government have full knowledge of every worker engaged by TEBA.
My intention now is to take you, in some detail, through the process we follow, in order to satisfy you that TEBA does as much as possible to ensure that its recruitment of workers in Southern Africa conforms to inter-governmental regulations.
TEBA’s recruitment role begins with the receipt of written authority from a client mine to TEBA to recruit workers on its behalf. This written authority may be:
-a "leave" or "re-engagement" certificate in respect of workers who have returned home on leave and who are to be re-engaged;
-a "special" letter requesting the employment of a specific individual; or
-a letter requesting the employment of a group of workers defined by job category, skill and experience.
TEBA’s next step is to check the validity of the recruit’s passport. If the passport is invalid the recruit is assisted in obtaining, through the appropriate authority in the foreign country, a new, full or temporary passport.
Once the passport and any other required documentation is in order, TEBA begins the engagement process by capturing on its database, the recruit’s personal information.
An agreement of service document is completed and signed by:
-an appropriate official of the foreign country’s government
The documents and passport are then endorsed by TEBA - who is licenced in such foreign country, and who uses a stamp approved by the South African Department of Home Affairs.
When the recruit arrives at a border post to enter South Africa, he produces both the endorsed agreement of service document and endorsed passport. The endorsed agreement of service document is recognised, in effect, by South African border officials as a work permit and, on presentation of the endorsed passport, they issue and insert into the passport a temporary residence permit.
The critical point to take away from this detailed explanation, and I thank you for your patience in bearing with me, is that four individuals must attest to the legality of each engagement - the recruit himself, TEBA, an official of the foreign country’s government, and an official of the South African Government
In addition, and on his arrival at his employing mine the relevant personal information is again verified.
I must stress that TEBA is very open to scrutiny on this particular issue or, indeed, any other that is patently in the public interest. All we would request is that any perceived irregularities or problems are put to us with a reasonable level of specificity. We welcome visitors to our operations and take some considerable pride in demonstrating our administrative and infra-structural capacities throughout Southern Africa.
By way of further information I would advise of the following statistics relating to the Company's operations :-
- in 2000 some 210 000 mineworkers were engaged by the Company.
- an amount of R1,15 billion was paid out in rural areas, through TEBA offices, in respect of pensions, long service awards, compensation payments, death benefits and savings transactions.
- some 165 000 faxes and e-mails were sent between TEBA offices on behalf of mineworkers and their families.
- 2000 Deaths were responsibly and compassionately reported and families assisted in obtaining all benefits due to them.
- 25000 Wives of mineworkers received monthly remittances from their husbands through TEBA rural offices.
- 1400 Disabled workers and 11000 pensioners are visited and serviced by TEBA on an annual basis.
Since becoming TEBA’s Chief Executive Officer, I have been asked frequently to reflect on the company’s history. I always have something to say about this, because I believe that, in order to know where one is going, it is important to understand from where one has come.
TEBA has had various identities since its formation by the Chamber of Mines of South Africa almost 100 years ago. For many decades its sole purpose was to keep the South African mining industry supplied with vast numbers of unskilled, healthy young men from rural Southern and Central Africa.
TEBA, like so many South African institutions, has moved on. Less than one month ago - at a high profile event in Johannesburg, with the Honourable Minister of Minerals and Energy as guest of honour - TEBA was re-launched as the South African mining industry’s chosen agent for rural development in Southern Africa. This development was a direct response by the industry to deliberations at the tri-partite mining summit in February last year, where the need to address rural poverty in Southern Africa - exacerbated by retrenchments in the industry - took centre stage.
TEBA’s unique and extensive rural infrastructure, consisting of more than 70 field offices and a staff of over 550, and its well-established relationships in the Southern African region made it an obvious choice as the mining industry’s agent for developmental initiatives in the affected rural areas. We believe we are an attractive partnership prospect to other parties involved in similar work - governments, unions and non-governmental organisations for example - and are actively pursuing such partnerships in order to thoroughly exploit synergies and effect "critical mass" for major rural development projects.
We have already established a rural development track record. TEBA is currently involved, to a lesser or greater extent, with various partners in 12 projects in three countries - South Africa, Mozambique and Lesotho - ranging from the provision of clean water and sanitation, to school building and renovation, to HIV/AIDS education, counselling and care.
In the Kentani district of in the Eastern Cape, for example we are working with the Local Authorities to assist some 500 households to upgrade their water supply. Also in the Eastern Cape, in partnership with various mining and other companies, we have plans to build some 100 classrooms and to institute home-based care programmes for the terminally ill in some 300 villages. In addition in the Mafeteng district of Lesotho we are working with the Lesotho Government to assist 10 villages in upgrading their water supply. Some 1200 households will benefit.
Through our Global Positioning (GPS) and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) projects - about which more is said in the handouts we will leave with you - we have at our disposal and for the use of any other parties who would care to work with us in the rural development sphere, a detailed knowledge of where mineworker families are concentrated in relation to existing infrastructure and what projects they themselves have identified and prioritised to improve their standard of living. These are powerful tools to prevent the common mistake of putting things where people don’t want them and giving people things they don’t need most.
I must stress that TEBA’s new rural development role will not detract in any way from its core recruitment and employment support services business. In fact, we are poised to expand this into other labour-intensive sectors such as agriculture and construction where there is evidence of undocumented and illegal employment of workers.
To prospective employers, through our database, we offer access to an extensive pool - tens of thousands strong - of rurally based, semi-skilled and skilled workers whose work experience we have well documented. Through our well-established systems and procedures, the recruitment of such workers, even from neighbouring countries, where issues such as work and temporary residence permits and compulsory deferred pay arise, is simple and efficient. To rurally based unemployed people with skills they are struggling to use, we offer a very real prospect of re-employment
In the time available I trust I have gone some way towards informing you that we at TEBA have a very clear vision of our future and that we are intent on making that vision a reality. We would readily engage robustly in debate about how we take our company forward. As robustly, of course, we would defend ourselves against allegations we believe to be groundless. I thank you again, Mr Chairman and the members of this Portfolio Committee for giving us the opportunity to do this in a contextualised way.
My colleagues and I would be very happy to respond to any questions you may have.