Sometimes communities have to be resettled, with government sanction, in order for important mineral deposits to be accessed. This can cause controversy and divisions in the communities concerned. International best practice sets out a number of key stages in such a process including the need for structured consultation, fair compensation and the importance of restoring and enhancing the livelihoods of people in their new locations. Recently Anglo American has had to undertake two such relocations in South Africa at the villages of Ga Pila and Motlhotlo. These were undertaken with the support of the provincial government and local tribal leadership and after consultation with local people lasting for several years leading to agreement with each householder. New villages have been built with better houses and infrastructure and more land for farming. The relocation programme was voluntary. The relocation programme at Motlhotlo is still under way but at Ga Pila 98% of those living in the old village took up the offer to move to the new village.
Why should a business act ethically?
Businesses have great potential to transform people's lives and to alleviate poverty through generating economic growth. They produce goods and services that customers want and they create jobs. Through paying taxes, they contribute to government revenue that can finance schools, hospitals and other public services. However, a business must keep in tune with the wishes of the societies it serves or it runs the risk of alienating its shareholders, stakeholders and customers. This would be bad for business, reducing growth and potentially affecting profit. Anglo American has to deal with many different levels of interest when setting up a new project. This includes, for example, the owners of the land and the people and services in the area.
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