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Corporate social responsibility in the case of Rio Tinto and rural community of KwaNdaya and Port Dunford.

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In 2004 Richards Bay Minerals, a subdivision of Rio Tinto, the multibillion global mining company that specialises in titanium, iron ore, and zircon signed an agreement to expand mining in northern KwaZulu-Natal on the Zulti South Mineral Lease Area situated in the rural communities of KwaNdaya and Port Dunford. Residents of these two impoverished communities expected a new dawn through the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes. This study was conducted to explore CSR as a potential tool for socio-economic development in the KwaNdaya and Port Dunford. It used Primitive Accumulation, Accumulation by Dispossession and Parity of Participation theories as frameworks to understand why Corporate Social Responsibility continues to fail in achieving social justice. Qualitative methods were used to extract information from sustainable development reports and compare the findings based on knowledge, attitudes and opinions of the 18 participants who reside in the two host communities. The findings reveal that community members in KwaNdaya and Port Dunford are aware of what is happening around them, but lack knowledge on how to fight the hierarchal system which has made decisions on their behalf while they remain in chronic poverty. Development by Dispossession continues to loot South African communities by wearing a mask of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to access mineral wealth in rural peripheries. There are endless promises about community development, and the findings show that these benefit Traditional Authority representatives. As a result, unfulfilled CSR promises remains the major cause of conflict and community unrest in mining host communities around South Africa.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.