A public-private partnership between the public and mining sector to improve the design and implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) : the case of Lejweleputswa District in the Free State Province
Moalusi, Lesabane Aubrey
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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly important in conceptualising the involvement of both the public sector and private companies in resolving societal problems. The practical problem with which this study is concerned is made up of social and environmental issues relating to mines and how CSR may, or may not, address them. The current state of CSR implementation by both public and private sectors seems to be wanting. The implementation of CSR in South Africa in the past has been the responsibility of the private sector, while the public sector as a partner has played a minor role. Mining companies operating in the Free State Province have in the past been involved in some form of CSR that was not integrated into municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) or other spheres of government planning. The public sector is battling to render services to the communities adjacent to mines and thus is unable to address all the social problems experienced by those communities. Furthermore, the legislative framework in South Africa has not articulated the role and contribution of the public sector clearly with regard to CSR. What is thus crucial for this study is to suggest how public–private partnerships between mining and government can be established to secure effective CSR programmes. The purpose of this thesis is therefore to explore how CSR can be better implemented through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). Different studies from the extant literature on CSR have looked at the importance of CSR and how it relates to both government and civil society. The argument for this study is that CSR needs to be better articulated with public sector plans and activities. According to Perrini (2006:305), CSR has acquired an unquestionably high degree of relevance for a large number of different actors and this has led to the development of a wide range of knowledge and best practices. Previous research on the design and implementation of CSR has argued that partnerships between different stakeholders have contributed towards good business. However, issues pertaining to CSR and partnership within a business environment have been a matter of serious concern because of the limited role played by the public sector. The gap in the literature – what we do not know – concerns how CSR has been integrated into development plans at various levels in the public sector, including the mining context. One possibility is that we do not yet know how to implement better integration between CSR and the public sector. While the South African government has introduced policies on how business should implement CSR, in most cases, these policies get no further than office desks and their implementation is neither monitored nor evaluated. The research question on which this study is based is therefore: “How can a public and private sector partnership help to develop effective CSR practices in the Lejweleputswa District in the Free State Province? The motivation for this research was to understand how a PPP could improve the design and implementation of CSR between the public sector and the mining houses. Data was therefore collected to respond to the research question that tries to investigate how private CSR activities are integrated, or not, with public sector plans and activities, and how this integration might be improved. An overview of the research design and qualitative research methods is presented. The study employed a questionnaire involving 5-point Likert scale questions, semi-structured individual interviews and focus group interviews, involving managers of national, provincial and local government and mining companies, as well local communities within the Lejweleputswa district. The study’s key finding is that CSR and other related programmes as listed in the Social Labour Plans of mining companies are not linked with the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) processes nor appear in related documentation. The study revealed that the initiatives of public and private sectors are not well integrated and coordinated. The results also highlighted that CSR initiatives get less than their due support from both public and private sectors, as reflected in the limited resources allocated. The contribution of this study to current research on CSR is to offer a better understanding of how CSR can be implemented through PPPs. The study sheds light on the practical planning processes that should be communicated thoroughly by all role-players and stakeholders (together referred to as actors), and not confined to a boardroom agenda. Secondly, the study contributes to addressing the gap in the literature about how to implement CSR through PPPs, involving thorough-going partnerships between mining and the public sector. Thirdly, the study places particular emphasis on the development of a specific model for the implementation of CSR through PPPs to address community issues. The Lejweleputswa District CSR Implementation Model emphasises that all planning processes play a crucial role in how CSR can be effectively, efficiently and economically implemented.
- Humanities