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Questions raised about the Mining Minister's shares in a platinum company! Here's how to deal with a conflict of interest in your workplace

by , 30 June 2014
While Amcu was on strike, one of the people who attempted to break the deadlock was Mineral Resources Minister, Ngoako Ramatlhodi.

At the time, he was lauded for his efforts to find a solution, days after he had been sworn in as minister.

It's now emerged in a Mail & Guardian report that, when Ramatlhodi got involved in efforts to end the platinum sector strike this month, he did so with platinum shares worth millions in his portfolio.

Critics say this is a clear conflict of interest.

Read on to find out more about this issue and discover what you can do to deal with a conflict of interest in your workplace.

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Mining Minister's shares in a platinum company raises questions about conflict of interest!

According to the Mail & Guardian, Ramatlhodi, who was appointed to the position a month ago, holds a stake in Atlatsa Resources, a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) partner of platinum giant Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).

Following the report, Mahlodi Muofhe, the minister's spokesperson told The Citizen that Ramatlhodi held the mining interests before he was appointed to the portfolio.

'He has already resigned from all his mining interests. It's a matter of when the legal process is completed and endorsed,' he said.

Despite this defence, the Mail & Guardian says the minister's shares in the platinum belt imply a serious conflict of interest, regardless of whether he acted on it.

This incident has cast the spotlight once again on conflict of interest in the workplace. So make sure you know how to deal with it because your workplace isn't immune to it.

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The dangers of a conflict of interest in the workplace and how to deal with it

Experts behind the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management say conflict of interest with your employees can arise when you don't make it clear what your company regards as unethical business practice in your business code of conduct.

They say this can result in sticky labour issues like disputes if you don't manage it well.

In addition, a conflict of interest can also cast doubt on your integrity and have a damaging effect on your business and your profession as a whole.

To deal with issues around conflict of interest, make sure you have policy or business code of conduct.

In the code or policy, explain what you regard as a conflict of interest. You can also state that employees have to disclose if they have shares, relationships with customers or business interests that are similar to your business. It's also important that your employees are aware of your policy regarding conflict of interest.

It's that simple, deal with conflict of interest with a sound policy.

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