Mine's pledge on villagers
NORTH West premier Thandi Modise has reached an agreement with Lonmin Platinum Mine to end the Bapo-Ba-Mogale traditional council dispute.
The row is about R2-billion committed towards addressing challenges of underdevelopment in Bapong and neighbouring villages outside Brits.
Spokesman for the premier's office Lesiba Kgwele said Modise and Lonmin chief executive Ian Farmer had committed to intensify efforts to bring stability in the areas where Lonmin mines and to ensure that the community's youth, women and people with disabilities are empowered.
Modise said while she appreciated that Lonmin contributed about R40-million a year to community development, and had committed resources to water reticulation and R16-million towards sanitation this year, there was a need to intensify programmes to employ and skill unemployed locals.
"Providing sewing machines to women and supporting baking projects is not enough. Mining companies need to move towards meaningful empowerment to break the cycle of poverty and underdevelopment in the communities where they mine," Modise said.
Farmer said that his company had been supporting mathematics and science interventions at seven high schools over the past five years.
"Lonmin has in addition awarded bursaries to 155 youths for tertiary studies. Forty-three recipients, 36 of whom are women, are studying towards mining-related fields and are targeted for recruitment to the mine on completion," Farmer said.
In January, a group of angry Bapong residents barricaded roads and blocked a taxi rank after claims that Lonmin Platinum Mine was not hiring people from their communities.
They also accused the North West department of local government of failing to make sure that the mine employed local people.