Land donation for homes to sustain the future

Poloko Tau
2019-08-12 08:46
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As South Africa celebrates a generation of freedom, Anglo American acknowledges its deep roots in the country and looks ahead to its contribution in the next 25 years and beyond. Over the next five weeks experience 25 Reasons to Believe with City Press as we explore the economy, job creation, enterprise development, health, land reform, sustainability, education, technology and – most important of all – the communities

After more than 80 years in the area, Anglo American Platinum may have sold its mining operation, but its commitment to the communities goes on. A recent land donation ispart of its continuing investment, writes Poloko Tau

Anglo American Platinum might have sold its mining operations in the Rustenburg area to Sibanye-Stillwater and Siyanda Resources, but the platinum group metals (PGMs) giant remains committed to the area through its processing operations and continues to operate in a “responsible manner that will leave a strong and sustainable legacy … consistent with the objectives of the Mining Charter”.

This is evident in the company’s recent donation of 270 hectares of land to the communities in the Rustenburg Local Municipality, most of which will be used for housing projects. The donation was the second one in fewer than five years – in 2014, 204 hectares were donated to the municipality.

Construction of housing is ongoing on a portion of the 270 hectares of land donated by Anglo American Platinum to the Rustenburg Local Municipality

Rustenburg, which was founded in 1851 as an administrative seat for the surrounding crop and stock farming areas, evolved over the years into a mining town with a flourishing economy as it rapidly earned a name internationally for its huge deposits of platinum. The boom came with an influx of migrants searching for employment opportunities. Many years on, it remains one of the country’s fastest growing cities.

It wasn’t just the population that grew during the initial platinum rush – the area’s greyish mine dumps grew ever bigger and soared ever higher, and new settlements mushroomed around mining operations’ sites.

The city has since become home to many people from other South African provinces, as well as migrants from neighbouring African countries. This came with an increased responsibility for government to provide decent housing for residents. But that’s been a struggle for the Rustenburg Local Municipality, which is what prompted Anglo American Platinum to come on board to assist.

The municipality can now worry less about land acquisition in its broader human settlements plan, which includes the establishment of townships and the formalisation of informal settlements – all thanks to Anglo American Platinum.

The company’s chief executive officer, Chris Griffith, said at the handover ceremony in March this year that the donation was “in recognition of the imperative for us as a company to play a role in advancing sustainable transformation and land reform, with the development of our communities at the heart of it all”.

For the municipality, the donation could not have come at a better time and it has embarked on an intensive plan to address its housing backlog.

Rustenburg mayor Mpho Khunou says the municipality and Anglo American Platinum’s relationship is longstanding.

“We’ve had quite a meaningful relationship with Anglo American Platinum, particularly around issues of human settlement land acquisition. One of the biggest projects we’re doing together with national and provincial government is the Bokamoso housing development project, which dates as far back as 2012, when the company gave an indication that it was divesting from its mining operations in Rustenburg. We then had to enter into lengthy discussions about the challenges of informal settlement upgrading – challenges of the housing backlog in Rustenburg – which, at that point, was at 100 000 units,” he says.

Rustenburg mayor Mpho Khunou says the town has a longstanding relationship with Anglo American Platinum

“It started with a land donation made by Anglo American Platinum, and they also made a contribution towards the provision of internal bulk services.”

Khunou appreciates the fact that Anglo American Platinum continued to play its social responsibility role even though it has sold its mining operations around Rustenburg. The company continues to operate processing facilities in the area.

“Anglo American Platinum was quite clear that it was reducing its footprint in Rustenburg, but it has committed to doing its part to deal with this legacy of informal settlements, which, to a large extent, is attributable to the mining sector.”

More than 270 hectares, valued at nearly R7 million, will be handed over to the Rustenburg municipality to complete housing and resettlement projects.

Mining companies’ policy to pay living-out allowances to mineworkers who choose not to stay in mine hostels but opt for accommodation nearby has contributed the proliferation of informal settlements, which tends to fuel the proliferation of informal settlements.

“The Bokamoso housing project is a flagship project intended to produce about 4 000 housing units over the course of the next two years.

“Construction of the houses is under way,” Khunou says.

Minister of mineral resources and energy Gwede Mantashe with the CEO of Anglo American Platinum Chris Griffith

He adds that the project will “benefit quite a number of areas around Rustenburg, including Nkaneng, which was one of the first informal settlements near the Bleskop mining operations; Zakhele; and surrounding areas such as the villages of Thekwane, Mfidikoe and Photsaneng”.

In terms of the recently donated land, Khunou says: “Most of this land will be used to formalise some of the informal settlements, particularly in the rural areas of Sunrise Park, which has the greatest concentration of informal settlements in Rustenburg because it is on the edges of a lot of mining shafts.

“We’re busy with township formalisation and we will ultimately build houses. Those who don’t qualify for government housing will be allocated stands,” Khunou says.

At the handover ceremony, Griffith explained why his company chose to plough back into the Rustenburg communities: “Having been in South Africa for more than 102 years, Anglo American recognises that government will not achieve its developmental goals alone.”

HOW THE LAND WILL BE USED

More than 270 hectares, valued at nearly R7 million, will be handed over to the Rustenburg municipality to complete housing and resettlement projects. As part of these projects, the following will be done:

  • The resettlement of the residents of Chachalaza 14 and Plot 14 informal settlements;
  • The formalisation of the Popo Molefe and Mbeki Sun informal settlements; and
  • More than 27 hectares of land, valued at just over R9 million, will be handed over to the Rustenburg Alchemy Development Trust, which will construct a care centre for approximately 155 people.
With the land donation, the muncipality can worry less about the land to build homes on and get on with building those houses

“This centre will provide care for the disabled, the elderly, orphans and child-headed families in the community,” Griffith said at the handover event.

“We are also proud of our partnership with the Rustenburg Local Municipality and the provincial government of North West, through which we donated 204 hectares of land in 2014 at Bokamoso.

“We have subsequently invested more than R140 million in bulk infrastructure, including a waste water treatment plant and tarred access roads.

“As a result of this donation and the provision of bulk infrastructure, the department of human settlements is able to build 4 000 housing units on serviced land.”

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