Social And Labour Plan for the Garatau Mine

Developing and empowering our communities is just as important as the development of the mine.

Skills Development

Nkwe Platinum Limited recognises the importance of its mine communities as well as surrounding communities within the labour sending areas of Fetakgomo Tubatse and Makhuduthamaga local municipalities, in the achievement of its business objectives. Furthermore, we fully understand and appreciate that skills development is the foundation for developing competent and productive community members. The latter could potentially be future employees who are able to participate in achieving the mine’s business objectives.

We invested R14.5 million and implemented the skills development programme under its first Social and Labour Plan (SLP) that focused on equipping the community members in the surrounding areas with skills to enhance their opportunities of employability and participation in the South African economy at large. The main focus under the skills development programme was Adult Education and Training (AET), learnerships as well as bursaries to pursue different careers that have potential to feed into the mine requirements in the near future.

Adult Education and Training

Our AET programme was designed to improve literacy of community members as majority of the community members did not complete high school education.

To date, a total of 315 participants, from which 95 pre-AET, 115 AET Level 3 and 56 AET Level 4 learners had passed, expanding their horizons and enhancing their employability.

Learnership Programmes

In terms of the learnership programmes, the Company had two options for the communities. Some participants had to take a mining related route and others a business administration career path.

Nkwe Platinum Limited facilitated the training for those participants who wanted to follow the mining career path in the National Certificate Mining Operations (NCMO) for Underground Hard Rock, an NQF Level 2 and MQA accredited programme. The learnership is a structured learning programme which combines theory and practical on-the-job training over 12 months. The programme comprised 6 months theory with 6 months practical and participants were deployed to existing mines so that they could familiarise themselves with mining working environments.

The theory component of the programme was conducted at 2 different places, that is, at Ratau Primary School at Ga-Mpuru Village (a part of Garatouw farm) and Scotia Mine, Barberton, Mpumalanga. The practical component took place in Scotia Talc Mine in Barberton. A total of 44 participants from the communities of Ga -Mpuru and Ga – Komane villages successfully completed the learnership programme.

Upon completion of the programme, over 70% got hired by surroundings mines, and some were able to upgrade to higher levels of the same learnership programs.

The participants who wanted to follow the business career path were given an option to take a Business Administration course.

Nkwe Platinum Limited facilitated the enrolment of prospective learners at  Ramokgopa and Senwabarwana campuses of Capricorn College for TVET so that they could pursue their studies and training. The Business Administration course consisted of the following courses: Business Management N4 Level diploma and the Finance and Accounting level 2 certificates. The duration of the training at Ramokgopa and Senwabarwana campuses was 18 and 12 months respectively.

Nkwe Platinum Limited will keep all the participants’ details in a database, for consideration when the Garatau mine commences operation. This will ensure that the community is the first to benefit when the mine becomes operational. The mine views capacitation of the community as being very critical if the mine is to be effective and beneficial to the community. As a Company, we will therefore continue to train and capacitate the communities surrounding us and those within the Sekhukhune district.

Bursary Programme

The Bursary Plan helps to develop individuals, thus supplying the mine operation with its required skills. Apart from business related qualifications, Nkwe Platinum is also aware of the need to develop qualified individuals from other sectors of the economy, whose communities will be affected by the mine.

A total of 69 students have been awarded bursaries to date. The bursaries covered tuition fees, book allowance and accommodation costs in multi-discipline programmes pursued by students at various South African Universities including; the University of Limpopo, University of Johannesburg, Tshwane University of Technology, Rhodes University and the University of the Witwatersrand.

Nkwe Platinum’s bursary programme has enabled community student beneficiaries to study all over the country and has produced geologists, a radiologist, business administrators, an electrical engineer, an economist, human resource practitioners, and an early childcare specialist. The mining company is proud of this remarkable feat and milestone.

Nkwe Platinum has a criterion of providing bursaries for the most impoverished, giving them an opportunity to improve their lives. Our bursary management team has an open-door policy where students enrolled in the programme are encouraged to approach us with issues and challenges faced, so that we can enable students to have undivided attention on their studies. Students who have successfully gone through the program increase their chances of getting quality employment and rising above their life circumstances.

Jason Spalane – Bachelor of Science in Sc Diagnostic Radiography

“It has been amazing!”

Nkwe Platinum approached me with the opportunity to fund my university bursary in 2017. At the time, I had just gotten into university but was struggling to pay for the very high fees that came with it. Nkwe Platinum put me on their bursary program and from there, they paid for my tuition fees and my books. They even included an allowance for meals! They really helped in taking the financial burden off my shoulders, allowing me to focus on what was important to me: my passion for an education.

Nkwe Platinum would check in on me every year and make sure that payments were made on time. This continued for 4 years and in 2021, I graduated with a BSc degree in Diagnostic Radiography. I will eventually work at Nkwe Platinum to assist with taking X-rays for their mining staff.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that Nkwe Platinum has provided me and I look forward to a bright future in my career with the company.

Deon Magabane – Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Economics

“Don’t be afraid to give away short-term conveniences for long-term stability”

Having graduated from high school in Burgersfort with 4 distinctions, I went to study at a university in Johannesburg. Although the university paid for a portion of my studies under their bursary program, the annual fees were very expensive. My family were struggling to pay for the rest of the study fees. I approached Nkwe Platinum during the 2nd year of my studies to apply for their bursary programme. Nkwe Platinum paid for my 2nd and 3rd year university fees in their entirety. They also provided a book allowance and a living expense allowance which helped with the pressures that came with studying. The allowances enabled me get access to the latest studying materials and allowed me to move closer to the campus. Previously, it took me two hours to get to classes! I feel one can focus more on their studies and engage more with campus culture when one is more financially secure. Not only did Nkwe Platinum provide financial support, but also provided emotional support. Their team would check in on me every semester to tend to my needs which was a very different but welcome experience compared to other bursary programmes.

I graduated cum laude with 26 distinctions in 2020, obtaining a BCom degree in Economics. 

Because of the support that Nkwe Platinum provided, I am now able to pursue my post-graduate studies. I am so thankful to Nkwe Platinum for giving me this opportunity to improve my life and follow my dreams!

Local Economic Development

Local Economic Development (LED) is an approach towards economic development which allows and encourages local communities, government and the private sector to work together to achieve sustainable economic growth and development, thereby promoting economic benefits and improving the quality of life for all residents in any local municipal area.

As part of its first generation Social and Labour Plan (SLP), Nkwe Platinum integrated with the Municipality’s Development Plan to embark on the upgrade of the road from Boschoff hospital to Makhwai village. The village is located in the Maandagshoek area. Due to the poor roads, the community is challenged with access to health care services and schools. The dirty roads that the households of Garatouw use on a daily basis have become increasingly unsafe over the rainy season and during periodic flooding.

The project entailed the upgrade of approximately 4km of the main community gravel road along the HC Boschoff Health Centre to the Makhwai village to a 6m wide dual lane sealed road and approximately 600m of local access gravel road to a 3m wide single lane sealed road leading to a Community Hall. The main road provides a link between the R37 north of Burgersfort through the community areas of Setshitshi and Ga Makhwai and linking to a main access road at Diphale. A total of R22 million was invested by Nkwe Platinum in the upgrading of this Garatau Community Access Road.

In October 2020, the second generation SLP was approved, which will see further local economic development projects in the form of clean water supply to the local mine communities over the next few years. The water supply project has already commenced with the supply of water tanks and re-equipping of water boreholes.

As a priority, Nkwe Platinum will employ people from the local communities for all projects where possible and will continue to provide bursaries and learnerships for students from the local community, provide community donations to alleviate poverty, and provide support to the local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.