Published On: 1 July, 2023Categories: News

“Look after this precious gift that has been handed to you.” These were the wise words of Her Majesty, Queen Mother Manyaku Thulare. She was speaking during Nkwe Platinum Limited’s ceremony to hand over its Social and Labour Plan (SLP) Water Supply Projects to the Sekhukhune District Municipality.

Her Majesty was among several guests invited to be part of the occasion. Addressing attendees, the Queen Mother expressed gratitude towards Nkwe Platinum for the SLP water supply projects. She also highlighted that Nkwe Platinum was the first mine in the area to identify that clean running water was a challenge in the Fetakgomo-Tubatse Local Municipality and act swiftly to address the challenge.

Affectionally referring to the community as children of Thulare, the Queen Mother passionately emphasised that the SLP Water Supply Projects brought dignity and hope to the community. “You can all stand proudly amongst others because you now have water,” she said. She also implored community members to look after and guard the projects with all that they had. “You will now be left with these projects. It is your responsibility to make sure that you look after them well.”

South Africa’s socio-political factors and challenges such as high unemployment have often led to community-related protests and unrest. The Queen Mother sternly condoned violent protests by community members when they are unhappy about anything. “That is the old way of doing things and it does not show civilisation. We have done away with violent protests if ever we have any disagreements. What we should do is sit around the table, discuss and solve any problems that we have. Just talk and you will be heard.”

Nkwe Platinum Limited’s SLP water supply projects

The event marks the completion of Nkwe Platinum Limited’s SLP water supply projects within its mining communities of Garatouw, Maandagshoek, De Kom and Hoepakrantz, which fall under the Makhuduthamaga and the Fetakgomo-Tubatse Local Municipalities. “We are extremely delighted to have contributed to providing our mine communities with access to clean drinking water, which is vital for survival,” commented Zhiyu Fan, MD and CEO of Nkwe Platinum Limited.

He added that to date, Nkwe Platinum Limited has spent over R50 million on its Social and Labour Plans. “The investment included the upgrading of the Garatau Community Access Road, as well as adult training and education, bursaries, learnerships, internships, traditional leadership training and excavator operations, which have benefited the surrounding mine communities of the Zijin Garatau Platinum Mine,” added Fan.

“On behalf of Sekhukhune District Municipality, I am formally receiving the four water projects. I am committing the municipality here today that we will do everything humanly possible to ensure that the projects benefit our people. The projects in line with the common phrase of “WATER IS LIFE” have initiated a healthy relationship between Nkwe Platinum Limited, The Municipalities and Our Communities. This relationship must be jealously guarded so that it can produce another precious offspring,” said the executive mayor of the Sekhukhune District Municipality, Councillor Maleke Mokganyetji.

Access to clean and safe drinking water
The projects were initiated by Nkwe Platinum Limited to provide access to clean and safe drinking water to communities and livestock surrounding the Zijin Garatau Platinum Mine. A total of 31 boreholes were drilled and/or equipped for the water supply projects across all four of the Mine’s communities (Garatouw, Maandagshoek, De Kom and Hoepakrantz) and supported by the installation of 52 Jojo water tanks. This clean water supply is distributed to the communities via 92 water taps which are stationed at various strategic points to cater for both the community and livestock.

Nkwe Platinum Limited’s SLP water supply projects support 1742 households within the communities with 320 000 litres of water resources per day and have created a total of 72 job opportunities for members of these communities. “I want to make a special appeal to our communities to protect the water projects. Our communities are the direct beneficiaries of the projects. The security electric fences that are powered by the solar systems are not enough without the communities. It will be a sad day for all of us if we can receive the news that this valuable infrastructure is vandalised or stolen. We must take ownership of our communities,” added Mokganyetji.

The water supply projects include the Mine’s first solar-powered water supply system for the Ga Mpuru Village in the Garatau community. The pumps of the solar-powered water supply system are powered by a complete solar system. In addition to providing round-the-clock water for the members of the community, the solar system also powers a security electric fence for the water supply infrastructure, making it a self-sustaining unit. This signature water supply system of Nkwe Platinum Limited pumps over 55 000 litres (continuous flow) of clean water from a pipeline which spans over 2 kilometres within the community.
“The company strongly adheres to the co-development belief of ‘Mining for a Better Society’ and believe that the development of enterprises is closely related to the sustainable development of our surrounding communities. Through education, industrial support, infrastructure construction and joint projects, it is committed to developing and working together in a mutually beneficial and harmonious way for the benefit of all,’ said Fan.
To date, Nkwe Platinum Limited has spent R53 million on its Social and Labour Plan. The investment included the upgrading of the Garatau Community Access Road, as well as adult training and education, bursaries, learnerships, internships, traditional leadership training and excavator operations, which have benefited the surrounding mine communities of the Zijin Garatau Platinum Mine.
Community empowerments initiatives, undertaken by Nkwe Platinum Limited, have also included contracts awarded to communities and local businesses, such as R7.6 million for the site preparation work for the box cut in 2021, and approximately R36 million for crushers material supply; tipper truck and diesel supply as well as various other projects in 2022. “We look forward to the continued support from all our stakeholders including our local communities, Government, and Suppliers, with your support we will all achieve success,” concluded Fan.

Publication: Mining News

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