Mining communities set for big changes

Johannesburg - North West mining communities will benefit from the mines in their areas, Premier Supra Mahumapelo said on Friday.

He said the provincial government would set up a mining charter committee.

It would be tasked with expanding the benefits of mining and strengthening co-operation between the government, communities and the industry.

It would also look into legal issues around mining in the province, procurement and the relationship between communities and mining houses.

The committee was part of a radical approach for socio-economic transformation.

"As part of our contribution to development in the mining areas, we have set aside R462m for housing projects in the Bojanala District in the Rustenburg Municipality, specifically in Marikana," Mahumapelo said in a statement.

He said that through a partnership with Lonmin, 2000 housing units would be built as part of the Marikana extension two integrated development project over three years.

On August 16 2012, 34 people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with the police. More than 70 were wounded, and 250 were arrested. Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them.

President Jacob Zuma has set up a commission of inquiry, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, to look into the circumstances that led to the shootings. The commission has been sitting for over a year.

Workers at the mine went on strike on August 10, demanding a monthly salary of R12,500. Within four days, 10 people had been killed, two of them policemen and two of them security guards.

Platinum miners once again downed tools on January 23 this year demanding a R12,500 monthly salary.

The five-month strike by Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union members at
Anglo Platinum (Amplats) [JSE:AMS], Impala Platinum (Implats) [JSE:IMP] and Lonmin [JSE:LON] has crippled the economy of the country.

Mahumapelo's proposed mining charter committee is likely to be welcomed by communities in mining areas, who have long complained of a lack of infrastructure development and royalties.

In 2008, then North West premier Edna Molewa set up a commission to look into the royalties of a community in Brits. The commission concluded its report in late 2013.

It was found that millions of funds belonging to the Rankotea community near Brits, North West, were misused.

The commission of inquiry, into management of royalties and income derived from mining vanadium at Evraz Vametco mine in Rankotea, found evidence that community funds had not been audited since 2002.

Funds were allegedly used for projects which were not approved by the community. The commission also found that no information was disclosed over the years regarding projects funded from the development fund by its executive committee.

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