Delegates disgruntled

2017-11-22 06:01
Sylvia Lucas speaking at the Mining Indaba in Kuruman on Thursday (16/11). Photo: Lecrecia Prins

Sylvia Lucas speaking at the Mining Indaba in Kuruman on Thursday (16/11). Photo: Lecrecia Prins

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The reason behind the commotion at the Northern Cape Mining Indaba was the dissatisfaction displayed by delegates who had wanted to engage with Johan Dempers of the Northern Cape Mine Managers Procurement Association in Kuruman.

Disgruntled delegates disrupted the process for a while when they realised that Dempers was about to leave the venue.

The Mining Indaba was held on Thursday (16/11) in Kuruman’s Thabo Moorosi Multipurpose Hall.

According to Olebogeng Leserwane, a ward councillor in the John Taolo Gaetsewe (JTG) Region, they saw this indaba as a long-awaited opportunity to engage with Dempers regarding grievances that go back years ago.

Their concerns involve the Social Labour Plan, procurement and employment.

During a press briefing, the Northern Cape premier, Sylvia Lucas, said economic transformation of the Northern Cape was high on the agenda.

She said the aim was to look at how people that have been retrenched can be equipped to alleviate the economic suffering of the retrenched.

Lucas further mentioned that the Northern Cape Mine Mana­gers’ Trust found that for the period of January to October last year, nine mines in the JTG District had spent around R12 billion on procurement.

“The unfortunate challenge, however, is that most of the procurement of the budget, with specific reference to capital goods is spent outside of the province.

“Added to this is the fact that there are no plans at stakeholder level to ensure that the people of the pro­vince benefit more out of procurement by mines.”

The disgruntled members accused government of painting a colourful picture of the event and ignoring real issues.

Accusations were also made of parading good intentions in front of local media while implementation never happens.

Another concern is that mining procurement does not benefit locals, especially in JTG, while companies from Johannesburg are benefitting more than local companies.

The members also blame the Department of Minerals for not making follow-ups with regard to social labour plans submitted by mining companies.

“Our complaints have been falling on deaf ears, as we have been complaining for years as to why there is still no smelter in the region while all our materials from over 18 operations leave the province raw.

“Someone is benefitting, while we are a mining town, but have only two streets with traffic lights in Kuruman.

“Our town is labelled with the highest crime rate due to poverty and unemployment, chasing away investors,” Leserwane lashed out.

He said that there is no capacity building at mines due to strategic positions being occupied by people from outside provinces.

“We have been calm enough to abide by the request as delegates to allow Dempers to finish his presentation about IDC funding, and then he would take questions from the floor.

“And right after the presentation we saw him being escorted off the stage.

“My question is, why is it that he is holding the future of the Northern Cape, inclu­ding its communities, in his hands when he is not ever residing here?

“We were furious, because we were truly looking forward to the opportunity of engaging with him.”

The premier promised to play a role in ensuring that the transformation of the mining sector is implemented and is broad-based.

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