Representatives of the Magadimane Ntweng mining community in the Sekhukhune District of Limpopo who attended the two-day Limpopo Mining Investment Conference in Polokwane want the local Twickenham and Bakoni Platinum mine in Atok to reopen to create jobs.
The two mines closed about three years ago as they are undergoing maintenance. The government urged mining bosses attending the conference to consider hiring more South Africans in mines to create jobs.
Representatives from some mining communities had to demand to be given time to speak as they were not on the programme. They addressed the captains of industry and senior government officials about conflicts that are often there between communities and mining companies.
Eric Makuwa says communities in the Sekhukhune District want to benefit from the mines in terms of skills, jobs, and contracts.
“We want to know the future of this Twickenham mine, we cannot just fold our arms while we are suffering and other mines are operating, producing platinum but Twickenham is closed. We just want to know why because our communities are suffering, there are lots of criminals because there is no employment.”
Employment of South Africans
Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe reiterated his call for the mining companies to give first preference to South Africans as opposed to hiring more foreigners. He says the rate of unemployment in the country is high in the country and mining companies should come on board to reduce it.
“ In a country where there is high unemployment we can’t have a free for all, at least we must create a ratio of people who cannot be taken outside. [Former] Minister Tito Mboweni raised the issue of 80/20 for an example that 80% of people in every sector must be South Africans and I believe in that because we can’t close borders to everybody but there must be a focus on people of South Africa to get employed.”
The Minister has also called for investment in the sector:
Minerals discovered in Giyani
The conference has also heard that there is a lot of gold and other minerals discovered in the Giyani area under the Mopani District. Chief Executive Officer of the Council of Geo-Tech Mosa Mabuza says scientists and engineers conducted some research in the area and confirmed it.
“Gold is absolutely there and we are doing a further assessment to ascertain whether that gold can be economically extracted. You do know that there is poverty in Giyani, if indeed we made this discovery it will have a huge impact in that part of the world.”
Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone
Limpopo MEC for Economic Development Thabo Mokone told the conference that the provincial government is going ahead with the development of the multi-billion rand Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone in the Vhembe District. He says this is despite allegations the Chinese government intends to stop funding projects related to coal around the world.
The SEZ project includes the construction of a multi-billion rand coal power station. China offered to invest about R150 billion in the project.
“We know that at this present moment the South African energy is propelled by coal energy. We understand China has its own programmes, South Africa as a government, we also have our own programme, so we don’t think we will be affected by anything.”
Mining companies have pledged to invest more in the province to curb the problem of unemployment.