Stakeholders in the mining sector say it is high time that mining companies invest in their host communities and for government to strengthen its oversight to ensure that this is realised.
This emerged at the launch of the Business Forum Platform, where Impala Platinum and small, micro and medium enterprises (SMME) in the Rustenburg area committed to work together.
Fourteen business forums from 29 villages of Bafokeng and 17 surrounding communities in Rustenburg have formed the Mine Host Community Business Forum.
A SMME owner says this is a step in the right direction.
“We’re confident and we’re fully behind this process as are our members and the constituents,” says the owner.
“All the programmes and opportunities that we seek from the mine we have the capacity to deliver. We don’t want business in which we will cripple the operation of Impala,” assures another local business owner.
CEO of Impala Platinum mine Mark Munroe says although the company has awarded some contracts to local companies, he believes the company can still do more to empower more SMMEs.
“We’ve awarded some big contracts to local community companies. However, I think there’s a big role to play in facilitating and improving it. So once again, this [platform] enables us to communicate to see what the needs of the community are and how we can grow these small businesses. Remember, this is one element that you’ve seen, but actually it’s a multi-pronged approach to improving business in the local community; and we have other projects as well that integrate into this in developing local SMMEs.”
Munroe revealed that Impala Platinum has assisted local businesses with training programmes and facilities to improve the businesses in the local communities.