One of the world’s leading platinum producers, Lonmin, says it will embark on a journey to rebuild trust and confidence in the community of Marikana in the North West.

The commitment to rebuild trust was made during the official opening of a new primary school in the area. The school will assist in alleviating overcrowding in the local schools.

Marikana was thrust into the spotlight during the unprotected mineworkers strike back in 2012. More than 30 people died when police opened fire on striking workers. It was after the strike, when many exposed the appalling conditions the community in the mining area.

Lonmin together with government are working on projects to uplift and develop the area including building low-cost houses.

The newly-built school is worth 17-million rand. Lonmin’s head of communications, Wendy Tlou, says although this is part of their social plan, they also want their company to be a responsible partner of Marikana community.

“We are on a journey of building hope. We are on a journey of trust. We are on a journey of building confidence in Lonmin in the Marikina area. I think that projects such as this school are testament of that desire of Lonmin to be a visible, responsible and meaningful player in its communities,“ she said.

The Basic Education department says it is impressed with Lonmin’s contribution. Deputy minister, Enver Surty says the new school is a safe learning environment.

“It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. We are saying and we said it very clearly, that we want to eliminate the phenomenon of pit toilets. The environ-loo is the best alternative where there is no running water or pipe water available to communities and we’ve made huge strides there,” Surty said.

Parents and learners in the area have expressed their joy about the latest developments.

“I feel proudly South African; as you see South Africa is building schools. We know we are building future for our children,” said one joyful parent.

With 20 classrooms, a 900-seater hall, a sick bay, and a conference room ,learners say they are off a good start this academic year.

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