Signifying the beginning of construction of the R12-billion Kathu Solar Park greenfield project, top level representatives of the various companies involved, converged on Thursday 06 October 2016 to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony. The project promises to inject a new lease of life with lots of opportunities for the people from the region in general and for Kathu in particular. From left to right : Cedric Faye (Kathu Solar Park), Mike Goldblatt (Lereko Metier), Siyabonga Mbanjwa (Sener), Ramón Jiménez (Acciona), Mohamed Hoosen (Engie), Memory Mashingaidze (PIC), Vusani Malie (SIOC-cdt), Miklats Echevarria (Sener), André Wepener (Investec), David Leich (Engie) and Roberto Felipe Rodriguez (Acciona).

 

Kathu Solar Park celebrated its groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday 06 October 2016 at their site approximately 10 km from Kathu.

The event marked the beginning of the construction phase, being the second phase of the R12-billion project that commenced on 26 May 2016 with the first phase. The first phase consisted of the deforestation and levelling of the site that matches the size of 400 rugby fields (8km2).

Present at the prestigious event were top level representatives of the various companies who had formed collaborations to establish the project, ie Engie, Sener, Acciona and South African investors SIOC Community Development Trust, the Investec bank, Lereko Metier and the Public Investment Corporation.

Speaking at the event, Siyabonga Mbanjwa – Regional Managing Director of Sener, quoted Armerican environmentalist and politician Al Gore who once said “Once the renewable infrastructure is built, the fuel is free forever. Unlike carbon-based fuels, the wind and the sun and the earth itself provide fuel that is free, in amounts that are effectively limitless.”

Mr Mbanjwa said that besides providing leading cost efficient sustainable solar power generation to the region, the project also develops the local industrial network by creating jobs and local manufacturing, supply and subcontracting opportunities. He added that they intend exceeding their targets for spend on local content, black empowered business, small business and women-owned businesses. He confirmed that approximately 1200 jobs would be created during the construction phase alone and that over 80% employees on the project would be South African and over 20% would be from the local communities within the John Taolo Gaetsewe district.

Cedric Faye the CEO of Kathu Solar Park said that the project has four commitments, namely : (i) Local content – 42% during the construction phase. (2) Local employment, especially during the construction phase. (3)  Empowerment of the local trust and shareholders to ultimately improve local healthcare and education, and (4) 1% of the revenue spent locally for economic development. He stressed though that local suppliers and technicians must be able to implement world class safety and technology.

Ramón Jiménez – Managing Director of Acciona, said that Kathu Solar Park reflects Acciona’s commitment to reduce CO2 emissions to the environment.

Mohammed Hoosen – CEO of Engie SA and Chairman of Kathu Solar Park, said that this project harnesses the abundant sunshine of the Northern Cape and that he was grateful that the South African government had realised the value of power procurement programmes such as this one. He expressed his pleasure about the project now entering into phase 2 - the construction phase - projected for 28 months and ending October 2018, after which the third phase will commence, ie the 20-year long operation and maintenance phase. Mr Hoosen said that continued investment in similar projects will help the global economy in general and the South African economy in particular to turn around the slow growth.

Representatives from the Rand Merchant Bank, Nedbank Capital, ABSA Capital, Investec and the Development Bank of South Africa who funded the project, were also present.

The Senior IPP Executive of Eskom Gauteng Motlatsi Makhari was also present. Eskom has a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Engie-led consortium for the 100 MW power that will be generated from the plant that employs parabolic trough solar technology.

The Ambassador of Spain in South Africa Juan Snell and a representative of the French Embassy in South African, William Roos, also graced the occasion.

 

Matric farewell is an annual extravaganza worth taking note of and certainly ranks high on most matriculant’s agenda. No detail or expense is spared to transform ordinary learners into princes and princesses - albeit for one night only . . . In the photograph appear (fltr) Bianca Brits, Na-Leth Van Niekerk, Michelle Du Plessis, Wiandri Vorster and Karla Malan - all from Kathu High School.  Photograph : Marthani Martins

 

Die volgende gimnaste van Kathu Gimnastiek klub het 23 Julie 2016 deelgeneem aan Noord-Kaap Kwalifiserende kompetisie te Kimberley.  Al die gimnaste het 'n gemiddelde van hoër as 80% behaal na deelname aan 4 apparate.  Hulle het almal gekwalifiseer om hierdie naweek, 26 en 27 Augustus 2016 Noord-Kaap te verteenwoordig by die Sentrale Zones Kompetisie te Pretoria.  Hulle gaan dan meeding teen die volgende Provinsies: Noord-Gauteng, Noord- en Suid Vrystaat, KwaZulu Natal en Noordwes.

 

Heelvoor: Santiné van der Merwe en Elizabeth Opperman. Voor: Ancios Lourens, Ilé Nortjé, Jorina Mostert, Nia van Wyk, Alverene Lourence, Jacinda Esterhuyzen, Alana Joubert, Zanné Barnard, Isabel Roode en Kaylie Smit. Middel: Nicola Joubert, Shani Steenkamp, Jacques Kuhn, Ethan Nortjé, Jeandre Kuhn, Jani Coetzer en Annika Viljoen. Agter: Alice van Niekerk, Jenny-Lee le Roux, Lize-Marie van den Berg en Zanté van der Merwe.

 

The staff at the Kathu Magistrate’s Court celebrated their diverse heritage and colourful cultures on Friday 23 September 2016. Photograph : Judi Bolweg

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says Heritage Day gives South Africans an opportunity to reflect on their history, their cultural heritage, their rituals and their languages. “It obliges us to pay attention to the values upon which we seek to build a united and prosperous nation,” he said on Saturday 24 September 2016.

Speaking at the national Heritage Day celebrations in Galeshewe, Kimberley, Deputy President Ramaphosa said that Heritage Day reminded South Africans that they are all Africans, not just individuals and groups who happened to occupy the same geographical space. “It must also remind us that from a history of racial division and social exclusion, we need to work tirelessly to forge a common future founded on equality, compassion and social justice. Heritage Day must also serve as a reminder that education is not only Africa's proud heritage, but remains the most potent asset in the hands of our people to restore their dignity. We must cherish the opportunity to learn and we must jealously guard the instruments of learning,” he said.

Deputy President Ramaphosa warned against burning of books, schools and lecture halls, saying it was an assault on the foundations of society. “We must condemn attitudes, practices and institutions that perpetuate social exclusion. We will achieve social cohesion when our words, teachings and conduct cease to insult and dehumanise those who do not have the same skin colour or hair texture as us,” he said.

The Deputy President also called on South Africans to pay tribute to South Africa's Living Human Treasures. “Living Human Treasures are custodians of indigenous knowledge systems. They are living legends who possess rare insight into our culture, oral history and past lived experiences.

“They are an irreplaceable asset because of their stellar contribution to cultural heritage, social cohesion and nation building. They represent specialist knowledge and information which has been sustained over generations through memory and oral tradition,” he said.

According to the Deputy President, the intangible heritage provides communities with a sense of identity and belonging.

“South Africa's interest in recognising and safeguarding this living heritage is part of our nation's aspiration to guarantee the full potential of its diverse, yet shared future,” he said.

He called on communities to assist government in identifying many more deserving individuals who are custodians of indigenous knowledge.

He said the youth must be nurtured in the ancient wisdom that has been passed from generation to generation.

“This knowledge must be at the centre of school and university curricula,” he said.

Also speaking at the celebrations, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa told guests that as South Africans their heritage must be inclusive.

“Ours is to ensure that we live by the values of our constitution. All we have to do is to correct the wrongs of the past,” he said.

Minister Mthethwa also called on South Africans to share ideas on creating harmony and to be true to diversity. SAnews.gov.za 

 

 

 

 

The Northern Cape MEC for Health, Mr Lebogang Motlhaping on Thursday 11 August 2016 officiated the handing over of the Batho Pele Mobile Health Units project proceeding in Kagung.

The MEC was accompanied by the District Municipal Mayor, Councillor Sophia Mosikatsi, Local mayors, Councillors, the House of Traditional leaders and Sydney Ntili, Acting Public Affairs Manager Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore Sishen mine.

The Batho Pele Mobile Health Units project was a joint venture between Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore Sishen mine and the Department of Health (DoH) that started in 2011. It was initiated as a project to benefit the rural communities of John Taolo Gaetsewe district through the provision of comprehensive health care service package in mobile units, where they would visit four identified mobile points, namely, Kagung, Gasese, Madibeng and Maphiniki on a monthly basis.

The objective of the project was to assist the DoH with the rendering of health services to rural communities in the jurisdiction of John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality area. The Memorandum of Agreement was entered into in March 2011 with a long term objective of handing over of the full scope to the department, in order to enable the department to gradually absorb the operational costs and eventually own and sustain the project.

The primary objective of the project is :

To render primary and secondary health care to the identified rural communities.

To reduce maternal and infant mortality rates.

To decrease the TB incidence rate.

To decrease the HIV and AIDS new infection rate.

To decrease the deaths and disabilities from chronic diseases.

To increase the general health.

There were four service delivery points identified with about 16 636 community members from 19 villages benefitting.

Since September, a total of 107 763 patients have been seen and attended to in these mobile units. About 58% of the headcount seen were those who came for normal clinic services while 15% needed a Medical Practitioner and 14% dental services.

Among others, the following areas of improvement were noted : Immunisation coverage, increased detection of childhood illnesses and increased TB detection. Anglo American communication

 

Traffic came to a standstill for almost three hours when a fuel tanker had its rear trailer overturned spilling the residual fuel.

The incident took place on the N14 route between Kuruman and Kathu approximately in the vicinity of the Oasis Casino around 11:00 on September 16, 2016. The trailer, belonging to Mack’s Petroleum, was only removed by around two in the afternoon.

According to the eyewitnesses at the scene, the rear trailer had limited control because it was almost empty after having fuelled some of the filling stations in Kuruman. The trailer capsized whilst still connected to the main trailer and was dragged several metres before the driver could stop. The driver took control of the situation though and there was no casualty.

The collapsed tanker had to be disconnected from the main one to allow the driver to proceed with the main tanker to distribute fuel to Kathu filling stations.

Several hundred of litres of fuel were spilled and the Ga-Segonyana municipal fire brigade had to rush to the scene to douse the spill with water to avoid any chances of ignition.

The towing company Grand Prix had to come and remove the tanker from the road and later towed it to safety. However, with the frequency of hazardous materials passing through the town of Kuruman, does the town have the ideal bylaws and the capacity to outwit the real situation of controlling hazardous waste? Municipal traffic officers had to attend to the scene either by using their own vehicles or on foot as the municipality’s fleet is non-existent.

The situation was so visible and needs authorities to look at it as a matter of urgency.

 

 

Tanker aground on the N14 road while the rescue team was busy.

 

Mr Henry Esau from the Northern Cape Department of Education cutting the ribbon to officially inaugurate the new building.

 

The new wing at Kathu High School, consisting of six large classrooms.

 

On Friday 5 August 2016 the new building at Kathu High School, consisting of six class rooms, was officially inaugurated.

Marcel Benecke, RCL secretary, shared the history of the school. The school started as Sishen High School in January 1976 in six empty classes of Kathu Primary School. There were 11 teachers and 198 learners from grade 8 to grade 10.

The current school building was officially opened by the Director of Education, Mr Meyer, in 1978. The first head girl of the school, Regina Purchase, also attended the inauguration ceremony. Former principals of the school were Mr G Zaayman (1976-1991), Mr C Valentin (1987-1992) – also present at the ceremony, Mr A Bester (1993-2000), Mr T Scheepers (2001-2003), Mr D Beukes (2004-2010) – present at the ceremony and the current principal, Mr M Botha.

The name of the school was changed to Kathu High School in 1987. The medium of instruction was Afrikaans. Due to the population of the workers at the Kumba mine, Kathu High School was one of the first schools in the country to introduce multi-racial education in 1991. English was also added as a language of instruction. The school remains as a predominantly Afrikaans school – 30% of the current learners are English-speaking.

The number of learners remained constant at around 500 for some time, until the town experienced a boom period round about 2007. The school currently has 941 learners in 33 classes from grade 8 to grade 12.

In 2007 Kumba Iron Ore invested in a full technical department, with three computer labs, an electrical technology lab and state of the art equipment for mechanical and civil technology.

Since 2007 the mine added 16 extra temporary classrooms. The inauguration of the new wing, replaces these temporary classrooms.

Willie Human, Project Manager of the Resettlement of Dingleton Town, explained the background of the project. On 15 December 2007 Kumba approved investigations for the possibility of the resettlement of Dingleton. On 10 December 2013 all boards approved the resettlement project.

The reason for building the extra classrooms at Kathu High School is mainly because of the fact that Dingleton does not have a high school. The negotiations stipulated that Dingleton learners must enjoy preference for these new classrooms.

The cost of the building was about R11 million.

 

Speakers on the day, fltr: Pastor Martin Vivier, Mr Sydney Ntili from Anglo American, Reverend Heinrich Viljoen member of the SGB, Mr Henry Esau from the Northern Cape Department of Education and Me Boipidi Diska from the Northern Cape Department of Education.

The Northern Cape MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, is disturbed by recent activities involving the burning of a library in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district in Kuruman.

According to the communications unit of the department, it has come to the MEC’s attention that a group of residents who were allegedly protesting against eviction from a municipal site went on to a rampage and decided to burn and destroy government properties, including a community library at Wrenchville.

The library is one of the oldest facilities which government has invested millions of rand’s worth in Wrenchville. What makes the burning down of the library more ironic is that it took place during the national book week - a week in which government embarks on a vigorous campaign to promote and encourage our community members to read and empower themselves.

The library which was burnt served as repository of books for our community members. The matriculants of Kuruman who has started with their preliminary examinations as a build up to the National Certificate Examinations are now also deprived of a research institution, as well as access to the internet.

Government views such acts as undermining their efforts to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment. Such acts undermine the hard earned democracy and its founding principles such as the Freedom Charter.

The burning and destruction of the library also comes after the MEC Mbinqo-Gigaba made numerous requests and pleas with the communities at the opening of the 8 new libraries in July not vandalise government buildings. During the opening of the libraries she said “Let us ensure that we retain the structure in its pristine condition so that we can enjoy the collective benefits of the library. The library belongs to all of us – the government and the community. It is therefore our joint and collective responsibility to ensure it remains protected and far divorced from vandalism and theft. We must report all illegal activities to the municipality and the police.”

The Department wishes to condemn perpetrators in the strongest possible terms and urges law enforcement agencies to take harsh actions against anyone found guilty of these acts of sabotage. It is also a request for the community members of Wrenchville who have information on the acts of sabotage and arson to report it to the police station.  Northern Cape Sport, Arts and Culture Department

 

 

There was a slow yet steady turnout of voters at most polling stations across the district during the national municipal elections on Wednesday 03 August 2016. At the time of going to press, the results indicated that the ANC had won, followed closely by the DA. No incidents were reported. Photograph taken at the Sesheng voting station near Kathu.

The funeral of the slain DA candidate Johannes Baaitjie who had been murdered brutally was held at the AGS-church in Daniëlskuil on Saturday 27 August 2016 and was widely attended. Photographs : DA

A residential dwelling amongst warehouses in the industrial area of Kathu burnt down on Friday 22 July 2016. Fire fighters from Rural Metro Emergency Management Services were on the scene to extinguish the blaze. The case was however not reported to the SAPS Kathu, although an exploded gas bottle was found on the scene (insert). Nobody was injured and the cause of the fire is still unknown.

 

An exploded gas bottle was found on the scene.

 

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