The Northern Cape government has taken a bold step by identifying the mining sector as the potential driver to the economy in the province.
While the mines are churning out good dividends, they are shedding crocodile tears to develop the communities around their operations. As a result, the Premier Sylvia Lucas and her executives chose the John Taolo Gaetsewe region as an ideal platform to host the first Mining Indaba on November 16, 2017 at Thabo Moorosi multi-purpose centre in Mothibistad.
The relevant drivers in the sector could exchange ideas and views to create an intervention strategy to address unemploy-ment, poverty and inequality and come up with sustainable mechanisms to those already affected as a means to shrug off economic ills, whilst bringing about radical transformation to the provincial economy.
In his welcome remarks the host mayor, councillor Neo George Masegela, said that the region is blessed with mineral resour-ces but that the lifestyle analysis of its community is a mockery.
Accompanied by MECs Jack, Sokatsha, Bartlett, Williams, Shushu and in the pre-sence of mayors, dignitaries from the Department of Mineral Resources, officials from different mining houses and the com-munity at large, the premier said that the Northern Cape is currently the prime fo-reign direct investment destination centre in the mining and energy sectors. The need for the renewed commitment between the mines and the broader sector of the econo-
my remains an unfulfilled appeal.
“As a province we are open and grateful for all the investments. Procurement by the large mining houses exceeds a total of R18- billion per year. The concern, however, is that besides the actual investment, the Northern Cape requires more local benefit through local beneficiation, corporate social investment and the required regula-tory mandated community socio-economic development funding”
The premier was bold enough to state that government is not looking for mining houses, but real partners that ought to embrace community development in their areas of operations.
She also said that mines must transfer skills to the retrenched as a means of capa-citating them. The Northern Cape com-munity believes mining houses are giving them a “widow's mite or a pittance” while citadels are built in all corners of the world by mining executives who derived their for-tunes from minerals extracted from their historical land.
On the sidelines of the indaba, the forums involved in the disruptions of mining opera-tions were spitting fire and renewed their appetite to stop the operations. They claim that poverty is distinct in villages less than 20km from these mining houses.
The other burning issue is the depressed procurement opportunities given to locals while outsiders are given the lion's share.
The Mining Indaba was co-sponsored by Alexor, Kumba Iron Ore and United Manga-nese Kalahari (UMK).
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