President Jacob Zuma joined Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) CEO Chris Griffiths in handing over the newly built Ethridge Junior Secondary School in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape on Saturday.
The new school, built at a cost of over R45-million, has 18 classrooms, a sports ground, a computer laboratory, a science laboratory and a library. It replaces the dilapidated old Ethridge School, and will cater for 1 000 pupils from Grade R to Grade 9.
Speaking at the official hand-over on Saturday, Zuma said the government would continue to work with the mining sector to promote social development in mining towns and areas that provided labour for the mines.
"Mining continues to be the cornerstone of our economy," Zuma said, adding that the mining industry had "manifold benefits" for the country, and encouraging mining companies to invest more in communities.
Griffiths said Amplats hope its contribution would help encourage learners to "be curious and continue to learn for a lifetime".
Amplats built Ethridge Junior Secondary as part of its compliance with the social and labour plan of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act.
Commissioned in November 2011, the project was fast-tracked in a bid to implement the Presidential Package for mining towns, which was among the commitments made by the government, business and labour during a high-level dialogue on the economy convened President Zuma in October last year.