The North West provincial government has set aside over R460-million for housing projects in the platinum mining area of Marikana, as South Africa looks to push through a raft of measures aimed at ensuring long-term stability in the country's mining industry.
Delivering his State of the Province address in Mafikeng on Friday, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo said his administration would pay special attention to the troubled mining area over the next three years.
R47-million spent acquiring land
"As part of our contribution to development in the mining areas, we have set aside R462-million for housing projects in the Bojanala District in the Rustenburg Municipality, specifically in Marikana."
The provincial government, in partnership with mining company Lonmin and the Rustenburg Local Municipality, will build 2 000 housing units over a period of three years.
"The project, which will start with immediate effect, is called Marikana Ext 2 Integrated Development," Mahumapelo said, adding that the government had also spent R47-million buying land for housing projects from private owners.
According to Mahumapelo, the Sunway Village Integrated Development Project in Madibeng is already under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of the current financial year. "This project targets the nearby informal settlements of Popo Molefe, Ten Room, Rietfontein, and Cosmos."
Measures to restore labour stability
President Jacob Zuma last week welcomed the conclusion of a five-month long strike in South Africa's platinum mining industry.
"A long protracted strike was no longer in the interests of the parties involved or the country at large," Zuma said, adding that the government looked forward to working with mining companies and unions to implement measures "to revitalise mining towns and restore labour stability in the sector".
In his State of the Nation address earlier this month, Zuma said the government would push for the implementation of the Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry that was agreed on by labour, business and government last year.
Zuma said he would take over this process himself, to ensure that the government implemented its undertaking, as part of the agreement, to build housing and other services to revitalise mining towns, with a focus on the mining areas of Motlosana, Emalahleni, Sekhukhune, Lephalale, West Rand and Matjhabeng.
At the same time, the government would pressure mining companies to meet their Mining Charter targets in order to improve the lives of mineworkers.
"Companies are expected to convert or upgrade hostels into family units, attain the occupancy rate of one person per room and also facilitate home ownership options for mine workers," Zuma said, adding: "We urge the companies to meet the 2014 deadline for these targets and extend this right to dignity to mine workers."