South Africa: Lafarge Invests Millions in North West Communities

Rustenburg — COMMUNITIES in the North West Province are to benefit from the construction of a state-of-the art multi-purpose centre, which is part of plans by a cement company to develop an economically sustainable eco-system within areas it operates.

Lafarge has launched the centre, in the Bodibe Village in Lichtenburg.

It includes offices for social services, a public library and early childhood development centre and a pallet manufacturing workshop plant.

Wendy Nelson, the provincial Member of the Executive Council (MEC), said the economic stimulating projects would address poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Nelson said the creation of opportunities outside the normal mining space was testament Larfarge was looking at the livelihoods and economic sustainability of this as well as other communities in the area beyond the life and existence of mining activities.

"As we all know, mining is not forever. At some point, these mining operations will reach their life expectancy, but communities have to live on," said Nelson.

The phased project will see the construction of a pallet-making workshop plant; a multi-purpose community centre, which will house tribal and community offices, a Day Care Centre and public library.

The pallet-making workshop will afford members of the community with an opportunity to be trained and certified in pallet-making.

The project aims to create youth and women employment whilst alleviating poverty and creating employment opportunities within the community, with 76 percent of the 3 200 household earning less than R3 000 and dependent on Child Support Grant for survival.

Rossen Papazov, Lafarge Chief Executive Officer, affirmed that the community social investment would go beyond legislative compliance with Minerals and Petroleum Development Act, and the company's social labour plans.

"We do not want to import people from abroad to come and work at our plant or even procure services from Johannesburg and elsewhere outside the village. We want to source our supplies and services from the local businesses with the necessary professional skills, capacity and knowledge to stimulate community economic development," Papazov said.

Local tribal leader, Kgosi Victor Matlaba, said, "We are happy with the new partnership we have with the Lafarge mine, and appeal to community to unite and further work together to see the economic and business opportunities presented to the community."

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