South Africa: The Delicate Art of Moving an Entire Town. Everything. Everyone. Plus the Churches


In just over 10 years Anglo American's Kumba Iron Ore has successfully managed to uproot, transport and integrate a Sishen mining village community of 3,437 people into the nearby town of Kathu. Well, almost. The project is 98% complete, and management says the negotiations with the remaining 2% of residents still occupying the almost ghost-town of Dingleton will be finalised in the very near term.

To date, 507 of 517 households have been successfully moved 32km to replacement homes in the new purpose-built suburb of Siyathemba. Negotiations continue with the remaining 10 households on the settlement, but also include deliberations with a much more complicated and unforeseen demographic, referred to as "renters".

It not only includes squatters on the remaining infrastructure, but also refers to people and informal businesses left behind or destitute after their previous landlords moved away and no longer could or wanted to accommodate them. Some of the people left behind are just victims of the RDP housing waiting list.

Kumba has already levelled all unoccupied, unserviced houses and buildings, which it says "prevents the future illegal occupation of the vacated premises".

Meanwhile, negotiations are ongoing with the 10 households holding out for a bigger payday, and...

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