The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises has encouraged Alexkor management to work closely with the Northern Cape government, community and contractors to advance the development of Alexander Bay.
The committee made the call on its last day of an oversight visit to Alexkor in Alexander Bay in the Northern Cape on Thursday.
Committee chairperson, Khaya Magaxa, said the committee visited Alexkor to familiarise themselves with the mine's operations and the conditions of the people served by Alexkor, which is a State-owned mine.
"In addition, the visit aimed to assess progress with the implementation of the deeds of the settlement, and the establishment of recognised structures in the Richtersveld community," Magaxa said.
Magaxa said their interests, as public representatives, is to ensure that State-owned companies and government departments are responsive to the needs of the people, and "act as a catalyst for development and transformation of society".
"This oversight is long overdue. The last time the committee visited the area was in 2010. However, other committees of Parliament have visited Alexkor and have also been seized with issues relating to the State-owned mining company and the community of the Richtersveld," Magaxa said.
During the two-day oversight visit, the committee met with various stakeholders, including Public Enterprises; Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development; Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Departments; the Northern Cape Provincial Government, as well as Alexkor mining contractors.
The committee also visited Alexander Bay township to assess the development and conditions in the community.
The committee identified Alexkor as one of the entities seriously affected by State capture and allegations of corruption.
Magaxa said the committee took a decision in 2019 to conduct an oversight visit to familiarise itself with Alexkor and understand its challenges. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee members were prevented from visiting the mine in 2020.
On 3 March 2021, the committee received a progress report from the Public Enterprises and Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Departments, where both departments indicated that timelines have been set for the establishment of various community structures in Alexander Bay.
"In its engagement with stakeholders, the committee felt that the absence of a recognised community structure, such as a Communal Property Association (CPA), and failure to finalise the membership list of beneficiaries of the Richtersveld deeds of settlement, has cost the community dearly.
"The committee was also concerned by the high youth unemployment rate and lack of government development projects, which would assist to make the community more sustainable," Magaxa said.
The committee acknowledged improvements at Alexkor since the appointment of new management, including improvements in its relationships with contractors and stakeholders.
"The committee welcomed the establishment of the contractor representative body, in which Alexkor and contractors are able to share ideas and solve problems. The committee believes that Alexkor and the contractors need to invest in the development of young people, women-owned businesses and people living with disabilities," Magaxa said.
Transfer of land remains incomplete
Regarding the deeds of settlement agreement, Magaxa said the Department of Public Enterprises has highlighted that the transfer of land to the community remains incomplete.
"Eighteen farm portions have been transferred to the community, but not the farm portion where Alexander Bay township and municipal infrastructure are located," Magaxa said.