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North West mines urged to develop local businesses

SABC News Mine R - North West mines urged to develop local businesses

North West mining companies are urged to help develop and grow local businesses. Part of achieving the objective is for the mining companies to procure goods and services from communities in which they operate.

This consensus was reached by mining stakeholders at a mining indaba in Hartebeespoort.

Mining companies are often at the receiving end of community anger for allegedly failing to develop communities. The focus is always on provision of housing, schools, roads and other basic infrastructure.

Government is also critical of mining houses, but wants to ensure compliance by the mining houses. Such compliance could be helpful to small businesses such as the Rustenburg Platinum Incubator. Here, they teach individuals, entrepreneurs and small businesses how to design jewellery from platinum group metals.

Rustenburg Platinum incubator, Sibongile Shongwe, says the indaba is a perfect platform to identify what people are prepared to do.

“This is an ideal platform to see who’s prepared to do what and who can actually collaborate with us because we are an NGO. So, the way that we operate is to pull all industries together, communities, and obviously academia as well, and ensure that the right thing happens, to actually empower our youth and previously excluded people.”

MEC for Economic Development in the North West, Keneetswe Mosenogi, says the indaba is about diversification and sustainable development.

“It’s about diversification largely. It’s about sustainable development and building other economic sectors around the sector that is performing very well at this current point in time. So, with localisation basically, is to hold the mining houses accountable, especially those that are operating in our province.”

Estelle Solomons from the Industrial Development Corporation says government believes localisation could also mitigate against retrenchments.

“One of the things that we can do to help retrenched workers is to retrain, reskill them in terms of the manufacturing of protective clothing or in catering services; so that they can go back and provide those services to the mining industry.”

Henk Langehoven from the Minerals Councils South Africa says mines must interact with local authorities in the provinces.

“The mines must work together over time and interact with local authorities in the provinces. We actually need a lot of facilitation to make that work because often, the biggest challenge is who to talk to and what their biggest interests are.”

The Mining Charter calls for 60% local procurement with a view to benefit local businesses and boost the local economy.

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