Marikana Memorial
To mark ‘The Week That Changed Our Lives’, Lonmin has unveiled its proposed design for a Marikana Memorial Park and announced occupation of infill apartments.

Lonmin has also announced the occupation of its infill apartments, following a prayer session dedicated to lost colleagues at its shafts during the Marikana tragedy.

The memorial project is still in its infancy, and Lonmin will consult with employees and stakeholders on the proposed design which is developed around the concept of a green blanket, emblematic of the garment worn by late strike leader Mgcineni Noki.

[quote]This green space, planted with indigenous trees, will serve as a place for social gatherings.

The proposed site for the Memorial Park will be situated between Nkaneng, an informal settlement, and an Eskom sub-station.

Within this area, the ‘green blanket’ – formed by landscaping – will stretch over three koppies to signify new hope.

The park will incorporate existing paths used by miners and community members, and the locations of significant events that transpired during ‘The Week That Changed Our Lives’.

Later additions to the site may include an amphitheatre, with 44 embedded seats representing the lives lost, as well as a museum showcasing the history of platinum mining in South Africa and detailing the events of the tragedy; a restaurant and soccer field.

“The tragedy at Marikana has changed all of us,” says Lonmin CEO, Ben Magara.

“Our vision for this memorial is to create a place that will commemorate the lives that were lost and give all of us a space for remembrance, reminding us and future generations that an event like this must never happen again.

“All of us must work towards reconciliation, healing, and renewal and to creating a future anchored in humanity and unity,” continues Magara.

“That is the greatest legacy left to us by those who lost their lives. We commit to tackling the challenges we still face as a collective, not just for ourselves, but to provide opportunities for our children and our children’s children.

“The proposed design we have unveiled today requires the input of our employees, our stakeholders and the families who lost loved ones at Marikana, and we invite them all to be part of this project which is important to Lonmin and to me personally,” emphasises Magara.

Lonmin has launched phases one and two of the infill apartments on the Wonderkop and Easterns sites, close to its converted hostel family units.

The apartments are being built on land belonging to the Bapo Ba Mogale tribal authority, in accordance with the lease agreement Lonmin has with the tribal authority.

The development, which cost R410 million as part of the R500 million Social Labour Plan committed by Lonmin, currently comprises 493 completed units, of which 403 have been occupied by the company’s workers.

A further 300 units (150 on each of the Wonderkop and Easterns sites) are currently under construction.

These form part of phase three, and are expected to be ready for occupancy in December this year. Phase four will be complete by the end of 2018, with residents taking up occupancy at the beginning of 2019.

“The entire infill project is representative of lessons we have learnt during the past five years,” states Lonmin EVP human resources representative, Khaya Ngcwembe.

“We sought the employees’ input at each stage of planning and building; initially through a special task team, and then through a joint forum.

“Consequently, both the design and rental pricing of apartments are in line with workers’ requirements. Around 1 050 jobs were created through the development, which was built by Gomolemo and Bongekile, two local, black-owned construction companies.

“Interior design features include modern finishes and fit-for-purpose fittings, and the development incorporates green spaces for children to play as well as other local recreational amenities.

“Our revised employee accommodation strategy now takes into consideration those who prefer to own their homes or to rent, and we are investigating options for further development, depending on our partnership arrangements with government and the availability of necessary funds,” explains Ngcwembe.

“We are aware that Nkaneng, an informal settlement on land that belongs to the Bapo ba Mogale Traditional Authority, still requires rezoning to turn it into a township.

“We have requested the Madibeng Municipality, local councillors and our majority union AMCU to find a way of engaging the Bapo to get the informal settlement rezoned. It is after this that bulk services can then be formally designed and implemented,” states Ngcwembe.

In conclusion, Ngcwembe says that Lonmin has just completed an employee accommodation survey which has now clarified where the company’s employees stay, where they come from and where they would prefer to stay, within their means.

These insights will be incorporated into Lonmin’s revised employee accommodation strategy and its next SLP, which commences in 2019.

Feature image credit: Lonmin