The North West Province’s Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela Tribal Authority (BBKTA) and Sedibelo Platinum Mines celebrated the strengthening of a partnership established seven years ago last Friday, aimed at boosting socio-economic development in the BBK region.

Sedibelo Platinum Mines (SPM) owns and operates Pilanesberg Platinum Mine (PPM) in the mineral-rich BBK area.

In addition to boosting socio-economic development of the BBK region, and exploiting its mineral resources to the benefit of the region and its people, the partnership has identified a number of large-scale initiatives for the area.

These include a water project in Pilanesberg West; a housing development project in Lekutung; a sewer pipeline project to connect PPM and the Sedibelo Corridor villages to the Moruleng water treatment plant; and a road infrastructure project focusing on the Legkraal-Motlhabe road.

The partners also plan to launch a campaign to attract investors and educate communities in the region on the value related to the exploitation of mineral resources.

“This collaboration has the potential to turbo-charge the steady progress that we as the Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela community have been making towards real, genuine upliftment in the face of many and varied challenges,” said Kgosi Nyalala Pilane, Leader of BBK community, and whose vision is to empower and uplift the community.

“Just as important, we hope to nourish a sense of ownership among those affected by mining-related developments, which of course is the vast majority of people in the region.”

The identified projects are intended to dovetail with the socio-economic development aspirations of both the BBK Master Plan and the resolutions of the SPM Board. These include integrating their respective improvement projects so as to best address the development agendas for the region and ensure that its mineral resources benefit the entire population of the area.

Erich Clarke, Acting CEO and Chief Financial Officer of SPM said: “We have been working with BBKTA since we broke ground at PPM seven years ago, and we have to date contributed over R50 million to community projects. Today we are reaffirming this partnership with a focus on providing the best possible value to the people of the area.”

“Instead of initiating separate projects, we will merge our resources to provide an integrated approach to the development of the region. This should result in significant infrastructure projects that will benefit all members of the BBK communities.”

Mining is one of the economic pillars of the BBK Master Plan, along with tourism, manufacturing and agricultural development. Under the leadership of Kgosi Nyalala Pilane, the area has over the past eight years begun to benefit from the establishment of projects in these sectors, as well as from numerous results-driven programmes in areas such as health, education and skills development.

Moruleng is a densely populated rural area on the north-eastern border of the Pilanesberg and is home to the BBK community, comprising of approximately 350 000 people residing in 32 villages.

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