The Monametse Housing Project in Atok, Limpopo, is among the countless successful Taking Parliament to the People (TPTTP) projects of the Fourth Parliament. When the TPTTP programme was held in the Sekhukhune District Municipality in 2010, among the residents’ concerns were that those who had been staying within the 200km radius of the mine had
to be relocated to a better place.
Late in April this year a site visit by InSession – and a briefing meeting with the management team of the Bokoni Platinum Mine led by senior group human resources manager Mr Kenneth Mbewe – revealed just how things had changed for the better as the R25m project had been completed.
“As we speak 42 houses have been completed and are now occupied. There are only four outstanding houses and this is because they have to be built far away from here and this process will start in June,” said Mr Mbewe.
The only challenge was in terms of electricity as some of the people who did not have meter boxes before expected that these would be automatically installed.
“Fortunately Monametse was one of the areas earmarked for electrification (by Eskom). Currently we are assisting them through our own generator, which is costing us a bit but what else can we do? We cannot leave people in the dark.”
Having just moved into her new house in March, Ms Thabitha Mokgotho is among the happy beneficiaries resulting from the staging of the TPPTP programme in her area four years ago.
All the houses built are between 50 and120sq metres, while the residents have a water borehole installed by the mine. Eskom was due to visit the area for an assessment at the end of April.
Ms Mokgotho said: “I am very, very happy with everything. All things have gone well until we moved in here in March and there were no stumbling blocks. We have been communicating with the mine regularly throughout the process. I have now moved from sharing a house that had three mothers in it. It was a four-room with no plan. I now have an eight-room house that I own. The yard is 40m by 50m – that’s half a football field.”
She however pointed out the one challenge that was yet to be addressed – in addition to the lack of electricity.
“The only challenge is with regards to the streets. We have two streets with gravel roads and when it rains it becomes a problem as the roads become very muddy. With regards to the electricity challenge, I know that Eskom is coming any time now,” she said.
Ms Mokgotho, who is also the chairperson of the Monametse Relocation Committee, said 20 years of democracy have “bettered my life”, adding that there was no way she would not have voted in the May 7 general elections.
Apart from the houses, a new cregraveche worth R800 000 has been built. The facility, named Ditholong Creche, was completed in December 2013. The only outstanding matter is to have the Department of Social Development doing assessments to determine its suitability as a learning centre and then it can start operating. The newly built structure can accommodate about 50 kids and is earmarked to open next January. The mine also funds Bokoni Soccer League to the tune of R900 000 per year.
Mr Mbewe said prior to the visit by the NCOP in 2010, there had been poor co-ordination and too many ad hoc community structures.
“This made things difficult because you engaged this party today, another tomorrow, and a different one a day after. When the NCOP came, our interaction with them helped reinforce the need for proper co-ordination so that development could take place.
“To a large extent we have moved in an impressive way. The projects that were blocked because of disagreements have now been unblocked.”
The community structure has one representative from each village, while the tribal authority has three representatives.
“That’s a model that can be replicated anywhere else. The structure gets to the community and understands what their needs are, and then bring them up. They have formed a 10-member management team that meets regularly.
“They identify projects and implement them by themselves. Currently they are busy with a water project, through which they have put down boreholes in so many villages. This is partly funded from our budget and partly their own funds,” said Mr Mbewe.
Source : Parliament of South Africa