N Cape communities must benefit more from rich minerals

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - The rich minerals in the Northern Cape is not being maximised for the advancement of the smallest population of the largest province in the country.

Speaking at a New Age Business Briefing in Kimberly, on Tuesday, Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas said: “The Northern Cape is exceptionally rich in minerals, and the economic benefits of these resources is not being maximised for the advancement of our people.

“The state is not receiving an equitable share of returns. The mining houses must ensure that the extraction of the mineral resources benefit the people of this province. We want the communities around the mines to benefit from improved facilities and infrastructure and to have a secure future long after the mines themselves have ended production,” she said.

Progress since 1994, but more needs to be done

She said the African National Congress (ANC) led provincial government has since 1994, made substantial progress in consolidating democracy, achieving political stability, extending basic services and promoting respect for values, cultures and progressive traditions.

“As the Northern Cape provincial government, we have contributed towards speeding up the provision of decent housing; water, sanitation, health facilities, educational institutions, electricity, infrastructure including roads and ablution facilities, and sustainable agriculture, amongst others.

“The province has experienced improved levels of access to basic services, in which it is indicated that 93.6 percent households in the province have access to basic levels of services,” she said.

Lucas said a total of 79 percent of households have access to basic sanitation; 82 percent of households in the province have access to electricity, also, more than 90 percent of households have access to water inside their dwellings or in their yards.

The Premier said the people of her province however, are still facing the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

She said to address the structural crisis of the previous apartheid economy, broad measures are required to ensure more competitive, more productive and equitable practices in the economy. These include improving infrastructure and expanding the skills base, reducing unnecessary regulatory uncertainty and supporting the legitimate aims and aspirations of the genuine investor.

Infrastructure Development

President Jacob Zuma, made a commitment to advance socio-economic development in South Africa through fast-tracked critical infrastructure development, as guided by the National Growth Path.

Subsequently the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission announced the National Infrastructure Plan (NIP) which includes 17 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs), a crucial initiative for the country as well as for the Northern Cape.

The province has been prioritised SIP 3: Hotazel to Coega railway upgrade and the related sinters and smelters.

SIP 5:  Sishen to Saldanha railway upgrade and the related mining and harbour investments. There will also be a railway upgrade from Gamagara to Nqura.

SIP 8:  Renewable energy: The bulk of solar and substantial wind driven projects have been assigned to the Northern Cape and therefore extensive solar parks, electricity networks and related manufacturing opportunities are being earmarked for the province.

According to the Premier, these projects will be responsible for creating a number of green jobs in the province and also contribute to the clean energy that will be put on to the electricity grid.

She said SIP 10:  Electricity transmission and distribution will see substantial projects leading into the Gamagara Mining Corridor and the solar corridor of the province.

SIP 14 is of utmost importance for the province as the establishment of the new University will undoubtedly elevate the province’s education system to new heights and optimally develop the intellectual capabilities of the youth to live happier and more fulfilling lives.

Lucas said the University will serve as a much needed local knowledge partner to advance research and innovation. “We are also pleased that the first intake will start in 2014.” she said.

SKA Meerkat

The SKA is another major project which is located in the province that has the potential to attract investment opportunities and create job opportunities for the local people.

Other major infrastructure projects in the province include the development of the Port Nolloth Harbour, where Transnet is currently busy with the rehabilitation of Port Nolloth to the tune of R30 million and are in the process of developing a long term Development Framework Plan for the Port. - SAnews.gov.za

 

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