R2.1bn set aside to revitalise mining towns

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Pretoria – Government has ring-fenced a total of R2.1 billion to revitalise distressed mining towns in the country, President Jacob Zuma said during his State of the Nation Address on Thursday. 

He said R290 million had been approved for informal settlement upgrading in Mpumalanga, North West, Gauteng, Northern Cape, Limpopo and the Free State. 

“One-hundred and thirty-three informal settlements are being assessed or prepared for upgrading through the National Upgrade Support Programme.

“Thirty-two settlements are being upgraded and 87 housing projects are being implemented across the prioritised mining towns,” President Zuma said. 

He said a lot was being done to build mining towns as government, the mining sector and the Banking Association of South Africa have signed a social contract for the development of sustainable human settlements.

“Government also continues to provide social development support within mining communities. Other support includes technical expertise with regards to Integrated Development Plans and the development of Special Economic Zones.

“The mining towns are also being assisted with implementing the ‘Back to Basics’ municipal service delivery strategy,” he said.

President Zuma said government had implemented a number of programmes to stabilise the mining sector and to promote a stable labour environment, following a spate of violent strikes in the sector.

The programmes implemented under the Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry had caused relative stability and optimism in the mining sector, he said.

“Mine Crime Combating Forums have been established in the North West, Limpopo, Free State, Mpumalanga, and Gauteng provinces,” President Zuma said.

He said government would implement the agreements reached with business and labour, including the consideration of a national minimum wage.

Government was reviewing the compliance of mining companies with the 2014 Mining Charter targets.

The Mining Charter is a legal instrument that enables transformation in the mining industry. It is aligned to other legislation that seeks to foster transformation in mining.

“Responding to business requests, government has synchronised environmental impact assessments, water and mining rights applications and has set a maximum of 300 days for all of these authorisations to be issued.

“In addition, we will also establish a one stop inter-departmental clearing house to attend to investor complaints and problems,” President Zuma said. – SAnews.gov.za

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