Speaking notes for Mr Norman Mokoena, MPL MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism in Mpumalanga at the launch of the Anglo American Inyosi's Zibulu Colliery: Ogies
29 Mar 2012
Honourable Minister of Mineral Resources, uMama Susan Shabangu
The Executive Mayor of Nkangala District Municipality, Councillor SK Mashilo
The Executive Mayor of Emalahleni Local Municipality Councillor S Sithole
Mr Godfrey Gomwe the Executive Director of Anglo American South Africa
Mr Norman Mbazima the CEO Thermal Coal and your team from Anglo American
Ms Yoliswa Balfour the Chairperson of the Lithemba Consortium and the Inyosi team
Ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of the government and the people of Mpumalanga I am pleased to join Minister Shabangu in celebrating the official opening of this new mine in this town of Ogies. Zibulo joins the family of the other nine operating mines that are owned by Anglo Thermal Coal. This mine joins Kriel in the stable that includes Inyosi coal empowerment partners.
We welcome the coming into operation of a mine that has a significant female ownership. It is a lodestar for a bright future of economic freedom and social justice in South Africa. Only two days ago, together with the mayors of the Nkangala district and Emalahleni, councillors Mashilo and Sithole, we met at the offices of the Ministry of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in Tshwane with a delegation from Phola. Our visit there was occasioned by the unhappiness of the people of that township with another mining company with regard to the issue of jobs and the qualifications that are needed in that respect.
The search for job opportunities in this province, and more importantly in this part of the province cannot be over-emphasised. The National Planning Commission’s diagnostic report paints a very dim view of the challenges facing the youth. Among other things, it boldly states that almost 60% of our population is made up of youth under the age of 35 and that two thirds of these are unemployed. Worse still, the majority of them are unemployable owing to the lack of performance of our education and training system.
So we welcome projects of this nature for they fit neatly within our Provincial Growth and Development Path which is aimed at reducing unemployment, which was at 27.7% at the end of the last quarter in 2011 to 15% in 2020. Zibulo is an important undertaking that amounts to a modest and yet critical undertaking. The people who are fortunate enough to be employed here have a major responsibility to ensure that they constantly train and retrain so that we have a cadre of employees who will have the portable skills to be able to work beyond the life of this mine.
It should be noted that attitudes and communication are absolutely critical in these endeavours. Dignity is the cornerstone of our Constitution in South Africa. I am glad that there is no place in this mine for derogatory fanakalo and that the staff here have the means to communicate with their supervisors in a dignified manner.
The area on which my department lays particular emphasis is the environment and the socio economic impact of your operations to the hosting community and the province. We have an obligation to work with the regulator that is the DMR, to make sure that we have a proper environmental management plan to mitigate the negative impact of mining on the environment. That is a major responsibility facing our country as an enlightened player with growing influence in world affairs.
I have been informed that Thermal Coal is researching the use of modern technology to deal with ultra-fines that have been assembled into unusable dumps in large parts of the Witbank coal belt. We welcome the search for solutions to the centuries-old mine dumps that often are prone to such things as spontaneous combustion and environmental degradation. We look forward to receiving the reports of this cutting edge research which, if successful, will truly revolutionise coal mining in this province and serve as a shining example in the greater quest for an environmentally friendly coal industry.
This should be over and above the water reclamation plant that should be used to address the scarcity of water and the need to ensure that this scarce resource is available to the broader community, whose interests should be seen as paramount. The second part is to ensure that the hosting Municipality benefits through the number of jobs created, social labour plans (SLP), skills development and corporate social investment (CSI) programmes. Of critical importance is that both the SLP and CSI projects must be incorporated into the IDP of the hosting municipality.
Once more, on behalf of the Premier and the people of Mpumalanga, we welcome with open arms the launch of this Anglo American Inyosi-Sibulo Colliery. Working together we can do more to ensure that 2012 becomes the year of job creation through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth.
Minister, we are pleased to welcome you to our beautiful province, the province of the rising sun with a pioneering spirit and the energy heartbeat of South Africa. Your leadership and guidance of the minerals portfolio has ensured that we continue to reap benefits from the abundant coal and other minerals that we have in this province.
I thank you.
Issued by: Mpumalanga Economic Development, Environment and Tourism
29 Mar 2012
[ Top ]