14 August 2014
The government is to partner with the mining industry to further improve the housing and living conditions of mine workers in the country, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe announced on Wednesday.
Addressing the third annual Mining Lekgotla gala dinner at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg, Radebe commended the mining sector for working with the government to convert single-sex miners’ hostels into family units.
“We believe that this work should be continued with a clear vision of making these family units even more liveable and homely,” Radebe said, adding that mining, as a key economic driver in South Africa, should result in the creation of sustainable communities.
“It is envisaged that government will drive the process of improving living conditions for mine workers, with financial support from mining houses.”
He also challenged professionals in the mining sector to consider teaching mathematics and science to disadvantaged communities as part of their overall contributions to the development of mining communities.
Radebe said the government would also be developing a mining industry initiative as part of Operation Phakisa, the recently launched South African version of the “Big Fast Results” methodology successfully applied by Malaysia, which aims to fast-track the delivery of priorities outlined in the National Development Plan.
“We will be planning this Operation Phakisa [initiative] in consultation with all the key stakeholders, including the Chamber of Mines and organised labour.”
Mining, Radebe said, remained key to South Africa’s economic growth, with an estimated total contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), including indirect and multiplier impacts and sectors that rely on mining activities, ranging between 15% and 18%.
“It remains a critical source of investment. As a proportion of total gross fixed capital formation, mining’s share was at 12% in 2012,” he said, adding that mining commodities accounted for 46% of exports in the fourth quarter of 2013, while downstream mineral-related manufacturing exports account for another 14%.
Radebe said the role of mining had been clearly defined in the recently released Medium Term Strategic Framework, the document that will guide the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) over the next five years.
“The NDP [National Development Plan] envisages a vibrant economy, which still has the mining sector playing a crucial role. This includes exports and foreign direct investment, production of commodities for energy and/or manufacturing, beneficiation and procurement.”