S.Africa Earmarks $190M To Improve Distressed Mining Towns

Written by Kevin Mwanza

From Reuters

South Africa said on Thursday it had earmarked 2.1 billion rand ($190 million) over the next three years to improve housing and living conditions in poor mining communities.

The violent labour unrest that has shaken South Africa’s mining industry, including a five-month platinum strike this year, has been blamed in part on the wretched social conditions found in overcrowded shantytowns around the shafts.

Jeff Radebe, the planning minister in South Africa’s presidency, told a media briefing that a government committee on distressed mining communities had identified 14 towns to focus on to improve housing.

This includes Rustenburg west of Johannesburg, the scene of frequent violent labour conflict in grim squatter camps erected near the world’s richest platinum reserves.

Mines minister Ngoako Ramathlodi said the government’s plan did not “replace the obligations of the mining companies”, which are required by law to meet a number of social commitments in the communities where they work.

The world’s top platinum producers Anglo American Platinum , Impala Platinum and Lonmin operate in South Africa, as well as Africa’s biggest bullion producer AngloGold Ashanti.

Read more at Reuters