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26 October 2014

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has committed to build a new settlement for the Masakhane community residing adjacent the Duvha Power Station in Emalahleni Municipality.

Premier Mabuza visited the area on Saturday, as part of his three-day visit around the mining communities in the Municipality since Thursday to assess the state of service delivery. He had visited Thubelisha, Rietsfontein, Phola and Masakhane, in Kriel, Ogies and Duvha mines respectively.

Although the Premier discovered similar problems of unemployment and lack of the RDP houses in all the areas, it was only at Masakhane where Mabuza conceded that their state of living was “horrible” 20 years into democracy. He said the Masakhane citizens had not tasted the fruits of democracy as the area they were residing in had no services at all, hence a commitment to move them to a new land with serviced stands.

“What I see here is not good at all. We will move all of you to a new beautiful place where you will be like the rest of the South Africans. We will be taking you to ‘Canaan’ where you will be provided with RDP houses, electricity, water and sanitation,” said Mabuza.

The area is extremely impoverished regardless of it being a stone-throw away from one of the power stations, although the population is only 1 700 people, they survive on social grants, there are no basic services including sanitation. Not impressed by the situation and the well-being of the people, the Premier has subsequently called for a mobile clinic to be urgently sent in the area to provide medical check-ups.

“The few families I have met here do not look healthy at all. It is clear that people here survive only on social grants; in as much this is a crucial support the government is making to our people, we cannot raise our children with social grants. You can tell that even the children here do not eat well, this is going to impact badly on their maturity and probably their education,” said Mabuza.

Earlier in the day, Mabuza had visited three families before addressing a community meeting; he ended up donating cash in order for them to buy some food as their children were visibly starving.

“We will speed up this new development, I will make your new area beautiful because this government was voted by you and you equally deserve to benefit from it,” said Mabuza.

He told them that they will however have to pay for the services and the people publicly and unanimously agreed on grounds that they would be provided with the houses.

The Premier explained that he would convene a special committee comprising of representatives from his office, community and mining sector to handle employment matters in the mines. This follows a complaint that certain groups begged for jobs at the mines in the name of communities only to give them to their relatives and friends.

He was further told that people were being evicted from the houses they benefitted from the mines for long service. He said such would have to stop and the new committee would have to deal with problems experienced by both the community and the mines.

“We do not want to hear of any groups going to the mines and claim to represent the communities, we will do it ourselves. I am going to take over, we will be your mouth and ears, and we will bring you feedback directly from the mines.
“As a provincial government, we are establishing a good relationship with the mining sector, we have many good ideas where we need their involvement in partnering with us as part of their social responsibility, but they will have to stop evicting you from your houses until we have met and agreed on certain things,” said Mabuza.

He promised that he would maintain the schools, clinics and community halls, however, children needed to go and study. He said it was shocking that most learners in around the mines were not interested in studying instead they were giving birth to babies, and most of them did not have matric as they dropped out of school due to pregnancy.

“Our hope is in our youth because we believe they will continue to run the country after we have died. If we invest in the youth, we are investing on our future. I am therefore urging the youth to be constructive because our future is in their hands,” said Mabuza.

As part of his Kancane Kancane legacy project, Mabuza further committed to build three houses for two child-headed families and one for the elderly women who was looking after her grandchildren in Phola township.

Issued by Zibonele Mncwango
Spokesperson: Mpumalanga Premier
Mpumalanga Provincial Government
Office of the Premier
Tel: (013) 766 2453
Mobile: 079 491 0163
zmncwango@mpg.gov.za OR zibonelemncwango@gmail.com

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