Kumba Iron Ore’s Kolomela mine made a considerable contribution to local education by handing over 11 pre-fabricated class rooms. The donation was made to five different schools facing infrastructure challenges in the Tsantsabane area.
“These classrooms, fitted with electrical connections and furniture accommodate 440 learners annually. Every year the schools experience enrolment problems due to classroom shortages. The capacity challenges of our schools and hospitals is the result of the influx of job seekers into the area,” says George Benjamin, manager, public affairs.
An investment of care
“This investment of close to R4-million reflects our caring attitude towards our community. One of the pillars of our Sustainability Strategy is focused on thriving communities. Education is a key element of a thriving community. Our aspirational vision is for all children in our host communities to have access to good education and training. This project supports our objective that our schools perform within the top 30% of state schools by 2025,” says Masala Mutangwa, general manager at Kolomela mine.
Creating future leaders
The acting circuit manager of the Department of Education in the Northern Cape, Jack de Bruin addressed the audience at the official handover event.
“These children are our future leaders and our future generation. We want to see future GMs coming from this area. We feel humbled to be here today – seeing the smiles on the little ones’ faces and knowing that we are making a difference in their lives. We don’t want to see kids cramped in classrooms. It reminds me of my Grade 1 year under a fig tree,” De Bruin said.
Miners improving lives
The CEO of Kumba, Themba Mkhwanazi, added a different perspective to the donation when addressing everyone present.
“We are miners by default, but we see ourselves as more than miners. The donation is dictated by our purpose and our purpose is to re-imagine mining to improve people’s lives. We do what we do to make a difference in people’s lives,” he said.
“We embrace the concept of shared value. Wherever we operate, we want to impact positively. We want to enhance whatever we do as a consequence of us being there. Clearly education is important to us. Therefore, if we are to truly play our part in the world, we need to get on top of education.
“At any year, if 1.5 million kids in South Africa start Grade 8, only 500 000 of them will make matric. This means that 1 million learners will fall by the wayside. Of the 500 000 that write matric, only 300 000 will pass. Of this 300 000 only 100 000 will achieve exemption to study further and obtain higher education. Of the 100 000, 60% will drop out due to financial constraints. These statistics offer a huge opportunity to us. That is why Anglo American launched a programme for the next five years – we will invest R500-million to raise the education level of schools,” he added.
“Personally, I know the power of education. My grandfather only started school at the age of 13. Two generations later we have a CEO in the family – that is the power of education!
When we give kids the opportunity of education, it can make a big difference – changing families and societies. Therefore it is important that we support this programme. We know we are truly making a difference,” Mkhwanazi concluded.
The five schools which benefitted from this donation include HTT Bidi Primary with three classrooms, Ratang Thuto High School with two classrooms, New Town Primary with two classrooms, Postmasburg Primary with two classrooms and Postmasburg High School with two classrooms.