Community members from platinum belt march to JSE to demand job opportunities

28 June 2017 - 17:50 By Mpho Sibanyoni
subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now
File photo of The Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
File photo of The Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Image: Katherine Muick-Mere

Neo Molome got out of bed at 4:30am on Wednesday to be part of a march to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Molome‚ 35‚ who dropped out of high school 10 years ago when she was doing grade 10‚ has never been employed.

On Wednesday she was one of hundreds of people who took part in the march organised by the Greater Local Mining Communities Business Forum‚ which represents more than 60 villages and townships and 3‚000 small businesses in the platinum belt in North West and Limpopo.

She told Sowetan that she was hoping that by marching to the JSE‚ companies and investors would realise that community members were living in poverty and they would come up with plans to create jobs.

Molome‚ who has no children‚ hails from Tlhabane in the North West and is engaged.

"I currently live with my fiance and I depend on him for all my financial needs.

"I'm willing to do any type of job‚ whether it relates to cleaning or construction‚" she said.

Another community member Thabo Aphane‚ who is married and has been unemployed for six months‚ survives on his three children's social grant totalling R1‚035.

"The company I used to work for shut down six months ago and‚ as someone who is a qualified safety officer‚ it has not been easy to find a job. Mining companies generally advertise rock-drilling jobs‚ which is manual labour I can't do‚" said Aphane‚ who stays in Bapong‚ where the third-largest platinum mine‚ Lonmin‚ operates.

In a memorandum addressed to the JSE and 16 companies operating in the platinum belt‚ the forum demanded: - 80% of tenders be given to local communities; - That a list be provided of all companies that have benefited from mining tenders; - The reopening of all shafts that have been closed down; and - That black suppliers operating without contracts be given contracts of at least five years.

Chairman of Greater Local Mining Communities Business Forum Jeffrey Putu said they had marched to the JSE because that is an institution where organisations and people go if they want to invest in platinum producers.

He said the JSE should respond to the demands within 24 hours. He said the forum also planned to march to the Constitutional Court in the morning and proceed to the Union Buildings in the afternoon next week on Friday (July 7).

Zeon Jacobs‚ the JSE director of marketing and corporate affairs‚ said though it would be impossible to respond to the forum's demands within 24 hours‚ the bourse would give the forum feedback within the stipulated time.

Sabelo Mdungai‚ a businessman and secretary of Tlhabane Business Forum‚ said: "Platinum has not created jobs for our people. We are marching against the investors‚ the Chamber of Mines‚ JSE and government."

He said if any of the institutions they were marching to did not respond positively‚ the forum would reapply for a permission to march against them.

Entrepreneur Stephen Phokela‚ who is based in Kroondaal‚ said he has been running his business‚ Herbet Trading‚ for seven years but has never benefited from the mining industry.

"I sell construction material and clients are only FET Colleges and municipalities.

"I've 12 employees but the problem is that my business is struggling to grow because I do not receive contracts from mining houses‚" he said.

- SowetanLIVE

subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now