Exxaro officially begins the rehabilitation of Belfast’s streets

As South Africa’s largest black-empowered resource company, Exxaro prepared for a sod-turning ceremony to mark the start of the rehabilitation of Belfast’s internal streets and associated storm water management systems. 

The event, aimed at bringing together stakeholders and other key social partners, took place on 23 October 2020 at 10:00, and was set to highlight Exxaro’s commitment to local economic development. The objective is to rehabilitate Fitzgerald, Boult, Duggen, and McDonald streets, and improve their current conditions to paved roads with storm water drainage systems. 

Belfast is the heartbeat of the Emakhazeni municipality, an important area of Mpumalanga. Exxaro’s investment into its rehabilitation will certainly benefit the town’s residents, improve their quality of life, and help them positively contribute to the Emakhazeni economy. 

“Exxaro remains committed to socio-economic development and improving the lives of our community members. We’re particularly proud of this project because of the long-lasting impact it’s sure to have on the municipality and those who occupy it,” said Belfast Business Unit Manager Londolani Rampfumedzi.

“We are pleased that in every municipality where we have operations, we are beginning to see and beginning to talk in a way that shows the true value of partnership. The challenges of today are not easy and need patience, planning and partnership. We understand the challenge of climate and the challenges that it is bringing in terms of intense heat and shifts in weather patterns. We are working on a strategy that will accomplish a just energy transition. This will take time and needs to put South Africa and communities, like Emakhazeni, first. In embarking in this transition, we need to manage change; this includes creating a future for communities beyond coal,” said Exxaro’s Executive Head of Stakeholder Affairs, Mzila Mthenjane. 

“We stand here today as servants to our people under the theme ‘let’s grow South Africa together’.  As we are gathered here, we are executing our journey towards achieving the goals that are set out in the national development plan – striving to create an equal society for all, regardless of race. We need to create a better life for all and work tirelessly in partnership with private companies like Exxaro, to address the challenges confronting our people in our communities. We earn the trust of our people by working for them, with them and putting their interests ahead of our own,” said the Executive Mayor, CLR T D Ngwenya, of Emakhazeni. 

“We welcome and commend Exxaro on their investment of R15 million to the community of Emakhazeni. As community members, we must not hinder the process and its successful execution. This project will bring about procurement opportunities worth R3.5 million for our local SMMEs, and our transport industry will be enhanced, and jobs will be created,” added the Executive Mayor, CLR T D Ngwenya. 

Over 100 short-term job opportunities will be created during construction, with more opportunities promised to encourage community member participation. “It is our responsibility to build resilient and self-sufficient communities,” added Rampfumedzi. “Promoting local procurement is a step in the right direction to achieve this, and it’s only the beginning.” 

The rehabilitation project, valued at R15 million, forms part of Belfast Mine’s 2019-2023 social and labour plan, focused on improving lives in their host community. 

The procurement of service providers will, therefore, be reserved for small and medium enterprises within Emakhazeni, with subcontracting opportunities given to upcoming local community businesses. 

Exxaro aims to power better lives in Africa and beyond by building and improving infrastructure, providing jobs and opportunities, supporting local municipalities, and upskilling community members. The sod-turning ceremony, therefore, represented the company’s continued effort to prioritise and empower the communities that support it.