The Premier met with Lily Mine residents on Thursday this week and was not happy at the lack of government services.
Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has committed to build 1000 RDP houses for the Louisville mining community living near the Barberton Lily Mine in an effort to create an opportunity for an employment.
Mabuza visited the area this week (9 Mar) and held a two hour-long meeting with the local community members, where he expressed dissatisfaction about the lack of government services and economic activities.
Speaking during the meeting at the local Thusong Centre, Premier Mabuza committed to build 1000 RDP houses as a start for the community estimated to be around 6000 families, which had relied mainly on working at the mines.
He said the houses would be built until 2019.
The Premier said he wanted the construction of the houses to be done by the local people in order to create employment for them, as unemployment was rife in the area following the closure of two mines.
Mabuza said that he wanted the local people to pave the local roads, do maintenance of the available and dilapidated infrastructure built by the former KaNgwane government, such as clinics and the schools.
The Premier learnt about the plight of the Louisville community after visiting the area following the mine accident last year, which left three workers trapped
underground when a shaft collapsed. He said that he was not happy with the lack services such as water, road, schools and clinics in the area.
He wanted the area to be a proper human settlement with all necessary services.
“We want the people here to live a better life just like anybody else. They should also enjoy the fruits of their freedom.
“We are of course concerned about the issue of the mine; our wish is to improve their lives while we attend to the retrieving the bodies,” he said.
“We want the people to be able to have food on the table and to have shelter they will call home while we deal and solve the challenges of Lily Mine.
“We definitely want the mine to open for operations, but at the same time we are committed to changing the lives of the people,” said Mabuza.
When asked for assistance to provide space and facilities by the provincial government where local people could conduct their small businesses, the Premier said government would offer them an industrial area and would encourage everyone to utilise it for their businesses.
“Maybe it was God will that we meet like this,” Mabuza told the community members, “but the reality of the matter is that now it is your turn to receive the services from government, we are now attending to your problems. Therefore we just cannot sit down, fold our arms and wait for investors from heaven to rescue the mine, we will in the meantime be doing something to change the lives of the people for the better”
“Our main concern is to retrieve the bodies of our beloved, but that would be possible when the mine is in operation.
“The bodies of our beloved ones will be retrieved one day,” the Premier said.
He further urged the youth to form the cooperatives saying they should work together and grab the opportunities that the provincial government would avail in the area.
He encouraged the people to consider doing some handwork such as sewing school uniforms for the local schools, and doing agricultural activities.
“I am not going to wait for the investors, I will look for other options for the mine to open, and find the way to recover the bodies of our beloved. We want to insist that the mine must open,” said Mabuza.
The Premier also agreed to provide a scholar transport with immediate effect for the local children who were reportedly walking long distances to reach schools.
*Mncwango is spokesman in Mabuza’s office.