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RAL Successfully Concludes Yet Another Partnership

The Roads Agency Limpopo and Northam Platinum Limited have entered a R60 million strategic partnership to upgrade the P20 road that links Sataria to the road artery that goes to Koedoeskop in the Waterberg District.

In terms of the agreement, RAL will contribute 37,5 million to the project and Northam Platinum will cover the difference. RAL CEO Maselaganye Matji and his Northam counterpart Paul Dunne signed the agreement at the platinum mining company’s headquarters in Midrand yesterday.

Mr Matji hailed the agreement as a sign of confidence in the work the agency is doing to bring about development by connecting communities to economic opportunities through the development of roads.

"This is one of a number of partnerships that we have signed to date," he said. "The processes of appointing contractors will follow this agreement. The first stage is to enter into this agreement and after that you start with implementation."

Mr Matji said he viewed the partnership as a victory for what he calls "the village economy" as all the contracts have set-aside of 30% for the empowerment of local labourers and SMMEs. In other words, 30% of the value of that contract must go to sub-contractors and labourers from the communities where the development of the roads infrastructure is taking place.

"If the road is passing through 10 villages, businesses or businesses-to-be from those villages must benefit, including labourers. In the past financial year, we spent about R164 million in all our projects on SMMEs in our project areas. We take the empowerment of our people very serious.

"Now that we are producing millionaires in the villages, we must train them about business. It doesn’t help giving them that if they can’t move forward. So the same will apply to this project. We will make sure that the people from those areas where you [Northam] do your business become part of it. That’s what I call co-existence," concluded Mr Matji.

Mr Dunne said while mining firms sometimes get "the bad rap" for the work they do, the upside is that they bring jobs, roads and houses to communities.

"We do have an impact on communities. But, at the end of the day, the need is great. In some of our mining areas there is a high level of unemployment. There is a high level of poverty and there’s a lack of economic opportunities. “So where we can leverage each other to change that to some extent, it is a very powerful thing. Roads are not cheap and they are generally big projects. This a great opportunity to leverage some goodwill and provide a real impact economically to communities.

Above all, the road is important to us.. We are looking forward to a successful project. If we do well, then we can work together again," concluded the CEO of the JSE-listed, broad-based black empowerment company.

The upgrading of the gravel road will also be a boon for communities as there are two schools along that road and children commute by bus.

Northam’s Head of Sustainability Dali Duma said over and above the initiative to spruce up the road, Northam is involved in educational and health projects that help to uplift the communities in which the mining firm is doing business. The company has built facilities such as schools and clinics where none existed before over the past few years.

"The road become a critical thing to us. It ensures sustainability. Once people are comfortable with the infrastructure, which is available in the area, it also means your employees can also be stable. Then your business can be sustainable because you will remain with those employees longer," he said.

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