Address by President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of the launch of the Stanley Nkosi Sinter Mine of Kalagadi Manganese company, Hotazel, Northern Cape

29 Nov 2013

Honourable Premier Ms Sylvia Lucas
The Minister of Mineral Resources, Ms Susan Shabangu
MECs, Mayors
Kgosi Toto,
Ms Daphne Nkosi
Captains of industry
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have gathered here today to celebrate yet another phenomenal achievement in our country.

We are here to open a landmark project that contributes immensely to boosting our mining sector and our infrastructure development plan.

Also importantly, this project demonstrates the capabilities of women as entrepreneurs and leading captains of industry.

We are happy therefore to be part of this wonderful and happy occasion of celebrating achievement and progress.

As government we decided in 2012 to centralise the coordination of infrastructure projects in the country. We announced a package of projects that were to be coordinated under the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, led by the President.

Many of these projects have been completed and others are nearing completion.

I have travelled around the country, officially handing over these massive capital projects to the community.

We have been to Mpumalanga to open Grootvlei power station, to Durban to open the Bridge City Road and Rail link project, to Port Elizabeth to unveil automotive wagons that will safely transport new motor vehicles to the market.

We have been to Mthatha in the Eastern Cape to unveil electricity projects and the refurbished airport to name a few.

We have launched the Saldanha Bay IDZ which will unlock growth and job opportunities in that region.

We have also opened the Spring Grove Dam in Mooi River in kwaZulu-Natal and will soon open De Hoop Dam in Sekhukhune, Limpopo.

Today, we are in Hotazel, to open the world's largest manganese sinter plant.

Thus the infrastructure road show is continuing and is showcasing the good work being done to change the face of our country.

The Kalagadi Manganese mine project that we are privileged to be part of boasts an underground mine, an ore preparation plant, and a world-class sinter plant, together with the associated critical infrastructure such as electricity, water, rail, and road.

Through this project, the province of the Northern Cape has seen a capital injection of about six R6.5 billion, within a space of four years, with at least  3 000 direct jobs created; and skills being developed among the local youth.

This has certainly resulted in significant spill over effects within the province of the Northern Cape.

Also, the project has had an impressive safety record with more than 10 million man-hours without a fatality. This deserves to be emulated.

What is also worthy to note is that this development started at the height of what has been termed the "worst financial crisis since the Great Depression,” when other projects were either scaled back or cancelled.

When South African companies show confidence in the South African economy, we can achieve great things. We are further encouraged by companies such as Glencore Xstrata, which has recently listed on the JSE, demonstrating confidence in the mining sector.

I am encouraged to learn that part of the infrastructure that is in this place, such as electrical infrastructure, will make it easier for government to roll out services to the neighbouring communities.

This is the kind of development and partnership that government seeks the kind of development that is cognisant of the masses of our people who also need to experience a better life that we envisaged for all.

I say this because, although the province of the Northern Cape is arguably one of the wealthiest in terms of mineral resources in the country, it is still the poorest in a number of aspects, including the availability of infrastructure and even institutions of higher learning.

This is in the main, due to the way this province was historically viewed.

A case in point is the Kimberley hole, which is a painful reminder of how the Northern Cape was regarded.

Government recognises the contribution made by mining companies. These contributions not only empower a few, but communities at large. Let us continue together to contribute to the social and economic reconstruction of South Africa.

I wish to re-emphasise government's commitment to the principles and spirit of the Mining Charter and thereby invite the other signatories to do the same.

Late next year we mark 10 years since the establishment of the Mining Charter. It provides an excellent opportunity to look at the gains we have made, but also the road we must still travel.

The possibilities created by the discovery of shale gas in the Karoo, of which the Northern Cape forms part, provide yet another opportunity to grow and develop the economy of this province. We are extremely excited about the prospect, because as Government we consider hydraulic fracturing for shale gas a "game-change” opportunity for the Karoo region and for our economy at large.

We must explore this potential.

Government is fully aware of concerns that have been raised on hydraulic fracturing, including issues of water and the environment.

The Mineral Resources Minister will therefore be coming back to this area early next year to consult with communities, and to hear what the people have to say, before any further decisions are taken by Government on this matter.

Compatriots we continuously urge companies to care for the environment.

I have been informed that this development is also mindful of the need to preserve the environment - hence stockpiles would be stored in a covered area. I have also been briefed that as part of nature conservation, for every tree that is removed, ten trees are planted.

This is commendable, when considering the damage that humans can inflict on the environment.

Compatriots, let me remind you that we are in the middle of the campaign of marking 16 days of no violence against women and children.

We have heard some shocking news since the start of the campaign, news of continuing sexual attacks even on young children and babies.

The community of Galeshewe here in the Northern Cape and the whole nation is still reeling from the shocking news of the rape of a six weeks old baby. It is inexplicable and devastating in the extreme.

The media has also reported the case of a teacher who raped a 10 year old boy in a classroom, a man he trusted to protect him, and in a place where the child should feel safe.

Something is seriously wrong, and it is good that society has not lost its sense of shock.

Such incidents must not make us numb, we need to continue raising awareness so that communities can expose perpetrators and eliminate these serious crimes.

Let us assist the police to arrest the perpetrators. They belong in jail and not in our communities.

Each one of us must participate in making this campaign a success during the 16 days and beyond.

Compatriots,

What we see here today, are the fruits from those who were not as fortunate as all of us who came here to witness this occasion. The sinter plant, the access road and the shaft have been named in their honour.

These are the late Mr. Stanley Nqobizizwe Nkosi and uMama uThembeka Moedi from Batlharos, in Kuruman, who traversed the country in preparation for this colossal development, and who in the process were overtaken by death and whose mortal remains have now been laid to rest.

They are the ones who were part of the team that cultivated the ground on which this imposing infrastructure stands. We ought to pay homage to such selfless citizens of our country. Indeed, they make South Africa a great place to live in.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate Ms Daphne Mashile-Nkosi and her team on a job well done.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ms Mashile-Nkosi. She was recently awarded CEO of the year by the Institute for People Management, and the International Star for Leadership Quality Award, in Paris.

Today, you have proven to us by way of example that great things require immeasurable tenacity.

Well done!

I thank you.