Anglo Coal in a new R26m community sports centre

The Harry Gwala Multipurpose Sports Centre, a new R26m development in Metsimoholo, Free State, is promising to become much bigger than its architects, Anglo American and the Metsimaholo Local Municipality, had bargained for. They won’t be complaining.

The Harry Gwala Multipurpose Sports Centre was launched yesterday under observation of a high profiled guest list. The list included the Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu and Anglo American’s Thermal Coal business CEO Godfrey Gomwe.

Shabangu hailed the development as an exemplary realisation of a Social and labour Plan.

“Through the Social and Labour Plan’s that are agreed with mining companies we seek to create lasting and sustainable change in the communities affected by mining operations by ploughing back some of their profits. This project is a demonstration of what a focused mining company can achieve.”

The Harry Gwala Multipurpose Sports Centre came out of a partnership between Anglo American’s New Vaal colliery and the Metsimaholo Local Municipality. The municipality donated the land and Anglo covered the development expenses.

What came out is a centre that offers a multipurpose hall for training sessions, workshops and basketball tournaments, two tennis courts, two netball courts, a talent development centre, ample change rooms, and kiosks for selling and serving refreshments. Construction began in February 2012 under the hand of a Free State based contractor Mofomo Construction.

The Anglo statement about the launch said “During the last phase, soccer fields will be added and completed in February 2014.”

The statement said government services such as a South African Police Services contact centre, satellite fire station, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), as well as a municipality pay-point centre and pre-paid electricity purchase point will also occupy the centre to bring these services closer to the community. The placed the centre on a path to become a broader socioeconomic development hub.

Gomwe “As a company we believe that we should leave a lasting legacy in the communities where we operate.”

Being involved in this sports centre is part of our commitment to develop the community, and to stimulate positive social changes and socio-economic benefits such as a safe environment for recreational and professional sporting purposes.”

The Anglo statement said New Vaal and the municipality were considering opportunities to partner with other organisations in the area such as Sasol. This is to ensure that programmes at the centre are integrated into the area’s flagship sports development programme, the Metsimaholo Rejuvenation Programme.

South African miners have jacked up their socioeconomic development initiatives in the post Marikana Massacre era. This represents a stronger realization that the industry must move towards more equitable distribution of profits if it is to survive a rising and more radicalized tide of resource nationalism. Anglo’s gesture in the volatile Sasolburg area mix well Sasol’s plans.

Sasol runs a multibillion rands facility in Sasolburg and has in the past few years been making a major push to be seen as community development force. It recently launched a massive business incubation centre in the area in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry.

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