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Community demands jobs at mine

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Members of the Homevale Community Concerned action group are demanding that at least 500 people from Ward 3 be employed at Kamfersdam Diamond Mine in Roodepan.

Members of the Homevale Community Concerned action group marched to Kamfersdam Diamond Mine, demanding to be employed. Picture: Supplied

MEMBERS of the Homevale Community Concerned action group are demanding that at least 500 people from Ward 3 be employed at Kamfersdam Diamond Mine in Roodepan.

A march was held this week and a memorandum was handed over to the mine manager.

A group of unemployed workers added that they waited outside the gates every day in the hope of getting work.

They accused the ward councillor of only facilitating jobs for his family and friends.

On community member, Cheryll Tsawe, said that she was involved in erecting the perimeter fence.

“I am willing to do any sort of job at the mine. I recently finished matric and no one in my family is employed. We are desperate for work.”

A group of unemployed residents wait outside the gates of the mine every day in search of work. Picture: Sandi Kwon Hoo

March convener Kevin Andrews pointed out that the mine was close to the Homelite residential area and there would be noise and environmental pollution, blasting and mine dust.

“Mining machinery and heavy-duty trucks will be operating at all hours of the day and night,” said Andrews.

“We want to know how the mine will benefit the community and how many jobs will be created. The requirement that workers should have experience should be removed – how are people supposed to gain skills if they have never been employed?”

He blamed the ward councillor for political interference and requested that he should be removed from the project.

Co-convener Marlon Africa estimated that the mine could potentially create jobs for 2 000 people and that it should not only benefit a select few.

“We have given management seven days in which to report back to the community,” said Africa.

A copy of the memorandum is signed by the mine manager. Picture: Supplied

The local ward councillor, Derick Korkie, accused the march conveners of trying to advance their own political agendas, as they were members of ActionSA and the Patriotic Alliance.

“They are ward committee members who refuse to work with me. I have requested the Speaker to charge them as they are trying to disrupt a valuable job-creation project that will greatly benefit the community. They are exploiting unemployed people in order to garner votes in a devious manner. It is against the code of conduct,” said Korkie.

He indicated that the owner of the mine was a local businessman, Eyal Barfi, who also had business interests abroad.

“He plans to build a water purification plant and build a soccer pitch, which is just what the community needs,” said Korkie.

“The pastor from Shekinah Christian School indicated that he intends to shut the doors, as he wishes to retire. Barfi committed to offering bursaries to young learners so that they can take over the school. He wants to invest heavily in the community. He is a humble and kind-hearted businessman who is always ready to lend a hand, I have never met anyone like him.”

He added that 10 people from his ward were employed at the mine and they had the necessary skills.

“More job opportunities will gradually be created as the mine becomes profitable. The mine will rely on machinery and will not be labour-intensive.

“The mine is not even in operation yet – how can there be demands for a private mine to employ 500 people?

“Of course, I am guided by my political mandate when it comes to hiring workers but it is not a case of only benefiting my ward.”

Korkie pointed out that as the custodian of the ward, he was the facilitator between the mine and the community.

“The conveners of the march are trying to derail this project, while I share a good relationship with the owner of the mine. They cannot accept that there is only one ward councillor. Why don’t the conveners employ 500 workers at their establishments?”

The mine indicated that it would provide feedback to the community within the next seven days.

Sol Plaatje Municipality did not respond to media enquiries.

Ward 3 community members want to be employed at Kamfersdam Diamond Mine. Picture: Sandi Kwon Hoo
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