Sustainable development

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Affordable housing for all

Affordable housing for all
The Seraleng Housing Project in Mogalakwena The Seraleng Housing Project in Mogalakwena

We believe that human dignity, privacy and family life are essential to achieving real transformation. That is why we have made significant strides in improving the housing and living conditions of our employees.

Old single-sex hostels for the accommodation of mineworkers in South Africa are associated with a system characterised as being undignified, inhumane and causing long term negative social consequences.

We are improving the living conditions of employees and making it possible for them to buy their own homes in sustainable areas outside our mining operations. This breaks away from previous practice and enables those who work for us to acquire a meaningful asset. It also helps address the legacy of apartheid and how it played out in the mining sector.

Meeting the need for sustainable housing
For our employees to enjoy quality housing, a number of challenges need to be addressed. In South Africa, there is a lack of affordable housing, which leads to long waiting lists and delivery lead times. These shortfalls are accompanied by a scarcity of municipal resources to provide the infrastructure essential for residential development.

To address these problems, our platinum, iron ore and thermal coal businesses are applying their own resources and are proactively engaged in the creation of properly serviced land to facilitate housing development in areas where services are inadequate or simply do not exist.

They are also collaborating with reputable housing developers to encourage and promote the concept of affordable home ownership among employees. Our people are able to participate in home ownership through housing allowances, which are complemented by programmes to educate them on the responsibilities of buying, owning and managing their own homes.

At our platinum business, all hostels have been converted into family units and an ever-growing number of employees are opting for home ownership. To facilitate this process, we have put plans in place to build 20,000 homes in 10 years as a direct result of a partnership with the National Department of Human Settlements.

The Seraleng Integrated Human Settlement Project in Rustenburg forms part of this initiative and involves the construction of 1,000 employee houses with services, including water, sewerage, electrical reticulation and tarred roads. The first dwellings were built in 2010, and will be owned by employees entitled to a government housing subsidy and financial support from the business.

A 310-unit housing project is expected to commence in Northam soon, while a number of other developments are at various stages.

At our thermal coal operations, hostel accommodation is now firmly in the past. Some 65% of employees reside in their own homes, while the remainder occupy self-contained units for single people and married quarters for families.

Innovative housing
To address the shortage of housing in Emalahleni, where a number of our coal mines are situated, we are taking an innovative approach to housing by using the gypsum by-product from its Emalahleni water reclamation plant.

So far, we have built more than 60 conventional three-bedroom units using gypsum as an additive raw material for the manufacture of bricks and superstructure. We are also in the process of providing services for an additional 392 plots which are to be offered for sale with a building package to employees. As part of the project, we will install roads and a stormwater drainage network covering the new stands as well as existing privately owned plots. This venture is earmarked for completion in 2011.

Hostel conversions
Kumba Iron Ore regards housing as a key factor in attracting and retaining vital skills. In 2010, Kumba converted a further four hostel blocks into modern apartments, including a living area, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. At the remaining 10 units, around 600 employees have private bedrooms and share communal, bathroom and kitchen facilities. These will be converted by 2012.
Another target is to complete 476 low-cost family housing units by the end of 2012. Sishen mine’s Lakhutshona development has already completed 1,067 affordable houses and the construction of a further 1,261 is in the pipeline.

These initiatives will not only realise employees’ ambitions of owning their own homes, but provide valuable employment opportunities to local people.

Kumba employees, Edwin and Maureen Lumatha, are delighted with the confidence they have in knowing that their loved ones have a secure home.

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