South Africa is facing high rate of unemployment eventhough the number of students completing matric increases each year. This true for the mining communities of Rustenburg. The platinum mines do no employ local youth saying they do not have experience. The youth activists Ikemleng, who are community monitors and members of BuaMC decided to take this issues up.

Ikemeleng is a mining community just 7km outside Rustenburg. It is within the vicinity of five mining companies. This community continues to experience a huge influx of job seekers who are increasing the population of Ikemeleng.

BuaMC monitors Buti Botopela, Steven Ramokhula and Mojalefa Kabelo attended a community meeting on the 18th March this year, and discussed this burning issue of youth unemployment The youth who attended the meeting warmed to the idea and decided to organize and form a Community Based Organization named “Kgetse ya Tsiee” which in Setswana is normally used to state that success and progress is attained through unity and working together.

To get the ball rolling they decided to conduct a matriculants and graduates survey to determine the educational stats of community members and mobilize youth to become members of the organization. They interviewed 107 residents of Ikemeleng ,

During the interviews, people felt that there was no transparency of information among the leaders. “Our leaders are not serious about issues that can benefit the youth who are the future leaders of our community tomorrow’’ said one of the community members. Parents also expressed their frustration, “It hurts so much to struggle teaching your child with the least money you have andthey  end up joining you at home unemployed’’ said a resident who wished to remain anonymous.

Kgetsi ya Tsie  asked for meetings  with Xstrata and AQPSA .Only one meeting was successful with AQPSA on the 17th April. The issues discussed were community upliftment, water and sanitation, education infrastructure,ECD centres and school classroom and HRD (Bursaries, learnerships, cadetships). HRD was the main focus of the meeting as the research was based on this issue. “Cadetships and learnerships are  internal post as Unions insisted  on being part of the promotion and workers empowerment and upliftment”.These are the words of AQPSA head of Human resource and Transformation Mr Charles Kendall’’.

We are proud to announce that AQPSA agreed to offer two bursaries to top learners of Tirelong secondary school a a local school in Ikemeleng. The company said that this was just a start.The bursaries are on offer to learners doing maths and science as major subject.

We hope that our work as an organisation will grow from strength to strength. We also hope that other mining companies will follow what AQPSA has done for the community and invest more on education of the community to develop independence and avoid dependency on the mining sectors for employment and development of the community because an educated person is an independent person.

By Steven Ramokhula, Buti Botopala and Mojalefa Kabelo

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