Ramaphosa wants minerals in NC exploited to address unemployment

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President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks to supporters and commuters at Kimberly Taxi Rank, 9 January 2019, after his walk about before the the rally on Saturday. Picture: Nigel Sibanda
The president of the African National Congress (ANC), Cyril Ramaphosa, has said that the mining of minerals in the Northern Cape could address the high levels of unemployment in the province.

Ramaphosa was addressing the community of Colville in the Northern Cape during the party’s mass mobilisation ahead of its January 8 Statement celebrations to be held on Saturday.

He said during his walkabout in the area he had the opportunity to hear the complaints of its residents.

“I think you have a lot of problems here,” Ramaphosa said, listing “very bad” roads with potholes, overcrowded houses, including one occupied by 42 people – “I was not happy to see that” – complaints about high levels of unemployment, which affects young people as well.

He said he was cognisant that the government grants that residents in the area receive area not enough.

“I heard clearly,” Ramaphosa said.

He said he also heard that there are a few houses where drugs are being sold in the area.

What was of concern for the president is that in some of the houses he visited and went into, he found bottles of alcohol.

“A lot of people here drink too much,” he said.

Ramaphosa said, however, it was good that he saw these issues and problems for himself.

He said he was happy that the Northern Cape premier, Dr Zamani Saul, had accompanied him during the walkabout, including the area’s councillors, adding that they all concurred that “things are not going well here”.

“The problems that are here have to be resolved. Let us start with the housing,” Ramaphosa said, which he said must be resolved, adding that he had instructed Saul that the building of houses in the area and throughout the province should get underway.

“And we will build houses here,” Ramaphosa said, adding that Saul would on Friday meet with the province’s MEC for human settlements to discuss the issue.

The president pledged that the roads in the area will be fixed, too, and that the locale will be cleaned up as well.

“Now I want you to listen very carefully. The problem of jobs is a big problem, not only here, it’s a big problem throughout the country and we are working day and night on finding ways and plans to create jobs for our people,” Ramaphosa said.

He said he had communicated with Saul that the province “has great opportunities” because it had a lot of minerals, which included iron ore, diamonds, chrome and manganese.

“And I want us to exploit those minerals. And I know some of you want to become small scale miners,” he said.

The minister of mineral resources, Gwede Mantashe, would be engaged “because he is working on a plan to have small mining to be properly organised so that it can give you opportunities, those who want to get into small mining so that we can do it in an orderly fashion”, Ramaphosa said.

He gave the assurance that work was being done to ensure job opportunities are created, and this work includes going world and countrywide “trying to mobilise investments to come here South Africa but also to come here to the Northern Cape”, he said.

“We want billions and billions to come here so that we can have money invested here. Firms opened. Mines opened, and beneficiation of our minerals so that we can create jobs,” Ramaphosa said, adding that young people would be prioritised in the efforts of creating jobs.

Ramaphosa also said electricity should be provided to houses that did not have it.

The Citizen