De Beers Group’s Voorspoed mine has partnered with Ngwathe Local Municipality to create a better future for the elderly by committing to build a new old age facility for Ratang Maqheku Centre for the Aged in Parys, Free State Province.
The project forms part of Voorspoed mine’s Social and Labour Plan, specifically its Community Development Programme, which aims to uplift communities of the Free State Province and develop working partnerships to enhance and influence economic and social factors.
Through its Building Forever strategy, De Beers Group is helping communities to access opportunities and thrive with the aim of leaving a positive, and lasting legacy for mining communities to enjoy sustainable livelihoods beyond the life of its operations.
Malcom Hendrickse, Voorspoed mine General Manager, said: “Our Building Forever approach unites and compels us to create a better future for our people, and we have continued to select partners and projects that will help maximise our positive impact as an organisation. We are proud of the positive impact that the new old age home will have for elderly citizens for generations to come.”
“While Voorspoed mine stopped mining operations in December 2018, as it reached the end of its life, we will continue to implement our Social and Labour Plan as agreed with our local municipalities.”
Ratang Maqheku Centre currently operates from three rented backyard rooms in Tumahole, Parys. The Centre caters for 30 elderly people daily, and provides food, primary health care services, physical exercises, as well as access to the local library to improve their literacy and writing skills.
The new 470 square meter facility will comprise of two bedrooms, sick bay, workshop area, rest area, consultation room, three offices, dining area, kitchen with a pantry and laundry room, two ablution facilities, as well as a reception and waiting area. Ratang Maqheku will also receive a brand new 22-seater vehicle from De Beers Group to transport the elderly to and from the Centre.
Pogisho Matsie, Administrator at Ratang Maqheku Centre, said: “In 2005 there was a high rate of abuse and rape towards the elderly. Women from our community came together to form a forum and a feasibility study was conducted and that is where the idea for the Old Age Centre came from. The conditions we operate under are not favourable for our old people and we are delighted and celebrate the approval of the new building – it is going to have a positive impact in our community.”
“We wish to acknowledge and thank De Beers, Ngwathe Municipality, Fezile Dabi District Municipality, Department of Social Development, and local business people who supported financially and through donations since the inception of this project.”
Speaking at the sod-turning event of the construction of the new facility, Executive Mayor of Ngwathe Local Municipality, Cllr. Joey Mochela said: “We are standing on a construction site of a dream that will soon become a lasting legacy for our community. This event is proof that working together in partnership with the private sector can produce remarkable outcomes. On behalf of our Municipality, I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude that today we are able to celebrate the beginning of a project that is so close to our hearts.”
De Beers Group has a long-standing relationship with the communities Ngwathe Municipalities, which started 10 years ago when Voorspoed mine began operating in the area. Through its Social and Labour Plan, Voorspoed mine has spent R31.6 million in supporting Social Economic Development projects in 2018.