Vukuzenzele Primary School was started in 2000 by Principal Andrew Sekopane with 150 learners in Grades 1 and 2 drawn from the impoverished squatter camp close to Impala Rustenburg’s No. 9 shaft hostel in Freedom Park near Rustenburg in the North West Province. Today, 900 learners are enrolled at the school which is housed in prefabricated buildings donated by Implats.
But this is all set to change because, in a joint initiative between the North West Province’s Department of Education Bojanala Region and Implats, new buildings are being constructed for the school. The Mining Charter requires companies to co-operate in the formulation and implementation of Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the areas in which they operate and Vukuzenzele Primary School is Impala’s first IDP-approved project. In keeping with this, the school is a joint initiative between Impala Platinum and the North West Department of Education Bojanala Region where contributions by the company are matched on a rand-for-rand basis by the department.
Together, Implats (Rustenburg operations) and the Department of Education have made the sum of R10 million available for the project in which a double-storey building is being constructed with 24 classrooms, a computer room, a library, an administration block and ablution facilities. Sports fields are also being laid out. The school will be handed over to the Department of Education on completion, but this will not be the end of Impala Rustenburg’s involvement. The company is also planning to embark on educational programmes at the school and it will do this in collaboration with the department.
The building project, which started in January 2007, is scheduled for completion by December and will be ready for use in January 2008. The construction phase has provided 80 employment opportunities, 34 of these for people from Freedom Park.
“The prefabricated buildings, which were too cold in winter and extremely hot in summer, will be a thing of the past. I would like to thank the staff who continued with their jobs passionately under such conditions. Also, the learners continued to come to school despite the situation and this makes me proud to see the hunger for education they have,” Mr Sekopane said.
The project is an example of the commitment by Implats to the communities that surround its operations.