Exxaro Resources has partnered with the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality and mining companies Arnot OpCo, Anglo-American Coal South Africa and Glencore to establish enterprise development centres for local entrepreneurs in the township of Mhluzi.
The establishment of an Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) is one of the Local Economic Development projects which Exxaro committed to in the Social and Labour Plan of 2013 – 2017, through Arnot Coal which has since become Arnot Opco. The objectives of the EDC is not only to provide facilities to conduct business activities, but also to offer developmental interventions and support to ultimately boost the township economy and reduce unemployment. Through engagements with the Municipality and other stakeholders, it was identified that the need for an Industrial Park had been established and prioritised in the municipality’s Integrated Development Plan. The Municipality’s vision was to build industrial workshop facilities with the objective of housing informal businesses operating within the township of Mhluzi.
Exxaro Resources, Executive Head of Stakeholder Affairs – Mr Mzila Mthenjane said” “We believe that enterprise development can lead to the growth of more small businesses, can provide those entering the job market with opportunities and can ensure the provision of these opportunities are sustainable. Such ongoing partnerships between government and the private sector will ensure that our country is capable of responding to the increased opportunities of a global economic environment.”
Executive Mayor, Cllr Bagudi Tolo, said the project could not have come at a better time, especially considering the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown which has undoubtedly stalled all forms of economic activity. “We took a resolution to adopt the local economic recovery plan to assist and support local businesses to recover by putting in place relief measures. We are grateful and happy that big businesses like Exxaro, Arnot OpCo, Anglo American Coal South Africa and Glencore, who have come on board to help revive and revitilise our township economy, which will indeed go a long way in putting the lives of our citizen,” says Cllr Tolo.
The Mayor was joined by executives from the respective mining companies for the launch of the industrial workshops on Friday 27 November. In the first phase, Exxaro and Anglo American Coal South Africa invested R12.2 million for the construction of the seven workshops which were unveiled on Friday. Exxaro through local contractors based in the Mhluzi community, constructed four of the seven workshops valued at R7,360,000. The EDCs will develop and support small enterprises that form part of the informal business sector within Steve Tshwete Local Municipality.