Ministers for Basic Education, Minerals and Energy have officially opened the newly built world-class Waterkloof Hills Combined School in the North West mining community of Rustenburg.

This comes after Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) and the North West Department of Education (NWDoE) entered into an equal contribution agreement in 2019 to build a much-needed R140 million primary and secondary school.

According to the department, 58 million rubles went to local subcontractors, and 7.3 million to local suppliers.

The two schools are located on the Waterkloof Hills estate, RBPlat’s flagship housing development, which offers staff family accommodation in secure accommodation.

Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Montashe described the school, which boasts 32 smart classrooms, a multi-purpose room and science laboratories, as a state-of-the-art project.

“Infrastructure helps develop children and change the future of our country,” he said on Friday.

The school will be the new home for 2,155 students, 1,280 in the primary school and 875 in the secondary school.

Additional school facilities include a 1,100-seat school hall, 256 parking spaces, security gates, sports fields, libraries, sick rooms and canteens.

“In the mining industry, we have something called a social work plan, the concept of mining companies investing where the mining companies are working. This is the price they pay for their survival and protection, not a service,” Mantashi said.

“We have to change the way we see mining companies leaving big holes in the ground and disappearing. What we’re dealing with in Krugersdorp is a legacy of mining where the mines leave holes and now have no owners, and we as a department have to seal those holes.”

However, according to Mantasha, it is time for the mines to improve.

“The project must have an impact on society. We’re talking about this because we’ve seen a trend where companies build small community halls and disappear. It has no effect,” he emphasized.

Meanwhile, the Department of Basic Education said it welcomes the construction of the Waterkloof Hills Combined School as it ensures that the infrastructure improvements meet norms and standards.

RBPlat CEO Steve Phiri said the schools would not only serve the children of their employees, but also those living in the surrounding communities.

“Our goal has always been to create economic value that can be shared with all stakeholders, and this project offers a legacy of sustainable benefits through quality education for the next generation of leaders in our communities,” Phiri said.

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