Exxaro Resources’ Belfast Coal mine recently completed a R1.5 million training programme that benefitted over 60 unemployed youth from Emakhazeni Local Municipality.

The programme mainly targeted young black women from host farming communities as part of the mine’s Social Licence to Operate (SLO). This initiative went above and beyond Belfast Coal’s social and labour plan commitments, reaffirming the mine’s desire to power resilient communities and contribute towards youth employability.

The training programme included 30 participants who were trained in the field of mining machine operation (working with machines such as excavators, front-end loaders, and graders), and a further 30 who were trained in security guard, grade c.

At the certificate handover ceremony on 18 November in the Siyathuthuka Community Hall, business unit manager, Londolani Rampfumedzi, addressed the graduates: “Our vision as Exxaro has always been, and still is, to power possibility. We want to make sure that the livelihoods of the communities in which we operate are significantly improved and sustainable post the life of the mine.”

The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSiRA) represented by senior manager of training and communication, Oupa Mamabolo, commended Exxaro for pitching the training at Grade C level, which gives the graduates a competitive edge in the security industry.

During his keynote address, executive mayor of Emakhazeni Municipality, Councillor T D Ngwenya, applauded Exxaro by saying, “During the construction of Belfast Coal Mine in 2018, we impressed upon Exxaro Belfast Coal to uplift the communities of Emakhazeni concerning employment, skills development, and procurement opportunities where it was going to mine.”

“We are pleased that Exxaro heeded our clarion call and has done a lot within this short space of time. Exxaro has spent R6.5 million on Siyathuthuka township to pave three streets. More recently, Exxaro launched a R15 million project paving the streets in Belfast town. Again, local people will be prioritised during the construction phase in the form of temporary employment and procurement opportunities,” he added.

The Executive Mayor further committed to prioritising the graduates for absorption with 20 security guard and nine traffic officer opportunities within the municipality.

“We congratulate Exxaro on the task of keeping the ideals of the late Oliver Tambo alive: A country that does not value its youth, does not deserve its future,” concluded Councillor Ngwenya.

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