Mining company Sibanye-Stillwater, the West Rand Development Agency, the Gauteng Infrastructure Financing and the Far West Rand Dolomitic Water Association have entered into a deal for a pioneering agri-processing industrial cluster initiative on Johannesburg’s West Rand.
The Bokamoso Barona initiative is aimed at promoting sustainable economic activity through developing a large scale agriculture and bio-energy hub in areas currently predominantly dependent on mining.
The hub, to be developed on approximately 30,000 hectares of land, is expected to create employment through particular focus on agriculture, the development and transfer of skills and an emphasis on the creation of labour-intensive opportunities.
It will also promote the establishment of black entrepreneurs and industrialists supporting the transformation of the local economy.
“More than four years ago, we had a vision as a company to fully immerse ourselves in the broader regional economic integration of our local economies and communities and to reaffirm our deep commitment to South Africa,” Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said.
“The development of sustainable local economies beyond mining is a critical imperative.”
Froneman, however, said there was still some way to go before implementing the initiative and that, due to its complexity and scope, there would be significant challenges to deal with.
“As has been highlighted during the debates on land reform, it has become abundantly apparent that successful commercial agri-industrial operations depend on far more than access to land alone,” he said.
“As such, it is heartening to note the level of co-operation and alignment between the partners, which represent a serious commitment from business, local government, national government and the investment community. It is through proactive co-operation of all stakeholders, committing to a common outcome, that we will be able to grow and sustain the local economy, and Sibanye-Stillwater is committed to playing its part.”