Idutywa – Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe on Friday unveiled the newly upgraded SJ Skenjana Secondary School in Idutywa, Eastern Cape.
The R65 million construction of the 23-classroom school with the capacity to accommodate 1 612 learners, was funded by Sibanye Stillwaters as part of its Social and Labour Plan (SLP).
As many as 85 jobs were created by the project for local communities.
Before the upgrade, SJ Skenjane Secondary School lacked amenities and had dilapidated classrooms that were once part of a church hostel.
Despite these shortcomings, SJ Skenjane Secondary School has been one of the best-performing schools in the Amathole District.
With new and better infrastructure comprising of an administration block, a hall, media library, computer lab, and a science laboratory built in line with the Norms and Standards of the Department of Basic Education, the school is expected to perform better than the previous academic years.
In line with its SLP, Sibanye Stillwaters has made a meaningful contribution to the socio-economic development by upgrading the school.
In terms of the provisions of the Minerals and Petroleum Development Act (MPRDA) of 2002, mining rights holders are required to contribute towards the socio-economic development of communities in which they operate and labour-sending areas.
Speaking at the school unveiling ceremony, Minister Mantashe urged mining companies to pull their resources together to build impactful projects to achieve social cohesion.
“Working together, we will accelerate the construction of more facilities such as schools, hospitals, and paved roads, for the benefit of all South Africans,” he said.
Although Sibanye Stillwater has no mining operation in the Eastern Cape, the province is a major labour-sending area and majority of the company’s workers are sourced from the province.
“We are starting a new era of hope wherein the people of this area can meaningfully benefit from the natural resources that our country is endowed with,” said Minister Mantashe.
“Even though this is not a mining area, the benefits accrue to you because of the blood, sweat and skills of those mineworkers at the Beatrix, Driefontein and Kloof operations who come from this area.”
The school was received by the Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Dr. Reginah Mhaule on behalf of the basic education sector.
Minister Mantashe and Deputy Minister Mhaule both expressed confidence that the school will continue to perform exceptionally given the quality of the infrastructure aimed at advancing learning and teaching.