Pretoria - History was made on Thursday when the Rustenburg Local Municipality and the Royal Bafokeng Nation collaborated to improve socio-economic conditions on the world’s second-largest platinum belt.
The signing of a memorandum of understanding at the Rustenburg city hall marked the country’s first agreement between a traditional authority and a municipality.
Those who attended the event applauded and ululated when executive mayor Mpho Khunou and the king of the Bafokeng, Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi, inked the agreement.
The memorandum commits the traditional authority to integrating its efforts for the improvement of the socio-economic conditions in the Rustenburg area with those of the municipality. The two parties have always had an “extremely sound” relationship, according to the mayor.
The agreement also formalises an understanding between the two parties as far as service delivery and developmental matters in the area are concerned. An added advantage will be the availability of international knowledge and expertise through a firm of consultants from Singapore to assist with acceleration of plans for diversification of the local economy.
Khunou said the mining of platinum in the region was not going to last for ever, hence the need to focus on other sectors such as education and agriculture. He said identified projects were already included in the integrated development plans for the municipality.
“In the 2013/2014 financial year, there was an allocation of approximately R70 million towards infrastructure projects, specifically to improve and develop roads,” he said.
“The 2014/2015 financial year has an allocation of R44.8m.
“This infrastructure development is an ongoing process and not a response to any recent problem.”
He said the Royal Bafokeng plans were included in the municipality’s programme with those of other communities in 38 wards that made up the region.
The mayor said the municipality had always had a good relationship with the Royal Bafokeng, whom it met regularly, as well as other traditional authorities.
Kgosi Molotlegi said development of the region would require the combined efforts of the two parties as well as mining houses and the University of the North West, whose students would be asked to do research that would assist with planning.
These plans would include the provincial and national tiers of government.
The aim of integrating the efforts of the parties is to develop a master plan for the Rustenburg area, drawing lessons from the knowledge and experience gained from the Royal Bafokeng Master Plan launched in 2006. The master plan was focused on 2035, initiating projects which warranted new thinking with regard to spatial and economic transformation.
In this regard, the Bafokeng launched groundbreaking initiatives such as Lebone II College, the five-star Royal Marang Hotel, a Sports High Performance Centre and the upgraded Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace.
Khunou and Kgosi Molotlegi initiated discussions on compiling and integrating a master plan for the Rustenburg area.