A classic case of mass empowerment
IN WHAT CAN surely be described as a classic example of true broadbased black economic empowerment, the Bafokeng community in the North West province uses the royalties received from mining companies in its platinum-rich land to empower every member of the Royal Bafokeng Nation.
Headquartered at the four-storey Phokeng Civic Centre – which it built and owns – the Royal Bafokeng Administration (RBA) delivers services that would otherwise be the responsibility of Government. With a budget of R180m/year – derived mainly from mining royalties and its array of commercial investments – the RBA is responsible for implementing community development projects. It directly employs 300 “public servants”.
Over the past decade the RBA – under the control of the Royal Bafokeng Development Trust – has spent in excess of R2bn on basic social services infrastructure development in the 29 villages that make up the nation. A total of 50 public schools, 10 clinics, two bulk water treatment plants and 17 reservoirs supplying water to the villages have been built. These were handed over to Government to manage. All those facilities were built on Bafokeng land and are clearly marked as the property of the RBA, which is still responsible for their maintenance.
The nation is currently in a 50:50 joint venture with the North West provincial government to build a 30km, R110m road connecting Phokeng to Sun City and the Pilanesberg National Park.
Concerning the road infrastructure front, the Bafokeng have a “nice” problem – overinvestment. They’ve tarred or paved almost 700km of road that link villages to one another and the outside world. Speaking to the Supreme Council in February 2006, Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi said: “In the past decade or so a lot of our capital expenditure went towards building new roads. Unfortunately, there are simply not enough cars on the road to justify the building of new roads, particularly roads within,