A clas­sic case of mass em­pow­er­ment

Finweek English Edition - - Cover -

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,

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