300 000 people sharing equally in their community's wealth
rather than between, villages.”
The king said the plan was now to cut back on building new roads and instead put capital budget towards improving the state of the entire infrastructure, including roads, storm-water drains, school buildings, clinics, sewer systems and street lighting. “The sewer system is a top priority and should be completed within the next three years,” Kgosi Leruo said.
Completing any project in Phokeng means giving access to such a facility to every household, as happened with water provision three years ago. That was made possible by the RBA’s R40m contribution to the Magalies and Rand Water Boards in a joint effort to supply bulk water. Now that all the schools are properly reticulated, the sewer project would bring water-borne sanitation to the community.
Other than some mineworkers walking to work in the neighbouring Rasimone, Impala Platinum and Xstrata mines, some of the villages Finweek visited were littered with construction workers in blue overalls working for companies with SeTswana names.
Local security companies guarded every RBA building we visited, while cleaners employed by companies with such names as Bophepapele Cleaning Services or Atlegang Bafokeng Cleaning Services were also hard at work.
“Our SMEs (small and medium enterprises) do the work themselves,” says George Khunou, former CEO of the RBA and current MD of Royal Bafokeng Sports Holdings. The company – itself a community property – owns the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, which would be hosting games for both the Confederations and Soccer World Cups in 2009 and 2010 respectively. “The best way to empower the community was to let our own people do the job themselves.”
To ensure everyone gets a chance to share in the opportunities provided by the infrastructure roll-out, no single SME can win a tender before completing its previous job – meaning no one company can work on two jobs at the same time.
The Royal Bafokeng Economic Board is tasked with playing the role of a developmental agency, developing local entrepreneurs and helping to fund Bafokeng-owned SMEs.
The RBEB’s aim – through the nation’s Vision 2020 programme – is to “lead the Bafokeng into becoming an economically self-sustaining community”.
Kgosi Leruo is particularly ambitious – he wants the community to produce one “worldclass” entrepreneur from every 20 of its members.