South32, 2023 Africa Award Winner – Established ESG Leader for a Resource Producing Company
By AAMEG | 8 August 2023
Headquartered in Perth Western Australia, South32 is a globally diversified mining and metals company whose purpose is to make a difference by developing natural resources, improving people’s lives now and for generations to come. The company produces bauxite, alumina, aluminium, copper, silver, lead, zinc, nickel, metallurgical coal, and manganese from its operations in Australia, Southern Africa and South America. It also has two development options in North America and several partnerships with junior explorers around the world.
The communities surrounding the company’s Metalloys manganese smelter located in Meyerton, Gauteng Province, South Africa (currently under care and maintenance) were the focus of this nomination.
To provide safe accommodation for vulnerable children in De-Deur and surrounding communities for the long-term, South32 sought to develop a new facility to replace the existing accommodation which was co-located within the premises of Metalloys since 2004. The new facility would be in a more suitable location and be designed to meet a range of the children’s’ needs.
With many of the children requiring accommodation coming from difficult backgrounds, it was important that the new facility would allow them to integrate with the general community and interact in a similar way to other children living with their families. It also needed to be located within the local community and close to the original centre so as not to disrupt the schooling and other networks already known to the children.
INITIATIVE: KOTULONG COMMUNITY CENTRE SUSTAINABILITY PROJECT
South32 constructed the Kotulong Community Centre (KCC), an over R45-million newly built sustainable facility for vulnerable children in Meyerton, South Africa. KCC is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) run by a Board.
PURPOSE BUILT FACILITY PROVIDING A SAFE HAVEN FOR VULNERABLE CHILDREN
- The facility provides the children with a safe place to call home in a suitable environment. The new building has seven four-bedroom units, a kitchen and laundry area, administration block, library and social worker unit.
- Each of the four-bedroomed units has a house mother and a number of children who live together as a family. This was done to embed a family culture and sense of belonging for the kids.
- This centre has capacity to accommodate 60 children as well as their house mother. This benefits the host community as they now have a reliable centre to refer vulnerable children and gives them a stable home which resembles a stable family unit, helping to improve their mental and physical wellbeing.
- The Department of Social Development has limited facilities for vulnerable children and this contribution has added to their capacity.
DEVELOPED IN CONSULTATION WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
- The relocation of the centre was developed in consultation with the Department of Social Development as well as the KCC management and KCC Board.
- From the onset, South32 began engaging local stakeholders including community members, ward councillors and local municipality to identify the location and re-zone it for residential purposes. These consultations enabled it to engage with the community at length and ensure shared outcomes.
- The project included capacity-building for the KCC Board and management team through the provision of training in governance, fund-raising and strategy. A R10 million endowment will further support the sustainability of the centre for the long-term.
- The facility was built by a local company and created a total of 50 jobs, including temporary jobs for the local community during construction.
- Sustainability was a priority for this development which is reflected in the design and low maintenance nature of the facility, as well as a focus on resource efficiency through use of alternative and renewable energy and technologies.
- More than 75 per cent of the centre is powered by solar energy and it is equipped with energy-efficient technology including floor insulation and double-glazed windows.
- It also includes a borehole capable of providing 7,200 litres of water per hour, which will go through a high-standard chlorination system to provide affordable and clean water.
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