De Beers Consolidated Mines and the Nama Khoi Local Municipality in South Africa announced the integration plan of Kleinzee today, following a similar proclamation made for the town of Koingnaas in August. Both towns were established and managed by De Beers to cater to the company’s employees working at Namaqualand mines. Koingnaas is in the process of being integrated as part of the Kamiesberg municipality and Kleinzee will join the Nama Khoi Local Municipality.
In anticipation of the transitions, De Beers has invested about $12 million (ZAR 90 million) in the refurbishment of municipal infrastructure to ensure that the towns are in a good shape when handed over to the respective municipalities.
Speaking at the Kleinzee signing ceremony, Aubrey Baartman, the manager of the Nama Khoi Local Municipality, said, “Throughout the engagement with De Beers, as the Nama Khoi Local Municipality, our objective was to ensure that what has been agreed is in the best interest of the local community.”
The proclamation will also ensure that locals have necessary jobs and that more businesses can be established in the area. De Beers will also donate land for agriculture and housing expansion to the Nama Khoi Municipality and valued the gesture at about $2.6 million (ZAR 20 million).
“I must also commend De Beers for their willingness to listen and accommodate our many requests, this being an indication of them having the best interest of our people at heart,” Baartman said.
The Namaqualand mines’ general manager, Christie Pisane, said, “The proclamation of Kleinzee will enable for the first time, current and former De Beers’ employees, and the general public, to purchase and own houses in the two towns.
“Following the proclamation of the two towns, De Beers will now focus all its efforts in ensuring that the mining rights are transferred to the Trans Hex led consortium, Emerald Panther Investments (EPI), and that sustainability projects are implemented successfully. We are in the process of implementing initiatives such as the Abalone project, the Wind Farm and the De Beers Zimele Enterprise development HUB to benefit local communities through ownership, jobs creation and skills transfer, for many years to come,” according to Pisane.
De Beers will continue to manage and maintain the two towns until the end of this year after which contingency funds will be made available to the municipalities to ensure that they are not financially burdened if there is any maintenance work required on the towns’ infrastructure.