JOHANNESBURG – Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) – the world’s biggest platinum producer – handed 270 hectares of land to the people of Rustenburg in the North West as the government envisions land expropriation without compensation as a measure to bring about land distribution.
Amplats said on Friday that the land would be used for housing and resettlement in Rustenburg, which is home to some platinum assets.
Over 242ha valued at R17 million would be transferred to the Rustenburg local municipality for mainly housing and community resettlement projects, the company said.
The difference (over 27ha), valued at R9m, would be transferred to the Rustenburg Community Development Trust.
Amplats chief executive Chris Griffith said the donation signalled the role that business could play in contributing positively to land reform and socio-economic development.
“We support the notion expressed by the president and governing party that South Africa’s land reform is no land grab, nor is it an assault on the private ownership of property and it should not undermine future investment in the economy,” said Griffith.
Amplats donated 204ha of land to the Rustenburg local municipality and North West provincial government in 2014. It said R140m was invested in bulk infrastructure by constructing a waste water treatment plant and tarred access roads.
“As a result of this donation and the provision of bulk infrastructure, the Department of Human Settlements is now able to build 4 000 housing units on the serviced land,” said Griffith.
The donation comes a month after President Cyril Ramaphosa appeased the mining industry, charging that expropriation of land without compensation would not involve taking away investors.
Ramaphosa told the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town last month that investors needed to not fear that their assets would be taken away from them.
John Capel, the executive director of non-governmental organisation Bench Marks Foundation, welcomed the move, but said that communities had to be consulted on how best to use the land.
Anglo American plc, Amplats’s parent company, last year committed to investing R70bn in sustaining and extending the lives of its operations in South Africa over the next five years.