Historically, mineworkers had to leave their families for months while they worked; today, they can live in beautifully built family homes together with their families.
South Africa (02 August 2022) – South Africa is still a very new democracy, and there are many people, organisations and businesses working to undo historical injustices and bring about fairness, equality and peace. Northam Platinum chose to make a difference by building family homes for employees and giving them the power to become homeowners.
Historically, miners would leave their families behind and work for months away from home, returning only when they went on leave. This changed the way the family unit operated, but today, that is changing too. Northam Platinum sees the value in keeping the family unit united. And so they invested in building family homes near their mine so that employees could be close to their nearest and dearest.
Northam Platinum’s housing scheme is designed to enable employees to buy these houses at cost, removing a massive financial burden and allowing families to turn houses into private and dignified homes. Not only does this benefit employees, but in the long run, it enables the mine to retain employees.
Being a homeowner and having a safe space for the family plays a significant role in the productivity, mental health and wellbeing of employees. Northam Platinum even went as far as ensuring the housing scheme was close to good schools.
Unity Shiburi is one of the employees who has benefitted from the housing scheme. She works as a Shift Supervisor at the Booysendal Mine for Northam Platinum. Unity is a groundbreaker, working in a predominantly male-centred industry and tackling life as a single mother. The housing scheme allowed her to be close to her daughter, raising her and setting an example for her daughter, by being a driven career woman.
Unity’s life has been given purpose and permanence, and along with that, she and her daughter are part of a beautiful, family-oriented community.
Tau Chunene and his wife Valentia are now proud homeowners too. Tau has been a mineworker for most of his life, so he knows the struggle of having to leave his family to do his job. With his new home, his wife and children have joined him closer to work. They have the benefit of a safe and secure neighbourhood that is populated with families that are in the same position.
The housing scheme has given these employees the chance to be present parents and partners as well as giving them the opportunity to settle into a good life!