During 2012 our chrome smelter asset, Lydenburg, donated $0.97 million to construct a multi-purpose community centre, the Thusong Service Centre, for the 12,000 residents of Mashishing in Mpumalanga, South Africa. This was part of a government initiative to establish centres in rural areas offering access to government services such as:
- Social development
- Department of agriculture
- Local economic development
- South African Revenue Services (SARS)
- Health & welfare services
- South African Police Services (SAPS)
- South African Social Services Association (SASSA)
- Home affairs
The Thusong centre also offers extra facilities:
- A computer centre to increase the community’s IT literacy and supply internet access, particularly to younger community members
- A library with a wide provision for both reading and research
- A music academy, administered by the Casterbridge Music Development Academy, with the capability to develop skills to a formal level
- An early childhood development centre managed by Cotlands, a South African children’s charitable organisation, that offers early childhood development programmes and life skills
Local government do not usually fund these projects, instead relying on sponsorship, donations and grant funding from the public/private sectors. The national government departments that occupy these centres pay rent to local government to cover maintenance, care and other relevant expenses.
Previously local residents had to travel 100km to Nelspruit to access such services.