Lonmin builds clinic in Hwelereng to improve comprehensive primary healthcare

13 December 2012

As part of its on-going commitment to transform the Greater Lonmin Community (GLC), Lonmin, one of the world's largest primary producers of Platinum Group Metals (PGMs), recently completed the construction of a clinic geared to provide comprehensive primary healthcare to the Hwelereng community, situated in Limpopo. The massive project cost almost R10-million and was handed over to the Limpopo Department of Health and Social Development, at an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, on Thursday 13th December 2012. "We are incredibly proud of this clinic which marks yet another milestone achievement in our community health programme. By improving the wellness of our employees, their families and our communities, as a whole, we are helping to improve lives and living conditions within the GLC," comments Abey Kgotle, Executive Manager Human Capital.

Lonmin's aim was to address the critical health needs within the Hwelereng area and provide decent healthcare to the people living there. "The people living in Hwelereng had no existing infrastructure and were travelling - often by foot - to the closest. Can you imagine having to do this when you're feeling ill," remarks Desiree Monareng, Community Development Manager, Community Health.

Lonmin has delivered on its promise to complete the clinic by 2012. Now, the people of Hwelereng can look forward to a fully functioning and well-equipped clinic which is geared to attend to most of the community's health and wellness needs, from minor illnesses to life-threatening diseases. The clinic also tests and treats HIV/AIDS and TB, which is rife in the area and Lonmin hopes to see a decrease with the construction of the Hwelereng clinic working hand-in-hand with Lonmin's peer-educator and home-based carer programme. "We have seen radical improvements when it comes to HIV/AIDS and TB awareness and treatment in our other areas, where our community health programme is active. By building awareness and support through our voluntary peer educators and home-based carers working within Hwelereng we hope to see people becoming more informed and seeking tests and treatment at the new clinic," says Monareng. 

An added benefit to come from this project is the job creation. Not only has the building itself been constructed by a GLC company but the clinic will be staffed with people living within the area. This comes as a direct result of Lonmin's multi-million dollar Community Development Programme, which consists of four pillars - Local Economic Development, Enterprise Development, Education and Health - and are often interlinked, taking on a holistic approach.

"We believe that the newly constructed clinic will provide much needed health-care services to the community and, as we hand it over to the Department of Health, Limpopo, we would like to acknowledge this stakeholder with whom we have a long-standing partnership and who has matched our commitment every step of the way on this project. We are very grateful for the incredible support we have received from the DOH in Limpopo," comments Kgotle.

Yet again, Lonmin has shown absolute commitment to improving health and healthcare in its communities, especially as the Hwelereng Clinic follows on the heels of the Marikana Clinic upgrade, which now provides comprehensive primary healthcare to the GLC in the North West.

"The relationship which Lonmin has with its government stakeholders acts as a shining example of what is achievable when people work towards the common goal of uplifting disadvantaged South African communities. Decent healthcare is vital to the people living in these communities and clinics such as the one Lonmin has built in Hwelereng, play into sustainable transformation," says MEC for Health and Social Development, Dr. Norman Mabasa.

Lonmin's belief is that by investing in the communities, the company invests in its continued growth and success, and by continuing to improve access to comprehensive primary health care through improved healthcare services, the mining company is helping build and sustain thriving communities around its operations, ultimately ensuring it not only operates at capacity, but also helps to improve social and economic growth in South Africa as a whole.

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