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PPC Cement completes Ramokoka Primary School construction

What started out as a Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) corporate social investment initiative in Ramokokastad, 80km’s north of Rustenburg, is now a fully functional primary school that is the pride and joy of the local community and the 300 pupils that have been offered an ideal environment for learning. Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga officially handed over the completed project to the community on Thursday, 3rd November 2011. 

A major South African cement manufacturer, PPC’s involvement in the project stems from the fact that its Beestekraal Mine is situated close to Ramokokastad, which is home to nearly a third of its Beestekraal employees. The cement company’s participation in the school relocation process traces back to 2006, when it engaged with the local community and identified the need to upgrade the school with essential teaching facilities.

“It came to our attention that children were not only being educated in a very sub-standard learning environment, but that they were also having to walk between 12-14 km’s to get to the school. The conditions resulted in high levels of absenteeism, high failure rates and other associated problems and as a responsible corporate citizen, we felt a need to get involved and make a difference,” commented Sello Helepi, PPC Director for Organisational Performance and Transformation.

The school, pre-relocation, was a mud structure built in 1910 by German Lutheran missionaries and a testament to the legacy of the village. However, the building was closed twice by the Department of Public Works and the Department of Health due to its dilapidated state and unhygienic conditions, yet continued to serve as a school for learners. 

The relocation of the Ramokoka Primary School was rolled out in two phases. Phase one in 2009, at a cost of R1.5m, involved relocating the school to a site closer to the village, which included the construction of an entirely new and modern school building to accommodate the then 230 learners. The recently completed second phase of the school saw a total of ten classrooms, a computer room, a feeding scheme kitchen, a fully furnished library and an administration block built. At a total investment of R3,9 million, the school now provides learners with safer and easier access to their education and they don’t have to walk many kilometres and across the stream that often floods in the rainy season.

“At PPC, learning and development is a key focus area primarily aimed at ensuring that our employees and communities in which we operate have the opportunity, the resources and the means to fulfil their career ambitions and their highest potential. It was for this reason that we saw the need to build a proper educational infrastructure for the benefit of the local community.

"In partnership with the Adopt-a-School Foundation, the Departments of Basic Education and Mineral Resources, the Local Municipality and the traditional authority, PPC committed to offering the children of this community a school that they deserved, where they could learn in a decent environment. Today marks the full realisation of that commitment”, says Helepi 

Apart from providing the community with new school premises, the project also created local employment opportunities throughout the five years. By focusing on job creation, skills development and education, PPC continues to demonstrate its dedication towards creating sustainable communities so they can better their lives in a more sustainable manner.

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