On Thursday, 4 May, Thungela handed over two completed Social and Labour Plan (SLP) projects to the Emalahleni Local Municipality – the new Phola Fire Station and the revamped Ogies Taxi Rank. These initiatives signify the company’s continued dedication to the Ogies and Phola communities and its promise to continue investing in projects and facilities that benefit residents.
Creating access to emergency response services
The Phola Fire Station, which forms part of the Zibulo Colliery’s social and labour plan (SLP) will assist the municipality’s under-resourced emergency department, enabling it to respond to fire outbreaks more effectively. The fire station will significantly enhance access to vital emergency response services in a community that has experienced a growth in population. Until recently, Ogies’ nearest fire station was
30km away and had limited resources. The Phola Fire Station will provide much-needed relief to existing emergency services infrastructure and reduce the local emergency response times.
“We have seen an increase in fire incidents recently. Because of load shedding many of our residents have resorted to using fire in their homes. So, the timing of this donation could not be better. The fire station should serve as a centre of excellence where the community benefits through programmes that address fire safety. We thank Thungela for meeting this essential need and bringing this fire station
closer to the community,” says Councilor Connie Nkalitshana, Emalahleni Local Municipality executive mayor.
Heeding the call for improved commuter facilities
Due to a large population in the community using public transport, Thungela partnered with the Ogies Phola Taxi Association and the Emalahleni Local Municipality to renovate the taxi rank in Ogies. The renovations included the painting of the facility, revamping the kitchen and ablution area inside the office space. In addition, a boardroom and an outside ablution facility was constructed for commuters. The boardroom will be earmarked for use during community engagement meetings.
Mpumi Sithole, executive head of corporate affairs, said “As Thungela, we are pleased to be a member of the community and to hand over these facilities to our partners, the community, and the municipality. Meeting our SLP commitments is critical to us achieving our business objectives of driving our ESG ambitions. The fire station is an important infrastructure that is necessary for emergency response. The upgraded facilities at the taxi rank will provide commuters and informal traders a functional and safe space. I am particularly proud that both these projects were awarded to a local, woman owned-construction company which in turn created job opportunities for the community members.”
Sindane Masombuka, Ogies Phola Taxi Association chairperson, said “The work that Thungela has done for our community is significant. The boardroom will help us run matters of the association more effectively. We are grateful to Thungela for their contribution.”