Bokamoso Ba Rona transforms mining lands for agriculture

For years the mines were the lifeline of Gauteng’s West Rand district. Through strategic partnerships and extensive stakeholder engagement, the Bokamoso Ba Rona initiative is in collaboration with Agri SA Companies wants to breathe new life into an area that was once dependent on mining.

In Gauteng’s West Rand district, communities are watching as the once vibrant mining operations slowly disappear before their eyes due to declining mining activity. For years the mines had been the lifeblood of the region, providing jobs and sustaining livelihoods.

However, amid the uncertainty, a ray of hope emerged in the form of the Bokamoso Ba Rona initiative. The initiative aims to revitalize the region by using more than 30,000 hectares of privately owned land for intensive agricultural development.

Bokamoso Ba Rona was established by the Gauteng Infrastructure Financing Agency (Gifa), Sibanye Stillwater, the Far West Rand Dolomitic Water Association and the West Rand District Municipality.

According to Noxolo Mtembu, project manager at Gifa, who works as a project preparation unit as part of the provincial government, they support initiatives and sector departments by developing concepts into feasible projects.

“These projects span different sectors from housing to social infrastructure, waste, water and energy,” Mtembu said, emphasizing the importance of post-mining economies.

Life after mining

Jurgens Kühl, head of consultancy and management at Capital Asset Project Integration Consultants (Capic), explained the company’s involvement and stated that Capic, as a specialist consultancy focused on the development, financing and management of economic and social infrastructure assets across multiple sectors, and implements strategies to transform concepts into sustainable businesses.

The intersection of mining and agriculture is crucial in this initiative, Kühl said.

“Many years ago, this area was a thriving agricultural heartland with a dolomite aquifer. However, mining activities affected groundwater supplies, bringing intensive agriculture to a standstill in the area.

“With the decline in gold mining activities, there is a need to convert these land and water resources into a socially and environmentally just post-mining landscape,” he explained.

Step towards economic diversification

As part of their partnership, Agri SA Enterprises is providing technical support and expertise to the initiative.

Craig Murrell, head of rural development and advisory services at Agri SA Enterprises, said the development of projects under the initiative required extensive stakeholder engagement, due diligence and market testing.

Highlighting the impact the initiative will have on agriculture, Murrell said: “Agriculture will benefit enormously from this program in two ways.

“First, there will be a nominal increase in the number of hectares under production, which will increase food security within the sector. Secondly, this project will demonstrate the crucial role of agriculture in post-mining economies.”

The partners involved believe that Bokamoso Ba Rona’s initiative in the West Rand mining area represents an important step towards economic diversification and the recovery of post-mining environments.

READ NEXT: Agri Enterprises presents many uplifting initiatives

Register for Mzansi today: Your daily view of the news and events from the agricultural value chain.

Back To Top