The community of Argent in Mpumalanga are now enjoying a consistent flow of clean water following the handover of Jojo tanks on 24 February 2023 through an initiative by Canyon Coal.

Four tanks, with a capacity of 10 000 litres, were installed as part of the project. Argent is one of the immediate host communities for Canyon Coal’s Phalanndwa mine operations. Other work done includes borehole rehabilitation, general plumbing and fencing of the control box, among other things.

The initiative also helped create seven job opportunities during the duration of the project while a local company was contracted to do the work.

Before the company’s intervention, residents relied on one tank that had damaged infrastructure. They also used buckets to fetch water from a local stream. Due to the previously dilapidated infrastructure around the tank, the water used to overflow into the streets, explains another resident, Mpolozi Mpofu (64). Mpofu would have to wake up early every morning to go and check on the tank, and make sure the water did not overflow.

Veronica Mokoena (50), who grew up in Argent, said the lack of water had been an issue for many years. “It was hard for us, but since the Jojo tanks were installed things have changed. We have enough water to cook, do our washing and other house chores.”

Victor Khanye Local Municipality MMC for Infrastructure & Safety, Tebogo Malomane, said the project was a good example of how public-private partnerships can enhance community upliftment.

The project was started in May 2022 after the municipality identified the need for drinking water for residents. “Companies like Canyon Coal are playing a key role in aiding government’s efforts to meaningfully uplift communities,” says Malomane.

Canyon Coal social licensing manager Xolile Mankayi says the project formed part of an ongoing mission by the company to bring positive change to the communities where it has operations. “Today, the completion and handover of the project, which was done with the help of local contractor Madlou Trading, has ensured the community has good quality and easily accessible water at all times. This is a marked improvement from the difficulties the community faced previously.”

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