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Gold Fields (Gold Fields) (JSE, NYSE, NASDAQ Dubai: GFI) Executive Vice President for South Africa, Nico Muller officially handed over the newly restored Ilanga building at Healdtown College, a Methodist school located near Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape, on Tuesday 3 March 2015. The building, now renamed the Gold Fields Robert Sobukwe Building, comprises a library, museum, science and computer laboratories as well as classrooms.
Gold Fields participated in the restoration of the school in line with the mine’s focus on education, as well as the alignment of values between the South Deep Education Trust and the Historic Schools Restoration Project (HSRP). Both organisations aim to provide a higher quality of education to uplift and empower historically disadvantaged individuals, communities and organisations. The project, which started in 2013 was completed in January 2015 for a total cost of R3.5 million and created 20 local jobs and empowered two local SMMEs.
The HSRP, which was launched in 2007, facilitates the restoration of currently under-resourced secondary schools with historical significance. The aim has been to transform the schools into centres of educational and cultural excellence.
Speaking at the handover function, Muller said: “Gold Fields is proud to have been involved in the restoration of such a historically significant school, especially one that produced prominent leaders such as former president Nelson Mandela and Robert Sobukwe, the founder of the Pan-African Congress, after whom the building is named.”
The restoration of the building is part of a bigger project to evolve the current comprehensive school into a prestigious academy of science, mathematics, engineering and technology. Given its location in the Eastern Cape the focus will be on pupils from local rural areas although the planned boarding facilities will also be able to accommodate learners from other provinces.
“The restoration is an opportunity to reset the foundations of a lasting legacy and restore the school so it is able to produce the leaders of tomorrow. Education is an integral part of the success of the country and the focus of the school, preparing the learners for careers in engineering, science, academia and technology, is a cause strongly supported by Gold Fields,” Muller added.
Gold Fields is one of a number of stakeholders involved in the project. Once the handover to the HSRP board has been completed the building will be passed to the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and the Department of Education, who will jointly manage the college.