Community engagement met with disdain
What was supposed to be a positive community engagement in Postmasburg this past week, turned into confusion and agitation as the community said it was still unsure about what exactly the Sishen Iron Ore Company Community Development Trust (SIOC-CDT) has done for them in the past 10-years.
The trust was set up by the Kumba Iron Ore mining company, to address issues around poverty alleviation and community development. This year the company hosted its annual Stakeholder day in the town of Postmasburg where aggravated community members came out in their droves citing that they had not seen any particular changes that the organization had made in the district. One member said that the company did not provide any clear indication on when commencement of selected projects would begin and that the company over-looked their issues.
“We have not heard anything about the issues we raised during the roadshow. Even the budget they have presented did not benefit anyone from Posman. We have heard what they have done in JTG, but when you look at our town there is an imbalance.”
Councillor Allister Davids shared similar sentiments, citing that the company had to reflect and reassess their approach to community development.
“For us in Tsantsabane, it is important that we deal with the historic failures. We want a disability centre, now you are telling us about Northern Cape capacity building for disability. What is Northern Cape? Is it Kimberley? Because in Tsantsabane we were clear. Where is the disability centre? Who said to you the people of Tsantsabane want capacity building for disability? Because we said we want a disability centre because we don’t have a facility. Those people are there in our community halls they are all over.”
Chairman of the SIOC-cdt board of trustees – Connie Molusi said that it was evident that certain community members did not want development to progress due to their personal interests. “The hostility comes from people who have a vested interest. In terms of how they want the projects to be done.” Molusi added that the success of the community development projects were evident in the entire region.
“I guess if you go to communities who have benefited, out of more than eight-hundred-million that we have spent over the last years, they would be appreciative of what we have achieved. In the areas we have been able to address the problems that they have. We’ve been able to give children from all areas of Tsantsabane access to bursaries, given them curriculum experts to be able to help them in their educational endevours,” Molusi concluded.
No resolutions between SIOC-cdt and the community were met.