Concerns raised over Consol Trust
NEWS24 / 29 SEPTEMBER 2018 - 13.59 / AISHAH CASSIEM
Concerned residents of Manenberg are demanding an urgent meeting with the representatives of Consol Glass’s sand and mineral mine in the area.
According to the residents, who gathered last week, money is being pumped into Consol’s Manenberg Community Development Trust, which is supposed to benefit the community, but nothing is transpiring from it.
Wayne Isaacs and Zuleigha Mohammed from Manenberg want answers.
“Manenberg is a mining community and our people do not know this. We want to know what the current status of Consol Glass is in our community and how it is benefiting our people. We have the right to know, as they (Consol) are mining on our grounds,” explains Wayne Isaacs from the Business Economic Forum.
“The community knows there are sand mines, but don’t really know what is being done on the premises. I’ve done some research and found that this mining business is investing millions in our community, which they should, because if there is a mine in an area, then it should invest in the community.
“But we are struggling to understand how the money is being spent in our community, as people are still unemployed and living in poverty. To add, a lot of residents are not even aware that there is a trust which is supposed to benefit them.
“We as the community who they say they represent want to see evidence of how we are benefiting and they (Consol) need to be kept accountable. They (Consol) think because we are poor, we are stupid and unaware of what is happening here,” he adds.
Ronald Snipper, a community activist, says: “We also want to know who runs the trust, who elected these trust members, and what is currently happening with the money in the trust.
“There are people running the trust and who are allocating where the funds should go, but what we also want to know is did Consol activate any funding into the trust and what developed from it? We want a record in black and white as to when and how the money was spent.”
Snippers says the community also wants to know what the current situation is where Consol is concerned.
“We are all in the dark about this, and promised projects under Consol’s Manenberg Waterfront Proposal never materialised. This was a proposal done years ago and there was a plan for it. The community was notified, but nobody actually came back to give feedback as to what transpired through the project,” he explains.
The Consol proposal aimed to create a lively space for the community incorporating different activities in line with the City of Cape Town’s vision. This included an environment for economic growth and job creation among others.
In November last year, Thami Mkhuzangwe and Arbeda de Vries, trustees of Consol, presented the Manenberg Waterfront Proposal in a subcouncil meeting (“Proposal for waterfront”, People’s Post, 28 November).
Subcouncil 11 chairperson Antonio van der Rheede welcomed the presentation on the day but said that Consol had no engagement with the Manenberg community as to where the project is taking place.
Van der Rheede further stated that by law Consol should consult all communities in the catchment area of its operation, which includes wards 45, 46 and 47.
He further requested that corporate social investment should feature in the overall project and that all communities involved be engaged.
Mkhuzangwe, spokesperson for Consol Glass, explains that Consol originally created the Manenberg Community Development Trust as a vehicle and legal entity into which the donated portion of land to the broader Manenberg community was going to be transferred.
“In the interim, Consol granted a land use agreement to the trust for the purpose of transforming the donated portion of land into a picturesque urban park and waterfront development.
“The intention is that the subdivided portion of the mining property will eventually be transferred into the ownership of the trust, but only once all legal and other regulatory issues have been approved by the relevant authorities.”
Mkhuzangwe says the composition of the board of trustees of the trust originally included Proudly Manenberg and other community-based organisations.
“However, Proudly Manenberg decided to exit the trust sometime after its formation. The trust today consists of representatives of organisations that include the Manenberg Development Coordinating Structure, the Manenberg Ministers’ Fellowship, the Manenberg Community Policing Forum and Consol.
“The term of office of the trustees is regulated by the trust deed document, which stipulates that an appointed trustee will remain in office unless he/she resigns or is recalled by the organisation that seconded him/her to the trust or is declared to be no longer fit and proper to fulfil his/her duties as a trustee.
“The overall duties of the trustees are to ensure good governance of the trust and that the assets of the trust are used and deployed in the best interest of the beneficiaries, that is, the broader community of Manenberg.”
He says Consol has donated seed capital towards the trust amounting to R1.3m specifically to be used as a ‘kick-start’ for sourcing additional funding towards the establishment of some of the proposed infrastructure for the urban park and waterfront project.
“In addition, Consol has, through the trust, been actively funding smaller ad-hoc community projects, which have amounted to R1.25m over the last six years. This amount excludes the R750 000 grant that was made to Proudly Manenberg prior to the establishment of the trust.
“However, the trust’s main objective has always been to ensure the Manenberg urban park and waterfront become a reality. The trust is currently working on a communication strategy to present a comprehensive proposal to the community, and to inform the community of the details of the trust.
“It is expected that this presentation will be ready over the coming months. Consol remains a proud community member and fully intends to continue its spending programmes in an effort to assist and support its neighbours wherever possible,” he adds.
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER