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The Democratic Alliance (DA) has taken a firm stand against Gamagara municipality’s appointment of a non-profit organisation from Gauteng, to manage community involvement in the development of Social Labour Plans (SLPs) for mining operations.
The recent appointment makes no sense. It nullifies the role of the municipality’s Local Economic Development (LED) officer in representing the community, negotiating SLPs on behalf of the municipality and ensuring that SLPs are aligned with the municipality’s Integrated Development Plans (IDPS). The appointment will also come at an additional and unnecessary cost to the municipality, as the organisation will benefit from remuneration that is dependent on commitments and contributions.
It is further questionable as to why an organization based in Joburg was selected to represent the greater Kathu community. How can outsiders accurately ensure that the needs and the skill-development requirements of mine employees in Gamagara are included in SLPs?
The appointment, which has been outright lobbied for and supported by the ANC and the Gamagara Community Forum, has been met with much concern by the DA and much of the community. Public participation did not take place in all wards, and while the municipality claims that 451 people in total attended the public meetings, they do not have attendance registers to prove this. Nor did all 451 attendees support the appointment.
The purpose of SLPs is to drive transformation and promote economic growth, not to empower connected organisations and individuals who want to ride on the backs of mining communities.
The DA has gathered 640 signatures, the majority from residents in Kathu, Olifantshoek, Mapoteng, and Deben, on a petition opposing the appointment of the NPO. The municipality, however, is refusing to accept the petition.
It is increasingly clear that there is more to the municipal arrangement than meets the eye. The DA distances ourselves from any decisions that will be taken by the municipality and the organisation.
Issued by Henriette du Plessis, Cllr - DA Caucus Leader in Gamagara municipality