SIOC Community Development Trust (SIOC-cdt) held its first ever stakeholder roadshows ahead of its annual stakeholder day in November 2018. The roadshows were held on the 10th- 17th September 2018 in the following beneficiary municipalities; Ga-Segonyana, Joe- Morolong and Gamagara. The aim of these roadshows is to enhance the awareness of SIOC-cdt’s mandate and the impact it has made to date, and for the beneficiary communities to understand how SIOC-cdt operates.
Notices were placed in various local newspapers as well as SIOC-cdt’s social media platforms to encourage all community members to come and have their voice heard. Transport was made available by SIOC-cdt for the elderly as well as community members staying in the rural villages to the respective venues.
Community members and local municipal officials came in numbers to engage in robust meaningful discussions with SIOC-cdt’s Management. SIOC-cdt gave an overview of its project’s performance in the past years and provided reasons on why SIOC-cdt needed to consolidate its operations to become one entity to reduce costs and to eliminate duplicate administration costs. SIOC-cdt’s management explained that the relocation of its head office operations from Centurion to its award-winning building in Kathu in the Gamagara Local municipality in October 2017 was aimed at ensuring that the Trust is accessible to its beneficiaries and stakeholders.
‘ SIOC-cdt values the input of all its stakeholders in refining the organizational strategy and programs. Through community engagement, our beneficiary communities play a meaningful role in the deliberations, discussions, decisions and/or implementation of integrated sustainable projects and programs affecting them. These engagements empower those from the various communities to understand our and increasing the likelihood that projects and/or solutions will be widely accepted, ‘’ said Ms Refilwe Sebogodi of the roadshows.
Community members were given a platform to openly voice their concerns, comments or compliments without fear or intimidation at these roadshows. There were other platforms available for input from attendees which were unveiled at each roadshow such as the SMS line, a questionnaire and suggestion box, all of which gave stakeholders an opportunity to raise any question, comments or queries anonymously in a language of their preference. These platforms were monitored by an external party to ensure transparency of this process.
Some of the concerns raised by community members was the lack of infrastructure such as roads and schools, lack of recreations facilities for the youth and lack of support platforms for enterprise development. Some community members complained about lack of jobs and encouraged SIOC-cdt to create platforms which will stimulate entrepreneurship to address this concern. Enquiries were made regarding SIOC-cdt’s bursary project on what criteria for selection is as well as the timeframes for next intakes.
‘’Effective community engagement requires letting go of some of the traditional reins of power and trusting that stakeholders can and will effectively engage in integrated sustainable community development priorities. The result is a building and strengthening of partnerships that is healthy for a community and can more effectively address issues facing the community.”
The dates for the Tsantsabane local municipality will be announced in the relevant local newspapers and on SIOC-cdt’s social media platforms.
SIOC-cdt was established in 2006 by Kumba Iron Ore Limited to invest in the development of the communities in which the company operates. The trust focuses primarily on beneficiary communities adjacent to the Sishen Iron Ore Company (SIOC) mining activities in the Northern Cape and Thabazimbi local municipality in Limpopo and has invested significantly in community development projects aimed at ensuring sustainability beyond mining operations.
SIOC-cdt has substantiated its stated intention of “defining ourselves through actions not words” by investing over R1 billion in socio-economic and community development projects in its beneficiary communities.
Issued on behalf of the Board of Trustees by:
Kgomotso Zimase Marketing and Communications Officer – SIOC-cdt