The Sishen Iron Ore Company (Sioc) Community Development Trust mandate, as a partner with government, is only for collaboration with some institutions on certain projects, but cannot carry their responsibilities, as it is not an authority. However, it has the responsibility of spending its funds wisely, at all times, for programmes that have an impact on sustainable socio-economic development to beneficiary communities beyond the life of the mine.That was the clarity given by the chief executive officer (CEO) of the trust, Vusani Malie, in response to concerns raised by members of the community during Sioc’s annual stakeholders engagement session at the Dutch Reformed Church in Postmasburg earlier this month.The event saw attendants openly voicing their concerns, comments or compliments regarding to the expected roles and responsibilities of the trust.The community raised concerns about lack of jobs, and they expect the trust to create platforms to stimulate entrepreneurship.This event drew the participation of traditional leaders, government and community representatives, businesses, civil society organisations, media and development partners to engage on the trust’s performance and to provide feedback on community consultation road shows held earlier.This is where dissatisfaction regarding the Tsantsabane and John Taolo Gaetsewe (JTG) District trustee representative in the of trustees was voiced.They demand the recusing of the current representatives in order for new ones to be nominated to ensure timeous feedback to the communities. Other concerns raised included white elephant projects that were initiated by the trust and never handed over, the lack of infrastructure (such as roads and schools), a lack of recreational facilities for the youth and the lack of support platforms for enterprise development. Malie gave a presentation on the stakeholders’ perception about the trust, focussing on areas of performance like education, enterprise development, and health and welfare.Project and investment performances since inception to date, and also projects lined up for 2019 per municipal area, were also elaborated on.The CEO provided a detailed explanation for reasons behind proposals for the trust to consolidate its operations to one entity. This was due to cost reduction, sustainability and to eliminate duplication of administration costs. Elaborating on the objective of the trust, Malie said it belonged to the people of the Northern Cape, thus its head office had been relocated to Kathu in the Gamagara Local Municipality in October 2017.He said the relocation was to ensure accessibility to its beneficiaries.“The Sioc Community Development Trust is not a once-off visitor. It is part of these communities and shall continuously engage with different stakeholders to build mutually beneficial relationships,” said Malie.“It will strive to be the leading partner in sustainable community development.”The trust’s chairman, Conway Molusi, emphasised the importance of community engagement, “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 the building and strengthening of partnerships that are healthy for a community and can more effectively address issues facing the community,” said Molusi.