Trustees will boost communities

2016-02-24 06:00
THE Letsatsi Borutho Trustees from the left are Bishop Oswald Swartz (beneficiary community trustee), Marion Green-Thompson (Droogfontein solar power representative), Past. Matshidisho Florence Langa (beneficiary community trustee) and Neville Gabriel (chairperson of the Letsatsi Borutho Trust). Photo: Supplied

THE Letsatsi Borutho Trustees from the left are Bishop Oswald Swartz (beneficiary community trustee), Marion Green-Thompson (Droogfontein solar power representative), Past. Matshidisho Florence Langa (beneficiary community trustee) and Neville Gabriel (chairperson of the Letsatsi Borutho Trust). Photo: Supplied

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THE newly-appointed trustees of the Letsatsi Borutho Trust, a 4% shareholder in Droogfontein Solar Power, will engage with selected community organisations over the next few weeks to introduce themselves to the communities in the areas of Kimberley, Riverton, Ritchie and Barkly-West.

The beneficiary community trustees, Bishop Oswald Swartz and Past. Matshidi­sho Florence Langa, will be working with the independent trustees, Neville Gabriel, Marion Green-Thompson and Hephzibah Nozuko Mkhungo (representative of the Development Bank of Southern Africa).

Swartz and Langa were nominated by members of the community from within a 50 km radius of the solar power plant to carry out public benefit activities for the welfare of the local community.

The Sibona Ilanga Trust has announced the appointment of Rev. Masibulele Mazwi as a beneficiary community trustee.

Mazwi will be working with Gabriel, Green-Thompson and Mkhungo.

Gabriel said this model of community ownership had been built into the business framework.

“I have been involved in advocacy, philanthropy and social justice. Alone they have limitations. But the Amandla Omoya Trust model, which empowers communities with ownership, seems to take the best of all these and creates something very workable.

“With the model being linked to a government programme, the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer procurement programme (REIPPP) is very efficient, transparent and effective in generating foreign investments. The age of aid is over, we can’t simply rely on government to overcome poverty. It is also not a viable solution to expect companies to trickle funds down. This is an ideal business practice, not just a charitable beneficiary,” added Gabriel.

Gabriel was appointed by the Development Bank of South Africa and Globeleq. He has extensive years of experience in the field of social justice and public advocacy. As CEO of the Southern African Development Trust, he led an independent Southern African regional policy dialogue and grant-making agency that works to deepen and widen engagement between different sectors for better policies to overcome poverty.

His unique set of proven skills combine strategic leadership with hands-on organisational management, effective networking and public representation to diverse audiences. His ability and analytical sense to practically apply his up-to-date know-ledge of his field of work creates appropriate change in the contexts in which he works. He has a diverse and extensive network of professional contacts and serves as a non-executive director of several international organisations.

Swartz is the 12th Bishop of the Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Prior to his enthronement, he served as a regional desk officer for the missionary society based in the United Kingdom.

He was responsible for managing UK missionaries and volunteers in West Africa, the Indian Ocean and Southern Africa. The husband and father of three is a well-respected member of the community who believes that he has a gift of bringing people together as well as motivating and listening to them.

He hopes to represent the community and remind them of their responsibility to the environment.

“We are raising the next generation and need to instil them with respect for our planet. I would like to contribute to activate change by training people to shift their perspectives and equipping them with tools to make a difference to their community and the environment.” He believes strongly in the power of renewable energy and feels that we should be reducing our carbon footprint.

Langa was nominated by a community feeding scheme which describes her as a leader, chaplain, co-ordinator, mentor, servant of the people and patriot. Langa, who is a pastor at the Full Gospel Church, is the founder of and project manager of a community feeding scheme that provides for over 300 beneficiaries each month. She is also involved in delivering transformational training to enable people to enhance their impact in the teaching of life skills.

On top of this, she provides counselling at prisons, hospitals and schools.

Regarding her new role, she said: “Although it is extra work, it’s a way to further serve community members. The local communities all require infrastructure and education on all levels and I hope that they can benefit from the work that I will be doing.”

Green-Thompson, appointed by Droogfontein Solar Power, has spent 16 years in public service working in seven provinces across five different sectors. As economic development director at Globeleq, she is responsible for the development and implementation of economic development programmes associated with renewable energy project companies. She is passionate about any initiatives that embrace diversity, contribute to poverty alleviation and the development of people.

Mkhungo, appointed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, comes with extensive executive experience, responsible for the advisory, positioning, strategy planning and development of all economic development strategies for top-listed companies. “Developing entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises have a potential to change prospects of individuals, families, communities and society in general,” Mkhungo said.

The purpose of the Letsatsi Borutho Trust and the Sibona Ilanga Trust is to remedy past inequities, boost social development and unity as well as assist in the advancement of poor and disadvantaged communities within a 50 km radius of the respective solar plants.

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