Tension at Consol discussion

2018-10-16 06:02
Wayne Isaacs and Ronald Snipper chaired the meeting on the day,PHOTOS: aishah cassiem

Wayne Isaacs and Ronald Snipper chaired the meeting on the day,PHOTOS: aishah cassiem

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The public library was packed with curious residents last Wednesday, as they tried to get more answers on the Manenberg Community Development Trust, an initiative under Consol Glass’s sand and mineral mine, located in the area.

There was lots of anger at the public gathering of 70 residents as they raised deeper questions, in response to Consol’s feedback last month (“Concern raised over Consol Trust”, People’s Post, 25 September­).

Ronald Snipper, who chaired the meeting with Wayne Isaacs, both residents of the community, said an invitation had been sent to the head of Consol and that of the trust representatives, but only one trustee showed up.

However, the community was still not happy with the responses coming from the trustee, who left the gathering before it concluded.

“We invited Consol’s head representative to the community meeting and he refused to attend. He also refused to give us relevant info on the trust, during a private meeting held with him last week,” explains Snipper.

“Consol only wanted to know how much the community knows and how serious we really are about this issue. But we warned that we are going to bring them to Manenberg, whether they like it or not.”

Mario “Gatto” Wanza, who served on the trust previously, was present to give his input.

“I was a trust member at an initial stage, but this was an interim arrangement until a community trust was officially set up. But Consol deceived us by confirming a permanent trust. When they said this in 2009, I immediately withdrew from the trust,” explains Gatto­.

“I gave my input by presenting the history of Proudly Manenberg and the relationship with Consol at the time. That relationship was compromised through a trust that was set up by Consol, and which the community of Manenberg did not have a say in.

“This is where the relationship with Consol broke down. A few individuals from the community have been working on the trust, and serving towards Consol’s interest and not the community.”

Gatto says the community came together with only one hope – to seek more answers.

Ward councillor Sonwabo Ngxumza, was also present to listen to the community.

“I am fully behind the residents on the issue and support their decision to seek more answers on the trust. I attended this meeting out of my own, as a normal resident of this ward, to get a deeper understanding of this situation,” he says.

“I believe that we should sit down as a community, and with the company who is being accused of ripping off the people of Manenberg, to seek relevant answers. They need to prove to us if they are innocent or not.

“The community must also take responsibility and have a proper structure in place that will challenge this issue. Consol must come out and explain themselves to the community if they have done anything wrong. Accountability and transparency is the key.”

Consol Glass previously told People’s Post that the composition of the board of trustees originally included Proudly Manenberg and other community organisations.

Proudly Manenberg decided to exit the trust sometime after its formation­.

The trust today consists of representatives of organisations that include Manenberg Development Coordinating Structure, the Manenberg Ministers Fellowship, The Manenberg Community Policing Forum and Consol, said Thami Mkhuzangw, spokesperson for Consol Glass.

He added, the current trustees will remain in his/her position until he/she resign, is recalled by the organisation that seconded him/her to the trust, or is declared no longer fit and proper to fulfil his/her duties.

Consol Glass had not commented futher at the time of going to print.

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