Development Bank at Medupi

LEPHALALE — Officials of the New Development Bank recently paid a visit to Medupi Power Station.

The visit continued to Lephalale Municipality the following day and included officials from Eskom and stakeholders. The purpose of the meeting was partly to get feedback from local NGOs, including the Lephalale Unemployment Forum (LUF) and the Waterberg Environmental Justice Forum (WEJF).

The two forums each focused on their areas of concern, with LUF raising concerns about local skills development not being a priority, unskilful jobs given to non-locals, demobilisation affecting locals and the recruitment of new non-locals.

The forum further requested more open, transparent and fair processes and that the power station should open to locals.

“There is too much political interference which tampers with recruitment process currently.

“We wish to see Medupi Power Station equip people with skills that can make them employable. This includes teaching locals the basics of writing a CV that can market them well,” said LUF Chairperson Matome Seanego.

LUF did acknowledge that Medupi management works well with them in terms of engagements and constant meetings with them.

WEJF, as an environmental group, focused on investment done by Medupi in teaching the community about environmental issues.

Represented by the Chairperson Andries Mocheko and Secretary Lucky Letlhaka, WEJF suggested establishment of a representative who will work with local movements to have a mother of forums that will assist in visiting communities within the area of operation.

The visit will, among other things, look at utilising entertainment groups for environmental awareness.

WEJF also stressed the need to assist current environmental groups with the skills and understanding of the technical language used in the subject.

They raised the importance of training forum leaders so that they are equipped with the jargon used and be able to transfer knowledge to the communities.

The meeting also addressed the matters of the Information Centre, which is there to address concerns and communities are encouraged to make more use of the structure.

Furthermore, the discussions looked at a possible need to have stakeholders meet and look at coming up with Corporate Social Investment collective with stakeholders, to ensure companies commit to a comprehensive plan, where they will identify institutions like schools or clinics that need attention and prioritise them.

Medupi representatives also mentioned that they focused on school infrastructure projects over the past 12 months, guided by the municipality’s IDP.

In the visit, the New Development Bank, as a potential financier represented by Vivian Ramathuba and Jianliang Xiao, took site visits to the proposed FGD sites, ash disposal area, wetlands, site boundaries including Matimba Power Station and surrounding major industries.

They also checked sensitive environmental receivers including the wetlands at the south boundary of MPS; discussions with MPS construction and operational officials in terms of roles and responsibilities, impacts and mitigations, monitoring and compliance as well as challenges and the way forward on issues relating to environment, health and safety, community engagement and labour among other things.

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