Yarona™ Building Trust Through Stakeholder Engagement

Rustenburg Local Municipality (RLM) is mandated by the Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000 to engage all stakeholders that may be affected by the implementation of Yarona™ on a quarterly basis, hence the stakeholder engagement meetings with affected parties. Engaging communities and focus groups became a vital part of the stakeholder meetings in line with Batho Pele principles. Communities were therefore divided into clusters. There was a total of 7 (seven) clusters. The stakeholders comprise of all communities within Rustenburg and focus groups that include formal business, informal business, and people living with disabilities, traditional leaders, the mining industry, the media, special interest groups and interest groups.  The personnel of RLM are also important stakeholders (internal).

The objectives of the stakeholder engagement sessions are to:

  • Keep stakeholders abreast about the developments of the project since inception;
  • Increase public awareness, forge partnerships and promote public interest
  • Impart information regarding Yarona™ operations;
  • Build public confidence, ensure buy-in, support and ownership of the project;
  • Record issues of concern raised by the stakeholders;
  • Elicit ideas and gain perspective on exactly how the project affects them; and
  • Encourage them to elect an ambassador for the project

Media

A presentation about Yarona™, outlining its benefits, and envisaged partnerships between stakeholders and the Municipality was made to the media. Some of the media houses engaged include Platinum Weekly, Leseding News, Rustenburg Herald, Mafisa FM and The New Age. The media is an important stakeholder as it represents the voice of the community and also crucial in conveying Yarona™ messaging to a wider audience of RLM and its surrounding areas.

Informal Business

This group comprised of hawkers representatives from RLM. The Municipality presented the project to the representatives highlighting how this will benefit and directly affect hawkers’ daily operations. The Municipality then proposed that Hawkers must propose to the Municipality how they see themselves playing a crucial role in the project. They were advised to meet as a constituency and come up with proposals which would be brought before Council for deliberation and resolution.

Formal Business, Traditional Authority, and Mining Sector

The Municipality presented the project highlighting how business can forge meaningful relationships in the realisation of Yarona™. Some of the developments and challenges which arose during the implementation stages of the project were discussed. An example raised was that of a court bid to stop the Municipality from building a station along Thabo Mbeki drive. Many business people were concerned about the impact of the project on their operations. These concerns included benefit realisation; which businesses are likely to benefit or be negatively impacted in the process; the impact of some streets being closed; and the impact the transition period will have on jobs and revenue.

However, the general consensus was that for the interest of greater Rustenburg all parties should cooperate and support the project. The formal business sector, expressed full support for the project, saying it would play a pivotal role in Rustenburg’s drive for infrastructure-investment led economic growth.

Notably, Mr Victor Hiemstra, who owns a building in the CDB, said though he would somewhat be placed at a disadvantage by the changes brought about by the construction of the RRT, he fully supported the project. “As an individual property owner I stand to lose. However, looking at the benefits for greater Rustenburg, I fully support the project. This is good for the Rustenburg community”

Special needs Groups

Special needs groups consist of groups of people living with special needs and this includes but not limited to women, youth, people living with physical or other forms of impairment This group was engaged and guaranteed that their needs have been prioritised in the project. People with special needs, including those living with disabilities, were assured of universal access and total inclusion in economic opportunities.

Interest Groups

This category comprises numerous interest groups, including but not limited to security clusters, engineers, advertising agencies, lawyer and arts community in it. This group has been identified to be those that may have vested interest in forging business or investment relationships with the RRT.

Linda Hlatshwayo

Communications Unit Manager

Ms Linda Ntombikayise Hlatshwayo holds a BA Communications Degree from the North-West University. She is currently studying towards the completion of B.Soc Science honours degree in Peace studies and International Relations. Hlatshwayo, an accomplished authority in Advertising, Public Relations and Tourism joined the Rustenburg Local Municipality in 2015 as Unit Manager Communications responsible for providing and maintaining an efficient internal and external communications service to the RRT. Ms Hlatshwayo has experience in both the private and public sector and has a little over 12 years in the communications industry. Prior to her joining the RRT, she was the Marketing Coordinator for the National Home Builders Registration Council North West (NHBRC) and before that she was the Head of Communications at Mahikeng Local Municipality. In addition, she was part of the AFCON 2013 team that delivered the Rustenburg games as the Media Operations Manager where she was exposed to both local and international media. Moreover, she has held positions at Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) as the Public Relations Officer as well as SASSA (South African Social Security Agency as a Senior Communications Officer.

Having had a colorful work history, in her current role, she contributes towards ensuring seamless communication for the Municipality where it relates to the RRT project, so that a positive public image and reputation of the entity is maintained at all times.

Maintaining healthy relations within the organisation and all stakeholders is her daily occupation. She is also responsible for promoting the growing Yarona brand and also acts as the Yarona spokesperson. In addition, she facilitates media briefings, arranges media interviews and produces press statements in order to keep stakeholders abreast with the developments within the RRT.

Hlatshwayo has an excellent record in building crucial relations and an environment of trust and professional interaction with the local and national media to promote Yarona and handles inquiries. She is looking forward to positioning Yarona as a brand to be reckoned with especially heading towards the launching of the system in 2016!