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
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.
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.
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.