Johannesburg – Mining giant Glencore has terminated the mediation led by retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke into a dispute between warring Bakwena-ba-Mogopa community factions over its multi-million rand stake in a North West mine.
Glencore informed the community on November 16 that the mediation process was terminated two days earlier, after the nine sessions funded by the company which started in May last year, were not successful.
According to Glencore, the company, Kgosi Tebogo Motheo Mamogale, the royal family and Bakwena-ba-Mogopa Community Trust had, in the Justice Moseneke-facilitated mediation process, to find solutions that would lead to a functional and legal trust being in place.
The community’s interest in Glencore’s Rhovan iron and vanadium mine is held through the trust but the appointment of a board of trustees remains in dispute at the North West High Court. In September, North West High Court Judge Tebogo Djaje recognised the six trustees nominated by the traditional council.
However, Glencore has expressed its unhappiness with Judge Djaje’s ruling and has applied for leave to appeal her judgment.
"The legal proceedings commenced by Glencore in order to obtain a court order confirming that certain individuals who purport to be acting as trustees of the trust have not been validly or lawfully appointed as trustees to the trust have still unfortunately not been resolved,” said Adriaan Brugman, the company’s Rhovan chief operating officer.
Brugman added: “The primary reason for Glencore’s decision to appeal the judgment is that the effect of the judgment removes the need for a widely represented board of trustees including the requirement for independent trustees, and appoints certain individuals as trustees who do not legally qualify to hold a position of trust”.
He said Glencore believes that to protect the community’s funds, it cannot simply abide by Judge Djaje’s order. The community owns 26% of the Rhovan Mine and the broad-based black economic empowerment (BB-BEE) deal was reported to be worth R575 million when it was signed in 2007.
Glencore has also indicated that the trust’s share of the distribution from the Rhovan Operations cannot be paid over to the trust, until the present issues are resolved. The company added that the trust’s share since the start of the BB-BEE transaction has been used to fully repay the loan Glencore was owed by the trust.
Brugman assured the community that the balance has either been paid in the early years of the transaction to the trust’s bank account but was rerouted to a law firm’s trust account after allegations of misappropriation were made, and invested in a financial institution.
”All of the monies currently being held in trust will be paid to the trust once a legally constituted board of trustees is in place,” he promised.
Last month, The Sunday Independent reported that Glencore admitted in court that between 2011 and 2014 over R28m was paid into the community trust’s account, but from June 2018 the trust’s share had been redirected into Werksmans Attorneys’ trust account following allegations that there had been improper dealings with the trust property.