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Glencore thrown out of mining community trust riches

Picture of a mining operation

After accusing Glencore’s CEO of hiding millions of Rands, a mineral-rich town in the North West was able to take control of a valuable piece of the company.

This is because the North West High Court ruled in favor of Bakwena-ba-Mogopa in its fight for control of the community trust. The Bakwena-ba-Mogopa own land in Bethanie, Jericho, and Hebron. They joined a joint venture with Glencore in which they own 26% of Rhovan Mine and share in its profits, IOL reports.

Corruption Watch’s 2018 report on mining royalties says that the R575 million B-BBEE agreement is about the vanadium facility on the community’s land, which is full of platinum, vanadium, and diamonds, which are all common extractives.

Bakwena-ba-Mogopa also made another money-making deal after Impala Platinum bought African Platinum for R4.2 billion in 2007. R1 billion of the money from the deal was used to pay for African Platinum’s commitment to the Leeuwkop Project, which made Bakwena-ba-Mogopa their B-BBEE partners.

The community’s 26% share in the Impala Platinum-African Platinum mine is held by the Bakwena Platinum Trust, which is part of Ba Mogopa Platinum Investment.

Under the terms of the deal, the community’s 26% share of the project would be put into the Ba Mogopa Platinum Trust. However, it was found that Kgosikgolo Tebogo Motheo Mamogale seemed to be the only one in charge of the trust.

In the Glencore deal, the community got rid of Mamogale as the founder and first trustee of the Bakwena-ba-Mogopa Community Trust because he didn’t choose other trustees within eight months, as the trust deed said he should.

Members of the community asked Mamogale to choose other trustees, but he didn’t do it, even though they wrote to him about it.

Even asking the Office of the Master of the High Court, North West to make Mamogale answer for what the trust did didn’t work.

Later, Mamogale was taken off as the only trustee because he didn’t tell the Master of the High Court what the trust did.

The traditional council chose Rebone Morebodi, Motsamai Mogotsi, Motlalepule Mathibedi, Machake Mosane, Daniel Makena, and Nicky Lethebe as the six trustees who would replace the sole trustee chief. They did this because they didn’t like how the sole trustee chief ignored the trust deed and didn’t answer the Master of the High Court’s letters.

In court, the community said that there are funds for its improvement in the trust’s bank account.

Glencore admitted that more than R28 million was paid into the trust’s account between 2011 and 2014. However, since June 2018, the trust’s share has been paid into the trust account of Werksmans Attorneys. This is because Mamogale was accused of mishandling trust property.

The six trustees said that the community has not benefited from the trust in the 12 years since it was set up. North West High Court Judge Tebogo Djaje agreed with them.

The judge said it was clear that the trust was not doing what it was made for. He also said that the Kgosi was no longer a trustee and that his removal was not being contested.

“The trust can’t just be left alone… “The first applicant’s (Glencore) action shows that people were worried about how the money owed to the community was being spent,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘Private planes delivered Glencore bribes to govt. officials’

Judge Djaje also found that Glencore was told by the Master of the High Court in 2019 that there were trustees, and that the company didn’t apply for a declaratory order that the group wasn’t the trustees of the Bakwena-ba-Mogopa Community Trust until November 2020, even though it had been in contact with the trustees on several occasions.

Glencore also tried to stop them from being trustees, but it was unable to do so.

On September 30, Judge Djaje told and told Glencore to help the six trustees do their jobs as trustees and give them documents about the following agreements: surface lease, pooling and sharing, loan, structure and umbrella, value-added tax, cession, and mortgage bond.

Lawrence Mashigo, the secretary of Bakwena-Ba-Mogopa traditional council, said that the community wanted Mamogale to leave all of its trusts.

“”The trusts should report to the traditional council, whose chair he is as Kgosi,” he said.

Mashigo added, “We want what’s best for the community, but he thinks that what belongs to the community belongs to him.”

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