Alexkor’s acting GM raises red flags

Note to Editors: Please find attached English soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP, as well as English and Afrikaans soundbites by Veronica van Dyk MP.

The DA will write to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to request further information regarding the appointment of Ms Leilani Swartbooi as the acting General Manager (GM) of Alexkor Richtersveld Mining Company Pooling and Sharing Joint Venture (PSJV).

Clarity is needed on whether the proper procedures for her appointment were followed.

Ms Swartbooi, who has previously served as the Environmental Manager at Alexkor RMC PSJV, is serving as the acting GM while the current GM, Deon Bowers, is away for an indefinite period of time and for reasons unknown.

Her appointment has raised eyebrows as it was reportedly under Ms Swartbooi’s watch that the controversial cofferdams, which caused extensive environmental damage along the Northern Cape coast, were built. The building of these dams are now being criminally investigated.

Ms Swartbooi’s alleged involvement with the cofferdams certainly does not engender the trust of the communities who were meant to benefit from their partnership with Alexkor to mine diamonds along the coast. Instead, they have found themselves at the short end of the stick. It seems like environmental regulations and welfare were flouted and communities exploited to enrich the few well-connected.

Minister Gordhan must, therefore, provide immediate feedback on the rationale behind Ms Swartbooi’s promotion to acting GM, when her track record is marred in controversy.