North West mining royalties misused - report

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Copy of IOL  new rand money Reuters .

North West - Millions of funds belonging to the Rankotea community near Brits, North West, have been misused, according a report compiled by a commission of inquiry, the office of North West premier Thandi Modise said on Sunday.

The Hendler commission of inquiry into management of royalties and income derived from mining vanadium at Evraz Vametco mine in Rankotea found evidence that community funds had not been audited since 2002, Modise's spokesman Lesiba Moses Kgwele said in a statement.

Kgwele said the commission found that funds were allegedly used for projects which were not approved by the community.

The commission also found that no information was disclosed over the years regarding projects funded from the development fund by its executive committee.

“The current executive committee was elected for a five year term in 2005 but was still in office despite a court order declaring their existence to be unconstitutional,” the commission stated.

An accountant, Strydom Venter, was appointed to negotiate with the mining companies in the area regarding the shareholding of the co-owners in the company, Kgwele said.

Venter was also tasked with assisting the 117 families, who are co-owners, to establish family trusts in which all family members and descendants would become beneficiaries by the end of March.

The commission handed its report to Modise in November.

At the time Modise said she would study the report and its recommendations.

The commission was set up in 2008 to investigate the management of royalties and income derived from mining companies, and the alleged maladministration of the funds of the Rakotea community.

The commission was appointed by former North West premier Edna Molewa.

It adjourned in 2010 when the evidence leader resigned from the commission on the grounds that he had joined the government and could not proceed without impartiality being an issue.

The work of the commission was also interrupted when Judge Herbert Hendler had to go for a medical procedure overseas. - Sapa

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