Let them eat pap
𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗮𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗻 𝟮𝟯 𝗝𝘂𝗹𝘆 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟯.
It’s a story that spans continents – from Europe to the USA, and to Kuruman in the Northern Cape. In 2004, Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg arrived in South Africa looking for manganese mining opportunities and a BEE partner to win the mining rights. Several politically connected entities jostled for the privilege, but one consortium stood out. It included the ANC's investment holding company, Chancellor House and the little-known Kuruman Community Trust. The consortium won the mining rights and Vekselberg invested $350 million to build the mine. Today, the mine is the third-largest manganese producer in the world and the shareholders should all be reaping the benefits. But that hasn’t been the case for the poor local villagers who are beneficiaries of the Kuruman Community Trust. While the politically connected earn millions from the mine, they’ve been reduced to little more than R1000 a year and an annual Christmas hamper. Believing they were simply used to acquire the mining rights, they survive on pensions and government grants in villages with no running water, no inside toilets, and no jobs. In this two-part investigation, Carte Blanche examines how the poor and disenfranchised were used to line the pockets of the rich.
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