Partnership Meeting 13 November

Author: Caryn


After the WPI team met with David on Monday, we learned that funding for the MPC from the municipality would not be a possibility. This drastically changed the agenda for the partnership meeting to be held the following Tuesday. It was critical that David be there to explain to the working team members the situation and realities of the MPC. The WPI team also was eager to determine their role in the project and how to move forward. This meeting included all of the major players in the Langrug partnership and gave way to some important decisions.

Cast of Characters

WPI team, Langrug working group, Harold, Hendri, David Carolissen, Scott, Olwethu Jack, Trevor, Adi


The Wendy House


When we arrived in Langrug on Tuesday we learned that David and Joey would not be in attendance. This frustrated the WPI immensely because it would once again slow down progress on the MPC and our ability to move forward. Luckily, David was able to come to the meeting. The meeting, although productive, jumped back and forth between topics, and commonly went back to the issue of MPC funding.

The meeting was held in the Wendy house. It was really crowded but the atmosphere at the beginning of the meeting was exciting because David and Adi were finally in Langrug. Scott facilitated this meeting although David commanded the conversation often. It was critical to have a good facilitator to keep the meeting on track. Scott started the meeting by asking the partners what they thought WPI’s role in Langrug should be for the next month. The main thing we hoped to get out of the meeting was an understanding of what do we, as partners, want to try to accomplish in the next month while WPI is here. In other words: what are we going to do together? This question was not directly answered by any of the partners, but throughout the course of the meeting, we were able to better figure out where we could and could not help.

Scott explained that WPI has a substantial amount of money to invest, but will not use it unless the local partners want it and are willing to commit to working together. We discussed the community’s contribution to the project. It was really important that this discussion was honest and upfront, or else it would not be productive. In terms of community contribution, Scott asked Trevor what he meant when he said the community could contribute during the construction process. Trevor was unable to give a clear answer, but it seems as if the community is not willing to provide free labour for the construction process.

In the meeting we all tried to gained understanding of Sunday’s (11 November) community meeting. Amanda talked about the threats the working group has been receiving from the community. She reported that if the community doesn’t see anything on the ground soon, they would burn the Wendy house. It seemed as if David did not believe in the legitimacy of the threats and Adi commented that this was the “oldest trick in the book” to get progress made.

The most important discussion we had during the meeting was the discussion around the fundamentals of the partnerships, which David seemed especially concerned with.  David believes that the relationship should be based on mutual respect and that the community shouldn’t have to threaten to get what we need. He emphasized that unless we can iron out issues of threats and mistrust, the Langrug program will be shut down. He also explained to everyone that he is responsible for justifying his financial decsions to a financial board, and that it is difficult to justify an MPC in Langrug when the department already spends millions of Rands on the community. It was difficult to grasp how the working group felt about this and how much they understood.

In terms of the MPC, David explained that he was “thrown” by the fact that the MPC is now the only priority of the working group. This prompted a discussion of the need for the MPC. Trevor explained that he believes the MPC would remobilize the community, saying that at the end of the day “we are sitting here doing nothing, that’s the problem, if something was built trust would be built up for the Municipality again”.

Funding for the MPC was a major obstacle in the discussion. David reiterated that the Municipality would not be able to come up with funds for the project’s implementation, but would contribute to long-term management an maintenance. Scott explained that WPI can contribute significantly only if all of the partners contribute. Scott explained that he was sorry that we all misunderstood the priority that was placed on the MPC. He also explained that WPI is no longer in a position to push the process forward, and that progress must be made by all of the partners equally.

The meeting gave way to some final decisions with the MPC funding. Municipality would pay for maintenance of the facility, but no upfront costs. CORC can contribute using their CUFF funds, but that requires that the community also contribute to the process. CORC will assist working group members with a community savings scheme that provide these funds. The community would pay for 10% of cost, which amounts to about R8 per shack.


Overall during the meeting the working team looked glum and concerned, Jack and Kholeka especially. They did not contribute much to the discussion, which was dominated mostly by David, Scott and Trevor. Their input would have been beneficial. Maybe the intense atmosphere was overwhelming to them.

David’s apparent limited awareness of the working team’s priority with the MPC suggests a communication gap between the partners. We, too, thought David during our prep term saw the MPC as a priority, and that in general the Municipality was prepared to move forward with the MPC, presuming key issues could be resolved.

It seems like the discussions held during this partnership meeting were critical, but may have happen too late. Having important people like David and Adi there in Langrug from the beginning would have immensely propelled progress on the project. In all, this meeting showed us that we couldn’t procrastinate on important discussions regarding costing and construction. Discussions need to be direct and upfront if we want them to be productive. Meetings like these show the challenges with multi stakeholder involvement that we had researched so much during our prep term. It is interesting to see how they play out in real life though.