Scene 4: Talking About Expansion

Scene: Meeting with Jeffares & Green


Jeffares and Green is an engineering consulting company that provides services in both civil and structural fields. Their work deals largely in part with engineering and environmental services, specializing in waste management. Jeffares and Green plays a part in various aspects of waste management integration, one of which involves the application processes for field operations. For this reason, a meeting was set up by Jeffares and Green with Blue Sky to discuss business opportunities in the form of a tender. Blue Sky was represented by Gershwin to learn more about a prospective source of profitability.

Cast of Characters:

Jeffares and Green was represented by 2 members to discuss a business opportunity with Blue Sky. Gershwin attended the meeting on Blue Sky’s behalf, bringing with him Luvia, the programme coordinator at INYANDA youth programme. Laura is the line manager at CORC that coordinates Blue Sky Recycling and other programmes in close by informal settlements. Mzwanele is the chief negotiator for ISN, or Informal Settlement Network, another CORC initiative.


The meeting took place in CORC’s Cape Town office in Mowbray. The office was on the second floor of a building with a convenience store below it. The entrance to the building was bare except for the small CORC sign. Inside the building we walked past individual office spaces that opened up to a larger conference room where the meeting was held. Posters adorned the walls, presenting images of partnerships, projects, and milestones for CORC. After sitting down at the large conference table and introductions were formalized, our meeting commenced.


During the ride over, Gershwin gave a brief summary on the expected proceedings of the meeting. The meeting was being conducted to discuss how the CORC groups could submit proposals for the work they want from Jeffares and Green.  After the meeting, Brendan conducted a follow up discussion with Gershwin in order to clarify questions regarding people present at the meeting and the implications associated with the outcomes of what had taken place.


The following questions summarize thoughts that Gershwin mentioned during the briefing as points of interest for the meeting:

  • What are the company’s expectations?
  • What are the benefits for the CORC programmes?
  • How does Jeffares & Green intend to upgrade and promote self-help in the informal settlements?
  • How will the Informal Settlement Network participate in helping to get the community behind the upgrading?
  • How will Blue Sky Recycling be affected by whether or not Jeffares & Green gets the contract?

Action/ Observation:

The two consultants from Jeffares & Green led the formal discussion of the meeting with the CORC stakeholders in keen attention. The meeting began with the introductions of the two consultants and their company’s mission. Jeffares & Green currently holds the tender, to perform all waste pickup in Cape Town’s informal settlements and townships. The tender requirements included both infrastructural demands as well as social, such as community outreach and education programmes. Through further explanation, the consultants described that traditionally NGO’s and government contractors do not work together due to different approaches to development. The government is now starting to recognize the value of community led upgrading, impacting the way that the contractors work.

The conversation that followed involved Jeffares and Green proposing services that CORC programmes could establish. They first mentioned the implementation of surveys for the ISN. They had also entertained ideas for formal training of community leaders and the plans were met with tacit agreement on Mzwanele’s side.

The discussion progressed to discuss ways that INYANDA would be involved. For instance, there was an educational theatre and media branch that INYANDA could be involved with helping to develop or advise on the programmes. Quickly, the consultants laid out options for how the group would be integrated into the programmes. From the sound of the conversation it appeared that Jeffares & Green was open to any way that Luvia would work to improve their outreach. They offered for assistance through INYANDA performing in shows or even helping Jeffares & Green to improve its outreach through advising the productions.

The meeting concluded with the understanding of the application and payment methods. As a result of the discussion, the work done by CORC boiled down to 3 objectives: communication for implementing improvements, performances to convey the message of waste minimization and not littering, and recycling initiatives. These would be handled by ISN, INYANDA, and BSR respectively.

Throughout the meeting Laura and Gershwin acted to speak on behalf of CORC programmes taking on the duties of organizing the memorandum of understanding or M.o.U. between CORC and Jeffares & Green. In a brief meeting afterwards with Laura and Luvia, Gershwin nailed down the final logistics of the arrangements as all CORC programmes would be submitted together to Jeffares & Green as well as the schedule for this operation.

During the ride back to Blue Sky, Gershwin explained the roles of the ISN in Cape Town. ISN acts as a community voice, responsible for communicating with government contractors. Mzwanele is a powerful leader in CORC as the head of the Cape Town ISN. When I asked Gershwin about his work he pointed out the housing project under development in Joe Slovo as being his contributions. Mzwanele headed the negotiations between the local government and the people of Joe Slovo. This was a powerful moment as it demonstrated the breadth of CORC’s offerings, as well as its depth of the impact on the surrounding community.

Reflection and Learning:

The meeting emphasized the shift in upgrading policy away from local government and contractors, not including NGO’s and building facilities. The current policy is now moving towards including the voice of the people and all parties that share the interest of improving informal settlements. This seems to be a much more effective method for tackling these problems and it was refreshing to see the two groups so willing to work together. The government contractor is well funded and possessed the means to amplify the impact of the work done by NGO’s. Hopefully the government will continue to encourage such a promising partnership and the groups can work well together.