News Column

Jeffreys Bay wind farm must benefit mostly blacks, says act

July 11, 2014

SIX percent of the R2.9 billion Jeffreys Bay wind farm is owned by the Amandla Omoya Trust, established in terms of the government's legal requirement for a minimum 2.5 percent local ownership of a new renewable energy facility.

The trust will benefit communities in the Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, Hankey and Patensie areas, but the loan to acquire the shareholding - from the Development Bank - must first be paid through dividends from the project, a process expected to take 7 to 8 years.

Wind farm general manager Mark Pickering says the trust exists as a legal entity but the details of the trust deed are only now being finalised, such as the aims and objects, and the nomination of trustees.

"We will appoint the trustees in the coming months. There will be an independent chair(person), representatives of the project company and the bank, and two community representatives appointed through a process of nomination." In terms of the rules there had to be a balance of gender and race, he said.

The trust will have to decide how to disburse funds earned from the wind farm, which are expected to be "substantial" once the loan has been repaid.

"The beneficiaries must be drawn from within a radius of 50km of the wind farm, largely in the Kouga municipality. In accordance with the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act, at least 85 percent of the beneficiaries must be black, and the object of the trust is to empower people to join the modern economy.

"So I expect the trust will focus on education and training, but that will really be up to the trustees."

Cape Argus

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Source: Cape Argus (South Africa)

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