In response to Wednesday 11 March shutdown of CIBE due to local community protest relating to employment opportunities within the precinct; the following is an overview of what has transpired over the last two days:
- The CIBE Management Association (CIBE MA) had no advanced warning nor was contacted by the organisers prior to protest action – the first contact was from the organisers, whose mandate has not yet been confirmed, was after the protest and was demanding a meeting.
- Upon CIBE precinct security observing the community mobilising at approximately 4am, the Verulam SAPS were notified. Verulam SAPS responded, observed, and as local precincts are not mandated to engage protest actions, they escalated the matter to the SAPS Public Order Protection Unit (POP). POP were appraised of the matter at approximately 5am. POP arrived on scene at approximately 8.30am and the protesters were dispersed by 10am.
- In response to this extremely concerning situation, which has had significant negative economic impact and reputational damage on CIBE members and business, the MA Board members and MA management team had an emergency meeting with Cox Yeats attorneys on Thursday 12th March – the firm has substantial experience and success with interdicts against business forums. Cox Yeats will be drafting a letter on behalf of CIBE MA to the Municipal Mayor’s Office, noting the importance of CIBE as a strategic economic node and that immediate intervention by the City is required to prevent the type of hugely damaging protest action from happening in CIBE again – noting that CIBEMA has in the past and continues to be open to constructive stakeholder engagement, and will not tolerate any further economic sabotage of this strategically important economic node. If there is further disruption to the precinct, the MA will take immediate legal action against responsible parties.
- On Thursday afternoon community members were handing out of letters addressed to CIBE business from the Ward Councillor on an official Municipal letterhead requiring business decision makers’ attendance at meeting on the morning of Monday 16th March at Ottawa Community Centre. In response the CIBE MA has responded in writing to the Councillor, noting the CIBE MA will not be attending the meeting, instead providing the agreeable terms for meeting as below:
Community / business form structures seeking a meeting with CIBE MA to provide:
- A mandate and constitution of who they represent
- List of who will be attending the meeting
- A detailed agenda
- Meeting date to provide for 10 working day notice period
- The meeting to be attended by a nominated representative of the Cornubia Steering Committee which comprises the Municipality, Provincial Government, Tongaat Hulett Developments and other stakeholders
- Meeting to be held at a Municipal venue
Please note that the CIBE MA’s objectives are, amongst others, to protect and advance the collective property owner interest, i.e. creating an enabling and desirable commercial precinct with a specific focus on public area safety and services. It is important to note that the CIBE MA is not a representative body of business within CIBE, it has no mandate to dictate private business employment, procurement or any other such policy – this is at the sole discretion of the business owner. For this reason business owners’ attendance at the meeting scheduled for 16 March is entirely at their own risk and the CIBE MA, and its representatives, shall not be held responsible for any claim or damage arising directly or indirectly from this meeting. Furthermore, CIBE MA and members will not be party to any agreement or actions emanating from the said meeting.
This serves to keep you informed on the matters at hand, and, further communiques will be sent out to keep you updated.