The day Rhino and their entourage rushed into Clarens.
A meeting hosted by SLR Consulting on behalf of its client Rhino Oil & Gas Exploration SA/ Rhino Resources Ltd., held in Clarens on Thursday 6 December was attended by a vocal Clarens community. Bev Tucker compiled this post.
Rhino Resources Ltd., represented by Chief Operating Officer and Vice President, Phillip Steyn, and their agents SLR Consulting represented by Matthew Hemming, delivered their respective stock-standard minimum information presentations.
In a dipstick informal survey done on the day, none of the people interviewed had received notification of the meeting, seen advertising in the media or been informed by other accepted means such as community notices. Those present at the mid-afternoon, midweek event had discovered the meeting due largely to social media networking after the efforts of FrackFreeSA. Hemming several times reiterated that his client was under no obligation to hold the meeting, and invited anyone who was dissatisfied with the notification process or scheduling of the meeting to leave the room.
When the floor was opened, numerous pertinent and well-informed questions were raised on matters ranging from the application process of the proposed exploration to the impact of potential extraction of mineral assets, resultant environmental impacts, public participation and more. However, armed with Rhino’s secretive strategic blueprint, Steyn refused point-blank to respond to questions outside of the company’s ruthlessly patrolled information barricade.
On questioning, Steyn admitted that Rhino uses a public relations reputation management advisor but bluntly refused to identify them. He went on to mow down innocuous and legitimate questions about Rhino’s parent company, affiliates, shareholders or directors. Attendees came away knowing only what Rhino and SLR Consulting wished them to know. The takeaway message from Rhino would appear to be that the alleged information sharing public meeting was essentially cynical tokenism.
Steyn’s trademark dead-eyed game face was in place throughout the meeting. He turned his back on a request for an interview saying “no interviews” and walked out. Wasting none of his important time engaging with the community, he was instead bundled from the building immediately after proceedings under the impressively muscular wing of the most menacing of his three hulking professional bodyguards. Secured behind blacked-out windows, safe from the handful of gogos and young mums chatting in the parking area, the Rhino convoy tore out of Clarens at high speed amid sprays of gravel.