The year 2019 set out to be a big year for Exxaro. The mining group’s constant drive for business excellence, greater efficiency and sustainability through innovation resulted in a fruitful report, according to their Interim Financial Results for the past six months, which ended on 30 June 2019.
As stated by Dr Nombasa Tsengwa, Executive Head of Coal Operations, in the Interim Report, Exxaro distributed R75 million, of which R30,5 million was allocated to majority female-owned businesses. This Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) investment has led to the creation of 178 permanent jobs to the country’s economy.
The resource company prides itself on powering possibilities for budding entrepreneurs, especially in sectors that promote sustainability and socio-economic development initiatives in the communities.
By supporting local suppliers, especially those that are run by women, Exxaro aims to break down societal barriers and usher in diversity-driven change.
Historically speaking, it wasn’t until a few decades ago that women’s roles in the mining industry were even considered appropriate by the greater government. Article 2 of the International Labour Organization’s Convention of 1935 prohibited the inclusion of women in underground mining, stating that “no female, whatever her age shall be employed on underground work in any mine.”
More than just a mining business, Exxaro will continue to invest in impactful businesses to help empower the women within the organization and beyond.
“Worldwide, history and research have proven that women’s economic empowerment increases their access to economic resources and opportunities including jobs, financial services, property and other productive assets, skills development and market information,” explains Dr Tsengwa.
“For South Africa, this outlook has translated itself in vast areas of development where women are taking the reins and actively contributing to their country’s development agenda. South Africa’s economic empowerment mechanisms for promoting the status of women, fully utilizing government resources and effectively mobilizing social resources provided for by Corporate SA, lays an important foundation in the promotion of gender equality and women’s development.”
Exxaro holds those committed to the same cause very close to its heart. It’s important now, more than ever, to empower females to inspire and develop their skills to become leaders in the mining sector. The primary objective of this approach is to improve the socio-economic outlook, not only at a local, community-level but across the country and continent.
Exxaro strives to dispel the gender-bias in the mining sector. With the latest figures from Statistics South Africa, showcasing the 51% female gender slant, it becomes almost negligent to ignore the potential of transformation in the economy. Not to mention, a recent report conducted by PWC, which revealed that approximately 21,05% of women sit on the boards of South Africa’s top 100 listed mining companies. While this is a step in the right direction, there is still a lot more South Africa can do for gender empowerment.