Giv­ing back to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties

Our com­mit­ment to de­vel­op­ing and em­pow­er­ing our host com­mu­ni­ties re­mains a pil­lar of our trans­for­ma­tion jour­ney

Financial Mail - - CORPORATE REPORT LONMIN - Cor­po­rate Re­port compiled by Al­lan Sec­combe

Than­deka Ncube over­sees one of the tough­est port­fo­lios at Lon­min, deal­ing with com­mu­ni­ties and the De­part­ment of Min­eral Re­sources (DMR).

With its re­cent his­tory, Lon­min has enor­mous le­gacy is­sues to over­come. The truth is, it prob­a­bly never will, mak­ing the Sibanyestill­wa­ter trans­ac­tion to take over the com­pany and give it fresh im­pe­tus pos­si­bly the best out­come for the as­sets.

Ncube, who is Lon­min’s ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of stake­holder en­gage­ment & reg­u­la­tory af­fairs, came to Lon­min in 2011 as an ap­pointee of Shan­duka Re­sources, the em­pow­er­ment com­pany headed by Cyril Ramaphosa, who wanted skills trans­fer and Shan­duka’s pres­ence in an in­vest­ment to be mean­ing­ful.

“Af­ter the Marikana tragedy in 2012, Lon­min went into or­gan­i­sa­tional post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der and we had to work through a lot of is­sues. Just as we thought we were com­ing through the other side, we had the five-month strike in 2015 and it set us back,” Ncube says.

Sit­ting on the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, Ncube — with com­bined com­mu­nity and DMR re­spon­si­bil­i­ties — saw a gap as the reg­u­la­tor took a much harder look at Lon­min’s so­cial and labour plans and the com­pany’s com­mit­ments.

An im­por­tant el­e­ment of deal­ing with the com­mu­nity was work­ing with the reg­u­la­tory bod­ies and within the law, leav­ing no room for interpretation or con­tes­ta­tion of who should be en­gaged on com­mu­nity is­sues, a com­mon prob­lem in th­ese types of re­la­tion­ships.

“We had to un­pack the com­mu­nity first and truly un­der­stand all of its el­e­ments. We took the firm view that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was in­te­gral in what­ever we were do­ing and that’s work­ing for us,” she says.

One of her chal­lenges was forg­ing a team con­strained by a tight bud­get and gaps in un­der­stand­ing of leg­is­la­tion.

“I had to fix the team. Team mem­bers were so de­mor­alised and the world was telling them they had not de­liv­ered on the prom­ises in the so­cial and labour plans,” she says.

One of the steps to re­store morale and spirit was re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing the di­lap­i­dated of­fices in Mooinooi to bet­ter re­flect the re­newed fo­cus on com­mu­nity in­ter­ac­tions.

Build­ing the re­la­tion­ship with the Bapo com­mu­nity has proved chal­leng­ing, but one of the tough­est lessons has been able to say “no” as op­posed to the ac­qui­es­cence in the past that wasn’t fol­lowed through with ac­tion.

An­other les­son was to hold com­mu­nity del­e­gates ac­count­able for their sides of agree­ments and to be­have in good faith dur­ing talks.

“We talk and talk and talk to com­mu­ni­ties. We have helped set up struc­tures on the ground in the com­mu­ni­ties, work­ing within the law be­cause it re­ally is the only pro­tec­tion we have,” she says.

“The way to win the trust and re­spect of com­mu­ni­ties and the DMR is to be open, hon­est and to scrupu­lously ad­here to agree­ments, de­liv­er­ing on prom­ises within the stip­u­lated time­frames.”

Than­deka Ncube: Lon­min’s so­cial and labour plans and com­mit­ments ben­e­fit its com­mu­ni­ties

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