Could Exxaro’s head of coal be­come its first fe­male CEO?

Nom­basa Tsen­gwa is one of very few fe­male ex­ec­u­tives in the min­ing in­dus­try and al­though she’s not aim­ing for the top job just yet, it’s im­por­tant to her to make a dif­fer­ence.

Finweek English Edition - - In Brief In The News -

By David McKay Nom­basa Tsen­gwa Ex­ec­u­tive head of coal op­er­a­tions at Exxaro Re­sources

Back in 2006, dur­ing the first few years af­ter agree­ment was reached on a Min­ing Char­ter, there was in­tense pres­sure to achieve head­line-grab­bing trans­for­ma­tion on tar­gets such as own­er­ship trans­fer. One won­ders to what ex­tent the equally im­por­tant as­pi­ra­tion of em­ploy­ment eq­uity – es­pe­cially in re­spect of women in min­ing – was given the right at­ten­tion.

But Tsen­gwa thinks the role played by women in min­ing has im­proved none­the­less. Roughly 13% of the SA min­ing work­force is fe­male, and 17% of to­tal em­ploy­ees in coal min­ing specif­i­cally con­sists of women – a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in the last ten years.

On ex­ec­u­tive and top man­age­ment alone, Exxaro jumped 33% from zero base be­tween 2012 and 2017. “The new Min­ing Char­ter tar­gets are very steep, but good in­roads have been achieved,” she says.

“We have fe­male ar­ti­sans, mine over­seers, shift bosses, pro­duc­tion su­per­in­ten­dents or man­agers. With­out this core pipe­line, fe­male mine man­agers and fu­ture ex­ec­u­tive heads of coal will never ma­te­ri­alise,” she says.

“All the core women I in­ter­act with at Exxaro be­lieve it’s through ex­pe­ri­ence, growth and re­sults that suc­cess is de­rived.”

Given that the last head of coal at Exxaro went on to be­come its CEO – Mx­olisi Mgojo – one won­ders whether it’s a mat­ter of time be­fore Exxaro gets its first fe­male CEO?

Tsen­gwa plays a straight bat, though: “I trained my­self in mind­ful­ness, fo­cus­ing more on the present mo­ment than dreams,” she says. “To me it’s not about the po­si­tion; my as­pi­ra­tion is al­ways to make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of our em­ploy­ees and com­mu­ni­ties where we op­er­ate, while adding value to stake­hold­ers’ in­vest­ments.” ■ ed­i­to­[email protected]­week.co.za

Exxaro Re­sources is one of South Africa’s largest coal pro­duc­ers.

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