S A Women in Mining Association: briefing by Association and Department Mineral Resources

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Mineral Resources and Energy

22 November 2011
Chairperson: Mr F Gona (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The South African Women in Mining Association (SAWIMA) and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) briefed the Committee on the formation, functioning and current activities of SAWIMA. The DMR noted that SAWIMA was founded when transformation and de-racialisation of the economy were a priority, and was intended to support the vision that the number of women in the sector must be increased, as it was felt that such an association would help to mobilise women to develop an interest, and in time participate, in mining. SAWIMA had its own constitution, which set out that it should, amongst others, lobby for the acceptance by finance houses of prospecting and mining licences as collateral security, mobilise women into becoming active participants in the sector, establishing women miners’ needs, and provide training and technical support to women miners. It would also interact and network with other institutions in the mining sector. It was expected to facilitate marketing of mining products, both in South Africa and abroad. An investment wing (South African Women in Mining Investment Holdings) was established in 2003, to enable the association to function effectively and expedite participation of women in the economic growth of the sector.  This was done in order to expedite participation of women on economic growth of the sector. The DMR would facilitate capacity building for women who entered mining and it had facilitated a number of training initiatives. The Mining Qualification Authority also had partnered and provided funding for training and 16 women were sent to India to be trained in jewellery manufacturing and pottery. The DMR supported the establishment of other structures to help women, but wanted the structures to be self-sustaining, wanted to broaden entrepreneurship, and remained committed to women’s empowerment. During August each year, government departments were obliged to draw programmes that supported women. He said the Department gave awards to those who were championing women’s participation in mining. Members asked if DMR believed that SAWIMA had fulfilled its objectives, enquired about the whereabouts of the women trained in India, and asked about the relationship between the DMR and SAWIMA, and questions of accountability and support.

SAWIMA then briefed the Committee, noting that it charged R300 a year membership fees to its members, and there were currently about 2 500 members. Although there was supposed to be a committee that was in office for three years, the lack of resources meant that no elections of leadership had happened since 2004. New leadership was now in place, but there was ongoing litigation from a former dispute with a group of women who had attempted to use their financial muscle to take over SAWIMA, and the new leadership was now looking to mend some relationships and source new deals. The activities of SAWIMA had declined, along with its membership, in 2008, as a result of the recession but there were signs of recovery. At that stage, the leadership of SAWIMA had to serve on the investment arm, whilst still holding office in SAWIMA. SAWIMA noted that there was still a “glass ceiling” for women, and many mining companies ignored the scorecards, claiming lack of women in the sector. Anglo Gold was the only company that showed commitment, and had recently started a relationship with SAWIMA. SAWIMA’s project plan for the next three years involved an aggressive marketing strategy, deals sourcing, exploring ownership and actual mining operations, ensuring adherence to the Mining Charter, and drawing a succession plan. It claimed that the recent debates on nationalisation seemed to indicate that if government did not lead in transformation, the claims for nationalisation would gain increasing momentum. It would be necessary for government to ensure that mining houses complied with all targets for the Mining Charter compliance, beneficiation, and the legislation. Members asked if any other companies had shown an interest in working with SAWIMA. Members expressed concerns about the membership and leadership structures, asking whether there was true representivity, sought clarity on the dates of meetings, said that they were concerned about the DMR, a regulator, serving on the board, and noting that the SAWIMA had been severely criticised for promoting the interests of its executive members, and not members on the ground, and enquiring if the committee genuinely represented those on the ground. They asked if SAWIMA was still in touch with the women who were sent to India, and what had happened to them, asked about the funding of projects, and thought that there was too little coordination, and there was no clear picture of how women were actually benefiting from SAWIMA and the fees that they paid. Members wanted to know the exact relationship with DMR and whether SAWIMA was accountable to it, as also who audited the financial statements and managed the bank accounts. The shareholding and the question of special share offers were also interrogated, and it was noted that the Exxaro deal would unbundled only in 2016. Members also asked about the low membership in certain provinces, and asked how SAWIMA would work with other women’s groups.

The Committee noted a change of programme for the following week.

Meeting report

Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson noted a change to the following week’s Committee programme, saying that although the Committee had anticipated receiving a briefing from the Chamber of Mines and the South African Mining Development Association on 29 November, this coincided with the start of the Climate Change Conference in Durban, which many people, including most media, would be attending. The Committee would therefore merely deal with adoption of minutes on 29 November and would receive the briefings on 6 December.

Members indicated their agreement, but were concerned that it might be difficult to get a quorum. The Chairperson responded that he would consider lobbying individuals to attend.

South African Women In Mining Association (SAWIMA): Department of Mineral Resources briefing
Mr Joel Raphela, Deputy Director General: Mineral Regulation, Department of Mineral Resources, said the South African Women in Mining Association (SAWIMA) was founded to answer the prioritisation of transformation and de-racialisation of the economy. Calls were made to design programmes that would address the needs of women in the sector, as it was at that stage male-dominated. He said the support the Department provided to women was informed by the noticeable absence of women’s participation in mining and energy sectors. A vision to increase the number of women in the sector was developed, and in 1999 the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR or the Department) had facilitated the establishment of SAWIMA. This association was intended to help mobilise women to develop an interest, and eventually participate, in mining.

SAWIMA had drawn its own constitution and the objectives in that provided, amongst others, for mobilising women into becoming active participants in the sector, for establishing women miners’ needs, for lobbying for recognition in the sector, and for training and providing technical support to women. SAWIMA was also expected to lobby for the acceptance of prospecting and mining licenses as collateral security for loans by financial institutions.

A portion of SAWIMA’s work would be devoted to interacting and networking with institutions involved in mining in order to share experiences. SAWIMA was also expected to facilitate marketing of members’ mining products, at home and abroad.

The headquarters for SAWIMA were in Johannesburg, but membership was open to all women. Members could affiliate as individuals or companies and were expected to contribute an annual affiliation fee. The association was made up of national and provincial committees, and it sourced funds from the membership fees.

Mr Raphela said an investment wing, South African Women in Mining Investment Holdings (SAWIMIH) was established in 2003, to enable the Association to function effectively. This was done in order to expedite participation of women on economic growth of the sector. This structure enabled members of SAWIMA to participate in mining deals. He said the policy was that before anyone could be a shareholder she first had to be a member of SAWIMA. Shareholding was organised in such a way that the association held 20%, members held 60%, and the rest was owned by a strategic partner. SAWIMIH participated in a number of mining transactions such as the Incwala, the Lonmill and a few others.

Mr Raphela said it was important for the Department to facilitate capacity building for women who entered into the mining sector. It was acknowledged that a priority would be to equip those willing to participate with skills and an understanding of how transactions worked. The Department provided support by facilitating a number of training initiatives, through the Minerals and Energy Education Institute, located at the University of Witwatersrand.

The Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) had partnered with the Department, and contributed funds for the training of SAWIMA members in all provinces. The Department, working with Tata International, had also sent 16 women to India to be trained in jewellery manufacturing and pottery. During August each year, government departments were obliged to draw programmes that supported women. He said the Department gave awards to those who were championing women’s participation in mining.

Mr Raphela said whilst the DMR was still partnering with Department of Energy in respect of resources, it also established other structures similar to SAWIMA, such as  Women in Energy SA (WOESA) and Women in Nuclear SA (WINSA). These structures needed to be self-sustaining and the Department only became involved when there were challenges. The DMR approach had changed to focus on broadening entrepreneurship. He said there were other organisations for women who were actively involved in mining. The Department remained committed to women’s empowerment and this was evident also in the Mining Charter.

The Chairperson asked DMR if it believed that SAWIMA had fulfilled the objectives for which it was founded. He asked the Department to explain the relationship between DMR and SAWIMA, and to clarify questions of accountability and support.

Mr L Gololo (ANC) wanted to know the whereabouts now of the women who had attended the jewellery manufacturing and pottery training in India in 2004.

Mr Gololo asked for details of what SAWIMA membership involved, and wondered if there was an industry strategic partner that mentored them. He also asked for the exact amount paid as a joining fee to SAMIWA.

Ms F Bikani (ANC) asked if DMR was involved in any projects that were directed to enhancing participation of women in mining, and, if so, under what umbrella they fell. She noted that the DMR seemed to be focusing on just one group.

Mr Raphela said most of the questions spoke to issues that would be addressed by SAWIMA’s own presentation. He said he would go and prepare a report on the women’s projects in which DMR was involved. DMR would never be satisfied with progress made in the participation of women in the mining sector, and, despite the establishment of SAWIMA, progress was less than satisfactorily. There was a need still to improve upon what SAWIMA, as an intervention to facilitate women’s participation, had achieved. There was a need for SAWIMA and DMR to have a good relationship, as SAWIMA was a stakeholder. The DMR had managed to obtain for it some office space at the Chamber of Mines, as part of maintaining good relationships. DMR believed, however, that there was a need to do things differently, and said that SAWIMA should be developing working relationships with other stakeholders in mining also. There was a commitment to exchanging information, and it was necessary to review programmes that had not worked. The commitment of DMR would ensure that targets were set for women’s participation in mining, in line with the Mining Charter.

SAWIMA briefing
Ms Melody Kweba, Chairperson, SAWIMA, said the Association wanted to assist informal mining groups to obtain mineral rights and promote female empowerment in the industry. As a priority, the new leadership wanted to establish a communication protocol, and point the Committee to areas where intervention was required.

SAWIMA was represented in all nine provinces, and was led by an executive committee, which held office for three years. Since 2004, however, there had not been a leadership election as a result of a lack of resources. An annual membership fee of R300 was payable by SAWIMA members, and this was where the association sourced its funding. Most members of SAWIMA were shareholders in its investment arm SAWIMIH, and this ensured the broad based black empowerment.

Ms Kweba said governance structures were in place, and new office bearers had occupied positions on clear terms. Already the new leadership had secured deals for the Association. Apart from Incwala, SAWIMA held a 20% stake in the Exxaro deal, and SAWIMIH, as an investment arm, held 17%. SAWIMA members were also involved in the Basadi Bakopane and Eyabantu Consortiums that were within Exxaro. These deals were still in a lock-up period, and would unbundle in 2016. The members of the Association were invited to subscribe for the Sasol shares as well.

Ms Kweba noted that the activities of SAWIMA had dropped in 2008 because of the recession, and there was a considerable decline in membership. She said the situation was improving and the numbers had picked up. Women from non-mining provinces were buying shares from SAWIMIH, and that had led to an increase in membership. The new leadership had resolved to collaborate with both mining and non-mining provinces.

Ms Kweba said SAWIMA used to have offices at the Chamber of Mines, and was supported with web design by BHP Billiton. There was a memorandum of understanding with Anglo Gold to provide training for women in all provinces and assist them establish their own companies.

Ms Lucy Ngwabeni, National Secretary, SAWIMA, said there was a challenge with investors who wanted to exploit the situation of women ownership. She said one of the visions was to have a mine owned and operated by women. A few mining rights were to be signed in the North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. She said SAWIMA would love to see interventions to get referrals from investors.

She also noted that when SAWIMA’s activities dropped in 2008, directors who were not members of SAWIMA simply left the Association, which resulted in the unfortunate situation where the leadership of SAWIMA had to serve on the investment arm, whilst still holding office in the association. Litigation had been instituted, which was presently still before the courts, but SAWIMA would brief the DMR on the situation and would provide it with the relevant documents.

Ms Ngwabeni said many mining companies had reneged on pledges they made when the Mining Charter was reviewed. There was a “glass ceiling” for women, and mining companies ignored the issue of the scorecards as raised in the Mining Charter, giving the excuse that there were fewer women in the industry. In the North West, mining companies were not prepared to take women through their business development plans. She said women struggled even to procure services such as providing catering in the mines. Anglo Gold was the only company that showed real commitment, despite the fact that it had only recently started a relationship with SAWIMA. There were four deals that were marketed through Anglo Gold. Anglo Gold had stipulated that it would not award work to companies for so long as they did not bring SAWIMA on board. This was a positive step.

SAWIMA would be drawing up a strategic plan at the beginning of January 2012, and a programme had been drawn. Again, Anglo Gold had promised to provide a facilitator who would be moving around with the Association.

Ms Kweba said challenges regarding the issuing of share certificates had since been resolved and certificates were issued on 28 October 2011 by the new leadership. There were certain leadership issues that had led to instability, as outlined earlier, but these were sorted out with the members. She agreed that one of the challenges was to have the same people serving on both the Association and its investment arm.

SAWIMA’s project plan for the next three years involved an aggressive marketing strategy, deals sourcing, exploring ownership and actual mining operations, ensuring adherence to the Mining Charter, and drawing a succession plan. She said a sad reality was that little progress had been achieved in the past ten years. The scorecards for the big mining houses were not monitored, and there were no consequences for non-compliance. Something needed to be done, even if it was the introduction of special courts to monitor compliance with the legislation. Pronunciation by other structures was inevitable if government did not lead in transforming the sector.

Ms Kweba said government’s intervention was needed to ensure that mining houses delivered on targets, in line with the Mining Charter, the Beneficiation Strategy and the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (the Act). She said government needed to lead in transforming the sector and, where possible, consider imposing penalties on those who did not comply. SAWIMA would submit quarterly reports to the Committee, via DMR, and the Department needed to adhere to the agreement it had with the Association. She said SAWIMA needed to explore other opportunities in order to speed up transformation.

Mr J Marais (DA) wanted to know what companies, other than Anglo Gold, were willing or had shown interest in working with SAMIWA.

Ms Kweba replied Anglo Gold was the only one to work with SAWIMA to date, but a company known as Hemisphere had also shown an interest. She said Hemisphere attended the August conference and promised to fund programmes of the Association. One of the main sources of contention was that women would get prospecting rights, but when they could not obtain finance to take them further, they would end up losing those rights. She said that a Memorandum of Understanding with Hemisphere had been signed.

Mr M Sonto (ANC) sought clarity on how SAWIMA leadership was structured. He wanted to know how it was possible that the national leadership also served on provincial structures. He asked for an explanation about the references to the new leadership as both the National Executive Council and as the Board. The Committee needed clarity on SAWIMA’s operations. He said he found it strange that an elective conference would be held in August, and yet the first meeting of the leadership was held in November.

Ms Kweba said that the indication on the presentation that SAWIMA’s new leadership held its first meeting in November was an error. The first meeting of the association was in fact held soon after the conference, and it had met at least once a month since. The meeting in November was held to prepare for this presentation.

Ms Kelebone Mokuena, Deputy Chairperson, SAWIMA, said the reason leadership had doubled up on their roles was that the provincial chairpersons had to represent provinces on the national structure. The provincial chairperson worked with provincial executive members who were from local districts. She said having provincial chairpersons at the head office ensured the Association was representative, and reached women in distant areas.

Ms Mokuena added that this duplication of duties also was the result of SAWIMA not having sufficient funding. Most people who sat on the national structure used their own resources to carry out the responsibilities of the Association. Ideally, SAWIMA wanted to establish offices in the provinces but that had failed. The new leadership was still looking at this possibility, especially since the economic situation in the country seemed to be improving.

Mr Sonto interjected and voiced concerns with the structural arrangement of the leadership. He said it was still not clear and asked whether the leadership was elected by conference delegates. The Committee wanted to clarify how an individual leader was capacitated to genuinely represent the woman on the street, and also wanted to know if the SAWIMA programmes were viable.

Ms Mokuena replied that districts were given an opportunity to send delegates and decide on who should be elected to the provincial structure. At a national conference, the executive was chosen from the nine members (who were provincial chairpersons). According to the constitution of SAWIMA, those nine members would decide, among themselves, on who would be chosen to handle each portfolio. This would be announced to the conference. She said that the Association had not had any difficulties with this, because information easily filtered down to districts.

Mr Gololo referred to his earlier question as to the current whereabouts of the 16 women who attended jewellery manufacturing and pottery training courses. He also asked what other strategic partners SAWIMA had. On the issue of beneficiation, he asked what the future plans of the Association were.

Ms Ngwabeni said SAWIMA had lost track of the 16 women who had been trained in India. They could not source funding to establish themselves. She said the main challenge was that the official responsible for this programme had in the meantime left the employ of DMR.

SAWIMA tried to get involved in beneficiation, during the time when the DMR was still incorporated into the former Department of Minerals and Energy. SAWIMA formed part of a study group that dealt with beneficiation, and the challenge back then was reaching women down in the provinces, as beneficiation was a national competency, and SAWIMA did not want to try to take short-cuts. A joint project had been started in KwaZulu Natal (KZN), and the current leadership was devising ways of getting that back on track. She said a full report on the progress of this project would be compiled after the pending visit to that province.

Ms Ngwabeni said there were not many strategic partners, but the Chamber of Mines assisted SAWIMA. She noted that she did not have the details of the offers of assistance. Xstrata pledged around R2 million when SAWIMA was launched, but she did not know where that money went. The new leadership would follow up on this, because SAWIMA had to start funding projects. The MQA always had a budget for women, and used to set funds aside for training purposes in the provinces. SAWIMA would be trying now to revive the relationships.

Ms Bikani said it appeared there was no coordination at SAWIMA, as the information was scattered, with no focus point. The Committee was not getting the true picture of how women benefited from SAWIMA. There appeared to be disjuncture between the constitution of SAWIMA and the present realities. She asked how far the present leadership had gone in meeting the objectives as set out in the SAWIMA constitution. She felt the structure and portfolios were confusing and the leadership needed to differentiate the roles of shareholding and national office bearers.

Ms Bikani asked what Members would receive from their R300 fee that was paid annually.

Ms Bikani thought that the claim that SAWIMA would submit reports via DMR was an attempt to please the Committee, and wanted to know to which authority SAWIMA actually accounted. She asked for clarity on how finances were managed, and audited. She also wanted the leadership to clarify the issue of the Chief Financial Officer, and asked if there were funds in the Association’s bank account.

Ms Bikani also noted that there had been complaints about SAWIMA with accusations that the leadership was merely promoting its own interests. She asked how it was ensured that women were incorporated, and that benefits were seen. The Committee would like to see small mining companies owned by women listed in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and she wanted to know how SAWIMA could ensure that this happened. She was worried, in the light of the complaints, that SAWIMA was not a truly representative body. She also noted that half of the new leadership was not present at the meeting, and she wondered if that was indicative of a problem.

Ms Kweba said SAWIMA had a bank account, in credit to about R177 000, and this amount was solely derived from the membership fees. She said AMG auditors took care of SAWIMA’s financial statements. SAWIMA would request another appointment to present its audited financial statements to the Committee.

Ms Kweba said it was very hurtful to hear people outside of SAWIMA accuse leadership of attempting to promote its own interests. SAWIMA was not in a position to have an Annual General Meeting in August, but the leadership sponsored the conference. She said provincial offices as well were accommodated at personal cost and resources. She also noted that within two months of SAWIMA having joined Basadi Bakopane Investment in Exxarro, a dividend had been declared, and that money would be used to operate provincial offices, through a monthly stipend of R50 000.

Ms Ngwabeni assured the Committee that SAWIMA offered women a lot of benefits. Through an arrangement with the Association, there were training companies in four different provinces, accredited by MQA. Members received mining rights in areas like Taung, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, and Western Cape, and there were various committee structures. Whilst SAWIMA did not claim to be perfect, it had made substantial strides. Members were exposed to international opportunities through attending conferences. SAWIMA had also managed to stop illegal mining operations in areas designated for its members in the province of the Western Cape.

Ms Ngwabeni added that SAWIMA wanted to have a reliable source of funding for when its members got rights. She said there were no finance institutions that wanted to fund and although SAWIMA had tried to establish its own fund it had not yet been able to do so, but had the commitment. SAWIMA was visible in provinces as its members sat on boards and companies. Most of those critical of SAWIMA were not even members. The Association could not satisfy everybody.

Mr Sonto asked for clarity on how SAWIMA understood its relationship with DMR, noting that two members of SAWIMA structures must be from DMR. He was not sure that this was correct, because DMR was a regulator, and there could be conflict, and there was danger of creating an environment conducive to bias. He thought that the membership of SAWIMA, if the figures of 2 500 were correct, were sufficient to allow SAWIMA to be self-sustaining, without having to rely on DMR.

Ms Ngwabeni said when SAWIMA started it had a well-represented board but due to financial constraints some mining companies had left. DMR was represented by an official who headed the gender desk at the Department. The idea of SAWIMA was conceived by DMR, and SAWIMA was still prepared to account to the Department.

The Chairperson sought clarity on the shareholding. He wanted to know if people paid for a percentage when they joined, or if there was nominal shareholding. He also asked for an explanation on the incentive schemes that were offered, being 5% shareholding capacity at SAWIMIH. He asked if there were investments that were undertaken in line with the deals that SAWIMA had obtained, and at what value. He sought clarity on the number of shareholders and members.

Ms Kweba replied that the value of the investments was R583 million and the Exxaro deal would unbundle in 2016. She said unbundling would not happen at once, but members were sure to benefit.

The Chairperson also asked for further details on a statement that there was pending litigation and legal processes. The Committee understood this might be sub judice, but he asked if SAWIMA could at least indicate who the parties to the litigation were.

Ms Kweba replied that the litigation resulted from a group of elite women wishing to reduce the percentage of SAWIMA members’ shareholding in SAWIMIH, from 20% to 2.5%. She said there was a rush into joining SAWIMA around the time when the SASOL shares were offered. People joined for R300 only, and got discounted share prices. More wealthy individuals had large sums of money and had tried to “elbow out” the SAWIMA members who could not afford to put so much in, and this led to some money having to be returned. Some of the litigants had not paid their membership fees since 2008. However, they still tried to sow division in SAWIMA, and they sought to control SAWIMA because of the large sums they had invested. The DMR presentation had vindicated the new leadership.

Mr Marais remarked that, in order to try to regulate this kind of issue, where people took out membership to benefit from discounted share prices, SAWIMA should perhaps take a firm decision that specified that a member should be a member for a certain minimum period before being able to access benefits.

Mr Gololo said low membership in provinces like the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape and Mpumalanga was worrying, particularly in Mpumalanga as there was much mining activity in the province. He asked to what these low numbers could be attributed.

Mr Sonto asked if SAWIMA had accommodated and worked with other women groups in mining.

Ms Kweba replied that there was a decline after Sasol share offers were closed, and this happened at about the same time as the recession. The numbers had since improved and SAWIMA was doing all it could by way of road shows and personal visits to provinces. There was an increase in affiliation figures, and the R177 000 bore testimony to the numbers. She also confirmed that SAWIMA would be happy to work with all women’s groups in mining. In 2009, when money was returned, people thought they were being rejected, and that had led to discontent, and resulted in splinter groupings. SAWIMA would still be happy to engage with those women again, as some might still be members.

The Chairperson noted that a serious statement had been made in the presentation, to the effect that “pronouncement by other structures on the future of mining was inevitable if government did not lead the transformation agenda”. He asked if there was an agreement with DMR, and if so, what the terms of this were.

Ms Mokuena said the statement was a reference to the nationalisation debate being covered in the media. She said SAWIMA had more of a relationship than an agreement with the Department, and it was that SAWIMA should be leading women in their understanding of what was generally happening in the mining industry. This relationship could sometimes be easily confused for an agreement.

The Chairperson said SAWIMA had provided the Committee with hope, especially given the number of complaints it received from individuals who wanted attention. The presentation cleared the lingering accusation that leadership pocketed gains from deals. He said the Committee was happy that SAWIMA was able to increase its membership, and wanted it to accelerate its programmes. The Committee was pleased to hear that SAWIMA had corrected its governance structures. The Committee was prepared to assist.

Other business
The Committee had earlier complained about the catering and IT services, and the Committee’s Unit Manager was called in and asked to rectify the situation, and he promised to write formal letters of complaint. The Committee was not prepared to pay for shoddy service.

The meeting was adjourned.


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