Promoting Gender Equality Underground; Systematic Investigation into Mining 2016/17: CGE Reports & Department of Mineral Resources response

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

07 November 2017
Chairperson: Ms T Memela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Commission for Gender Equality spoke about its Systemic Investigation into Mining Report which looked at key challenges that prevent transformation in the mining sector of South Africa, since the companies in the mining sector are not complying with gender related legislation and women are excluded from decision making levels of management. The extractive industry remains male-dominated and women are mostly employed at lower levels of employment.

Key findings emphasise the need for increased representation of women and historically disadvantaged groups at various levels, especially at decision-making levels of management and for programmes to assist in tracking and mentoring previously disadvantaged groups into senior and decision-making levels. There is also a need for child care facilities, increased opportunity for women to be appointed to acting positions, and the formulation and awareness of gender related policies.

The CGE recommended that the mining sector develop mechanisms to attract more females and persons with disabilities to the industry and retention mechanisms to keep them. Recruitment policies should clearly indicate that persons with disabilities are targeted and female employees should be prioritised for acting positions.

The CGE reported on its investigation into two companies in the mining sector: Anglo-American and African Rainbow Minerals. A five-level Gender Representation Rating Scale was used to rate the entities and they were assessed in certain areas. Feedback on follow ups with the entities was also provided.

In discussion, Members suggested that the CGE meeting with the Portfolio Committee of Mineral Resources and engage with the Department of Mineral Resources. They asked about the CGE strategy to ensure that mining companies comply; whether the Rating Scale used was too lenient; bursaries are offered to female employees; and inadequate and uninhabitable housing at mines; HIV/AIDS in mining communities; socio-economic conditions; mining sex work; widows and cases of polygamy. It was suggested that mine owners need to be engaged with; the SA Human Rights Commission also take ownership of assisting disabled persons find work; the quality of education for disabled children in these areas should be addressed. The CGE reiterated that companies know about Employment Equity as numbers but not gender mainstreaming or gender equality but assured Members that the CGE’s legal department assists them with drafting policies and engages with them at mid- and senior level management, so there is collaboration.

Meeting report

Systemic Investigation into Mining: CGE Investigative Report 2016/2017
Ms Marissa van Niekerk, Head of the Commission for Gender Equality Legal Department, said that the purpose of a systemic investigation into the mining sector was to study transformation in the extractive industries of South Africa and determine key challenges that hamper transformation of the sector and determine compliance with gender related policies and their implementation.

The investigation stemmed from various challenges that women in the mining sector face, which include the nature of the industry as historically and presently male-dominated, the lack of opportunity for promotion to senior level management, the inflexible working environment of mining companies and the lack of mentors and support for female employees. Additionally, the Bench Marks Foundation and the CGE Research Department have found that mining companies do not comply with commitments in the Mining Charter and they have failed to develop measures to address the underrepresentation of women and persons with disabilities.

Forming the legal framework for the study was the Constitution, Commission for Gender Equality Act, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, International Labour Organisation Convention 111, Employment Equity Act, Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Labour Relations Act, Broad Based Economic Empowerment Act, Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, and Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act.

Objectives of the investigation included: work conditions and opportunities that promote gender equality within the sector; identify risks and vulnerabilities faced by women; non-compliance with legislation by employers and reasons for this; affirming the needs of women in the mining sector; identifying gender equality provisions;  collating reasonable expectations; the nature of amendments required and shortcomings of the sector; and provide recommendations for compliance with employment equity.

As part of the investigation, questionnaires were sent to two mining houses, both of whom responded. The first, Glencore Operations SA’s Coal Division, provided responses for three of the Mining Complex Operations (see report) and De Beers responded as a single institution. Their responses were then analysed to determine compliance with the Mining Charter’s transformation requirements and legal framework of South Africa and the CGE followed up.

Key findings at the two institutions emphasise the need for increased representation of women and historically disadvantaged groups at various levels, not only lower, non-decision-making levels of management; programmes to assist in tracking and mentoring previously disadvantaged groups into senior and decision-making levels (including restructuring activities); child care facilities; increased opportunity for women to be appointed to acting positions; the lack of sexual harassment reporting despite incidents and the formulation of policies by these companies.

To conclude, Ms van Niekerk went through the list of recommendations for the two companies:
• The companies should take more initiative where it concerns recruiting persons with disabilities, perhaps through headhunting, in accordance with the Employment Equity Act.
• The mining sector should develop mechanisms to attract more females and persons with disabilities to the industry and retention mechanisms to keep them.
• The CGE should be invited to conduct awareness workshops on gender equality and sexual harassment.
• Recruitment policies should clearly indicate that persons with disabilities are targeted.
• Female employees should be prioritised for acting positions.
•The companies need to increase representation of Indian and coloured women.
• A staff retention policy should be formulated.
• Mining houses should provide detailed plans, including short-term, medium-term and long-term goals, for addressing findings and implementing recommendations of the report by 31 March 2017.

Follow-up engagements were held on 30 June 2017 (De Beers) and 31 July 2017 (Glencore), where the CGE found that great progress was made towards implementing the CGE recommendations. These include reviewing Employment Equity Plans, which will succeed the implementation of the New Mining Charter, acting opportunities being awarded to women, an increase in the appointment of women, considerations to redraft disability policies and seeking positions that can be filled with persons with disabilities, reviewing sexual harassment policies and using the services of CGE to raise awareness in the workplace. The companies still face challenges and their commitments, which are time bound, are being monitored by the CGE.

In closing, Ms Lulama Nare, CGE Chairperson, noted that according to the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals 11 and 12, mining companies are not complying with gender related legislation and women and Africans are excluded from decision making structures.

Promoting Gender Equality Underground? Women, mining and gender mainstreaming in South African: CGE Report 2015/16
Dr Thabo Rapoo. CGE Director of Research, commenced by pointing out the purpose of the presentation: to provide an overview of the findings and recommendations of the CGE (Gender Barometer) assessment of the 2015/16 fiscal year. Two companies underwent assessments, which began in 2010: Anglo-American and African Rainbow Minerals (ARM).

Legislative, policy and other frameworks of the investigation were noted.

Challenges that the study sought to address was the limited entry and/or presence of women in the sector, practical limitations and safety concerns (such as verbal/sexual harassment and physical abuse), sexual favours in exchange for promotion, the lack of suitability of protective personal equipment and the lack of separate toilet facilities.

The CGE developed a five-level Gender Representation Rating Scale to rate the performance of entities regarding numerical representation of women at senior management level. Level 1 indicated failed gender representation, level 2 symbolic and token gender representation, level 3 progressive gender representation, level 4 critical mass gender representation and level 5 balanced gender representation. The three areas assessed were (1) the level of Gender Representation and Participation at the Internal Decision-making Level, (2) Mainstreaming Gender in Organisational Culture and Systems and (3) Measures to Create an Enabling Environment for Gender Mainstreaming. The report provides clear insight on how the six entities assessed performed in these three areas.

The report provides detail on how entities performed in specific areas, findings indicate the overall ratings:
ARM Corporate Division – Level 3
ARM Khumani Iron Ore Mine – Level 1
ARM 2 Rivers Platinum Mine – Level 1
ARM Nkomati Nickel Mine – Level 2
Anglo American Anglo Corporate Division – Level 4
Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore – Level 3
Anglo American Platinum Mine – Level 2
Anglo American Coal South Africa – Level 2

The CGE made the following recommendations:
• The mining companies engaged with should consult with gender transformation experts and specialists to advise company senior management on gender mainstreaming as a strategy to achieve gender equality in the workplace.
• Resources and time frames should be adequately used to achieve effective and sustainable gender mainstreaming in the companies.
• Company-wide consultative workshops involving employees at all levels should be pursued to raise awareness about gender mainstreaming.
• Internal consultative corporate processes led by senior management and facilitated by external gender policy experts should be established with the involvement of all internal stakeholders. The aim of this would be to draft a policy document on gender mainstreaming.

To conclude, Mr Rapoo provided feedback on follow-ups with the entities in the form of policy dialogues, the use of this report for public hearings on progress, invitations to the CGE to host consultative gender mainstreaming workshops, ARM’s subsequent establishment of a gender desk as per the National Gender Policy Framework and reviewal of policies.

Ms P Bhengu (ANC) asked if the CGE has been able to meet with the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources about the issues raised and discussed.

Ms M Chueu (ANC) asked what the CGE method for getting companies to comply is and added that the CGE should meet with women who have experienced sexual harassment or abuse, report these cases to the police and prevent women from getting jobs underground, as these are not suited to women. Women working underground is “vulgarizing equality”. What about using machinery and equipment? She enquired about the positions women occupy at these companies and in the sector. Are they involved in decision making? Which women are being included and excluded and at which levels of work are these women situated? She asked if current legislation is helping meet gender transformation targets. Perhaps deregistration would encourage companies to comply?

Ms T Stander (DA) highlighted the fact that most women work at lower levels of employment. Does the CGE have information available that considers the Director General, Deputy Director General and senior level management exclusively in all government departments? Does the CGE have access to salary equity payment grades and qualifications of women in those positions? Are there sexual harassment policies in place?

Ms G Tseke (ANC) called Ms Stander to order and pointed out that the discussion ought to be related to the mining sector, not government departments.

Ms Stander left the meeting and Ms Tseke suggested that the Chairperson follow up on Ms Stander’s behaviour with the DA whip.

The meeting was slightly disturbed when the woman initially meant to assist Ms Khawula tried to leave the meeting. There was a misunderstanding as to her role in the meeting and the need for an interpreter for Ms Khawula. The Chairperson said she was late and requested that a formal letter, addressing the issue of interpreters, be submitted to the parliamentary secretary by 8am the following day.

Ms Tseke continued to inquire about the successes achieved by the mining companies, adding that companies are misleading when they express unawareness of gender mainstreaming policies. She believes that the Department of Mineral Resources should be responsible for ensuring that these companies comply with legislation. She proposes that the CGE stick to the six companies they have investigated to maintain focus until transformation is achieved at those.

She commented that the CGE had not used the standard format of reporting in their presentations, especially in the first report. She also asked if the gender representation rating scale could be reviewed, as it appears too lenient. Lastly, what is the Department of Labour’s response and responsibility where it concerns the Employment Equity Act?

Ms M Khawula (EFF) spoke in the vernacular about a mine that had promised to provide water; about a group of women in Lamontville, women who were trying to enter the mining space. There are women, who meet the requirements, but excluded from jobs.

Ms Chueu referred to “study assistance and bursary programmes for female employees” on page fifteen of the first presentation, and asked which courses are offered to women and have these been successful? For which courses are bursaries awarded? She went on to highlight the need for childcare facilities in the communities where mining companies operate. She asked about the policy on injuries sustained at work, where injured and/or disabled employees go and is the current legal framework sufficient for implementing and achieving gender transformation?

Ms Bhengu asked about persons with disabilities on mines. Do the companies investigated have disabled persons on the staff? Does CGE have statistics on workers who were injured at work and unable to work underground as a result? Are women who use wheelchairs appointed for administrative positions?

Ms Khawula raised the inadequate and uninhabitable housing that companies have provided, citing the Rustenberg mine as a case. What about spouses of deceased workers being removed from the land?

The Chairperson said that CGE should go deeper in its investigation so that the owners of mines feel the pressure. Has CGE investigated HIV/AIDS in mining communities, especially the treatment of women who have been raped and have HIV/AIDS? She added that, when these companies employ women, they are promised bursaries, but this is not followed through.

Ms Nare replied that CGE prioritises protecting those who have participated in the studies. She agreed that founding members and owners of mines need to be engaged with, adding that efforts will be made to engage with members of boards, perhaps subpoenas are necessary. She expressed the gratitude of CGE for the Portfolio Committee’s efforts to engage ministers and asked it to carry on serving this function.

She assured the Committee that CGE has considered socio-economic issues, however, the priority remains working conditions, adding that CGE monitors debates of various parliamentary committees and has requested procurement for women from companies, such as Eskom. With regards to economic development, she recalled a special committee established at the time of the Marikana incident and a special report issued. Overall, there has been improvement, but the following remain on CGE’s agenda: socio-economic conditions, HIV/AIDS, mining sex work, widows from Marikana and cases of polygamy. She added that, with regards to persons with disabilities, she recalled that, in the retail companies that CGE studies, white retail companies employ disabled white employees, sometimes as high as thirteen percent, and they work with local schools. She added that black companies are not investing enough in disabled persons who are black.

Ms Keketso Maema, CGE CEO, responded that CGE does have tables that illustrate trends, but these have been omitted, perhaps these should have been included. Answering Ms Tseke, she referred to page 32 of the Systemic Investigation into Mining Report to illustrate that recruitment strategies indicate change though progress remains slow. Several companies engaged with are asking the Commission to return and facilitate workshops. She assured Members that CGE will work with companies who do not have policies and those who want to redraft their disability policies. She agreed that it would be better to keep with the six entities and consistently review their progress.

Dr Rapoo agreed that the mining sector’s progress towards transformation is shameful, as well as the fact that many are not familiar with their own policies, since lower level staff are ignorant of them and the National Gender Policy Framework. They know about Employment Equity as numbers but not gender mainstreaming or gender equality. CGE is focussed on raising awareness by facilitating workshops at these companies through its public education department. Although the rating scale appears to be lenient, it works in accordance with the policy targets of fifty-fifty representation. These companies admit that they are behind and, therefore, the enforcement of current legislation is vital.

Ms van Niekerk requested that Ms Khawula share the details of the cases she mentioned for further investigation. Adding to what Dr Rapoo said, she reminded the committee that CGE’s legal department assists with drafting of policies and engages with mid- and senior level management, therefore, the companies do collaborate with CGE.

Ms Tseke, commending the work of CGE, commented that the time and resources were spent on doing work of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and asked if CGE could engage with them.

Ms Chueu, referring to slides 17 and 18 of the second presentation on the exclusion of Indian and coloured women, asked which courses are offered to these women and how the company benefits. What is the graduate in training programme on page 21 of the Systemic Investigation into Mining Report?

Mr Wallace Mgoqi, CGE Commissioner, stated that power relations are the heart of these issues and that this power needs to be challenged. Perhaps coercive measures against employers need to be adopted and a litigation strategy is required? Perhaps this could be taken to the DMR, he added.

Ms Chueu inquired about the new Mining Charter.

Ms Maema, referring to page 20 of the Systemic Investigation into Mining Report, clarified that employees received mostly training on geology, finance, research and admin. In response to Ms Chueu, she referred to page 28 to highlight the data considered, which focussed on management, specialists and technical skills. Managerial positions that require technical skills were targeted in this investigation. Answering Ms Bhengu’s question, she recalled that the gender barometer does not have questions that allow for the identification of gender gaps, nor specific salary levels but CGE will adapt these.

Ms Nare concluded that the issue of people with disabilities is dealt with by CGE as it relates to women, but the Human Rights Commission should also take ownership of this. She discussed disabled schools and pointed out that the government needs to support children with disabilities, including ensuring that these schools are well-resourced. She added that CGE has not looked at the new Mining Charter, which Dr Rapoo said would increase the targets for gender transformation.

Returning to the education, Ms Bhengu pointed out the problem of accessibility at schools as well as transport, asking if CGE has been able to look at this.

Ms Chueu highlighted the importance of and need to equip South Africa’s human resources/capital, asking whether there are specialists on deep level mining.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.


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