Mining human potential: going beyond the mine to improve lives

As South Africa celebrates a generation of freedom, Anglo American acknowledges its deep roots in the country and looks ahead to its contribution in the next 25 years and beyond. Over the next five weeks experience 25 Reasons to Believe with City Press as we explore the economy, job creation, enterprise development, health, land reform, sustainability, technology and – most important of all – communities.

Anglo American Zimele goes 'beyond the mine' to improve people's lives, writes Nicki Güles

Anglo American Zimele’s new head, Larisha Naidoo, who was appointed to the position in April last year, says she and her team would like to be part of the collective that will “address some of the national priorities that exist right now”.

These include the creation of small and medium-sized businesses and the employment of young people in a country where 55.2% were jobless in the first quarter of this year.

Over a four-year period, Anglo American Zimele will help develop 2 500 entrepreneurs through enterprise development, as well as aid 900 suppliers through its supplier development programme.

Anglo American Zimele’s 30th year of existence has been marked by a new approach. Over three decades, it provided small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) with funding, supporting 2 300 of them and more than 50 000 jobs.

But more needs to be done, says Naidoo: “We’ve been helping people stand on their own feet for over 30 years and will continue with this single-minded aim – but differently. Our initial goal was to enable black South Africans to participate in the economy, but current unemployment levels in our country mean that providing funding is simply not enough.

“Our shift in approach will see us focus on mentorship as much as enabling funding to build sustainable SMMEs that can grow their businesses and, in turn, create and sustain jobs. Our repositioning forms an integral part of Anglo American’s ambitious Sustainable Mining Plan. One of the pillars of the plan is to create thriving communities in the areas in which we operate. One way of creating a thriving community in the Zimele instance is to create five jobs off-site for every job on-site in our host communities. I am excited about the impact this new approach will deliver as it shows our commitment to help communities thrive.”

Over a four-year period, Anglo American Zimele will help develop 2 500 entrepreneurs through enterprise development, as well as aid 900 suppliers through its supplier development programme.

One of the pillars of the plan is to create thriving communities in the areas in which we operate. One way of creating a thriving community in the Zimele instance is to create five jobs off-site for every job on-site in our host communities.
Larisha Naidoo

Taken together, this will support a projected 10 000 jobs by the end of 2022. And, through an investment of R448 million, and a further R80 million annually in loans to SMMEs, the plans also include the training of 2 500 young people to be ready for the workplace.

The three key programmes that underpin Anglo American Zimele’s new strategy are:

  • Enterprise development through greater mentorship and by increasing the pace of economic development around Anglo American’s operations;
  • Supplier development by leveraging Anglo American’s existing inclusive procurement spend and by helping host community suppliers access new markets; and
  • Youth development through training for relevant skills that make economic opportunities more accessible for young people in host communities.
zimele graphic

To do this, Anglo American Zimele is looking at creative partnerships – with the company’s inclusive procurement teams as well as external collaborations that impact women and young people. One partnership afoot is to train young people for work in the hospitality industry. Yet another is with Absa, which will manage the loans Anglo American Zimele provides to entrepreneurs.

To step up its development capacity, Anglo American Zimele, with its lead partner TechnoServe, has rolled out eight of the 10 hubs it has planned in the host communities in which Anglo American operates. Sponsored by Anglo American’s four business units, the hubs will contain training space, mentorship and coaching areas, and computers and access to Wi-Fi, and will be staffed with business development teams. The hubs will focus on supporting SMMEs in areas including business acumen, strategic thinking, market orientation, leadership, project management and financial planning.

“Supplier development is about how we encourage and support our entrepreneurs with tools and partners that go beyond Anglo American’s business units. We look at them as potentially having the drive to go to bigger strategic buyers within the local environment, or even better strategic partners linked to the mining industry,” Naidoo says.

Anglo American Zimele’s three-month youth development programme involves “the participant understanding who they are – from their personalities to their skill sets – and setting personal goals”, and figuring out whether entrepreneurship is an option for them. Skills the young participants are taught include how to compile a proper CV, where to look for opportunities, and how to manage their money and run a budget.

“I’m amazed at the number of people who are so brilliant, and who need to be engaged and encouraged to achieve their goals,” Naidoo says.


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