Impala Rustenburg is a champion of gender diversity, both internally and in its local communities, with a firm belief that gender equality has the power to positively influence transformation in our society at large.
“As an employer of choice and one of the largest employers in the North West province, Impala Rustenburg views gender transformation not just as a legal and moral obligation, but rather as a necessary change that strengthens our business through the diversity of perspectives offered by an inclusive team. Our gender equality committee places an extraordinary focus on unlocking the value inherent in diversity, which enables us to be a catalyst for change inside and outside of our business and our industry, influencing society at large,” comments Mark Munroe, CE of Impala Rustenburg.
The organisation’s gender equality policies can be seen in practice within Impala Rustenburg’s operations, and beyond that, in its community initiatives, enterprise and supplier development programmes, bursaries, internships and youth development initiatives.
Externally, great emphasis is placed on ensuring a gender-diverse representation of companies that benefit from various procurement opportunities and from Impala’s Enterprise and Supplier Development Programme. At a youth development level, Impala’s many programmes are designed to ensure that young women are given priority and, in 2021, Impala introduced a new addition to its bursary programme – the special Future Woman in Mining Bursary which is awarded to the top achieving girl from local mine community schools. This year, 11 of the 18 bursaries were awarded to young women.
Internally, women occupy senior leadership positions throughout the organisation – including those traditionally occupied by males. Women are highly valued within Impala for their leadership qualities, skills and perspectives. As part of this journey, Impala has implemented a diversity and inclusion strategy, and policies and procedures that fundamentally drive these critical areas. Driven from the highest level, Impala has adopted a care and growth leadership philosophy, implemented mentoring and retention programmes and is fast tracking women growth and succession, as well as establishing forums to break barriers and lead change.
Impala’s women leaders are undoubtedly role models to young women entering the industry.
Sharing her advice to future women in mining, Head of Stakeholder Engagement, Tina Malau, says women should not be afraid to get out of their comfort zone and do things that are challenging and unusual for women. “Until we push ourselves, we don’t realise we have the potential to achieve something beyond what we think we’re capable of. Harnessing our resilience and tenacity and being open to taking risks enables women to realise that we are capable of occupying and succeeding in positions in traditionally male-dominated environments.”
Mine Manager Nonku Mabuza says, “Women need to know that a successful career is a real possibility in the mining industry. There are people in this industry who are willing to transfer skills, and every person you come across can teach you something. It’s also a very broad and diverse industry that offers many avenues where one can establish a chosen career and flourish.”
Given Lefyedi, Talent and Employment Equity Manager, concurs, saying, “It is possible for women to thrive and become successful leaders in mining. The narrative has changed, and we continue to create a conducive platform for the current and upcoming women in mining.”
Concentrator Manager, Skhumbuzo Nokwane, also believes that women can be barriers to their own success. “Women tend to underestimate themselves. It’s important for women to recognise their skills and abilities, and the contribution they can make towards the mining industry and society.”
Priscilla Nelwamondo, a Mine Manager at 16 Shaft, believes women need to start supporting one another more. “American clergyman James Keller once said, ‘A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle’. For me this means that when we face a challenge in the workplace we should stand together and assist one another – only then will we all shine brighter.”
Munroe concludes, “At Impala, we take our responsibility for influencing each other, individuals, communities and society at large very seriously. By embracing diversity and inclusion we become better – but beyond that, we create a better future for Rustenburg and for our country.”
IMPALA RUSTENBURG’S POWER WOMEN
In celebration of Women’s Month, Impala Rustenburg put the spotlight on five women in senior positions who have risen through the ranks to take their rightful place as leaders of an organisation that prioritises representation of women within the mining sector. These women are role models to the thousands of women employed at Impala and to the communities surrounding the operation.
Tina Malau, Head of Stakeholder Engagement
Tina Malau is a self-confessed social catalyst whose job satisfaction comes from seeing peoples’ lives change for the better through Impala Rustenburg’s existence. Among the highlights of her career, Tina lists negotiating with community members, tribal authorities and local municipalities on highly sensitive issues, and playing a pivotal role in establishing Impala Rustenburg’s stakeholder engagement department in 2008. Her values are enshrined in the belief that mining and communities coexist, and this is achieved through working together with key stakeholders and community members to ensure that the wellbeing of Rustenburg’s communities are prioritised.
Skhumbuzo Nokwane, Concentrator Manager
Skhumbuzo Nokwane is responsible for managing the UG2 plant and tailings section. Her journey with Impala began 17 years ago when she joined the company as a metallurgist and was promoted through various positions, including Senior Metallurgist, Metallurgical Engineer, Operations Manager and ultimately to her current position in 2016. She enjoys the challenges each day brings and pushing herself to find solutions.
Nonku Mabuza, Mine Manager at 16 Shaft
Nonku Mabuza’s responsibilities include the day-to-day running of the lower section of 16 Shaft. She joined Impala in 2005 as a Mining Engineer in Training after being awarded a bursary to study Mining Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand, and rose through the ranks to become the first female Mine Manager at Impala Rustenburg in 2019. Nonku enjoys the high-pressure environment of solving complex issues in one of Impala’s project shafts. She describes her mother, who was a teacher for 33 years, as her role model. “She raised my siblings and me to be diligent in everything we do and to be active participants in cultivating a culture of learning and transfer of skills and knowledge.”
Priscilla Nelwamondo, Mine Manager at 16 Shaft
Priscilla Nelwamondo joined Impala last year and she ascribes much of her success to the lessons instilled in her by her mother. “She is a strong, independent woman who has the natural wisdom to navigate through life’s challenge and successfully deal with difficulties as they arise. I am also inspired by trailblazers in other industries who show courage in their personal lives and in the workplace, who continue to confront, challenge and defy the odds, and who break the barriers that are meant to discourage.”
Given Lefyedi, Talent and EE Manager
Given Lefyedi is responsible for Impala Rustenburg’s Talent Department and is a proud and passionate driver of gender equality, employment equity and transformation. She began her career at Impala 22 years ago as a clerk, and she has progressed through the ranks of the HR department to her current position. She is inspired by a group of women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 to break the boundaries on behalf of all South African women. “We are now reaping the fruits of their selflessness. I aspire to be that woman one day.”