- Inclusivity and sustainability are at the top of government agenda – Kgafela
- Minister point to Economic Inclusion Act as illustration of govt commitment to inclusivity and diversity
- Singles out Debswana for its P20bn CEEP inititive that aims to create 20 000 jobs by next year
Women in leadership roles have been urged to drive sustainability and inclusivity in the organisations they lead.
This was said by the Chairperson of Anglo American’s South African Management Board, Nolitha Fakude, who gave a guest adress at the Women in Leadership Sustainability Breakfast Seminar, held at the Phakalane Gold Estate this past week.
At the event, which was themed Journey in Sustainability, Economic Inclusion and Diversity, she shared her sustainability journey, the highlight of which was the launch of her Memoirs Boardroom Dancing, as well as transformation stories from a Corporate Activist. She shared her journey from her childhood to her management experience gained in various functional leadership roles across the oil and energy, chemicals, financial services and retail industries.
Fakude earned her reputation as a corporate activist through her work focusing on the development of women and marginalised communities in the workplace and society. According to her, there are moral and regulatory imperatives to advancing women in mining. She is currently the President of the Minerals Council South Africa and Chair of the Management Board at Anglo American. She called for a systemic change from both the private and public sector to enable the meaningful participation of women in the economy.
“Women should not just be tokens to fulfill compliance standards. Those who have managed to penetrate should use and leverage their positions to drive the inclusion agenda,” Fakude advised adding that in a corporate setup, it should not matter how one got there. “Your seat at the table has already been paid for and that is the confidence that the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and the Employment Equity (EE) gave me. The confidence to know that no one is doing me a favor,” she emphasized.
While affirmative action can create a stigma that women leaders are given leadership positions because of their gender, Fakude advised that they should take this opportunity to represent and be a voice for those not at the table because if it were not for those pieces of legislation they would not even have a foot inside the door. For his part, the Minister of Trade, Mmusi Kgafela said inclusivity and sustainability have always been at the core of government programming. He was giving a key note adress at the event.
Minister Kgafela noted that the occasion had come at an opportune time because it aligns with Botswana’s commitment to unlocking supply chains to achieving sustainability and inclusivity in the economy. He emphasised that the government has devised several initiatives and policies to prove that it is taking a lead in promoting inclusivity and economic sustainability.
“The government has introduced several initiatives aimed at promoting socio-economic inclusivity and to empower the vulnerable who are oftentimes left behind in the economic value chain,” he stated. Chief among the initiatives, he said, is the Economic Inclusion Act that came into operation on 20 April to provide for implementation of existing economic empowerment laws and initiatives and effective participation of the targeted citizens in economic development and growth.
“The Act applies to all sectors of the economy and requires both the private and public sectors to participate actively in the economic transformation that it seeks to achieve,” the minister said. He took the opportunity to urge the private sector – which he described as indispensable partners of the government in socio-economic growth – to play the complementary role of ensuring that there is inclusivity and shared value as means to radical economic transformation.
“I would like to address and applaud organisations which have established supplier diversity programmes (because) increasing spending for diversifying suppliers creates value and shows that companies have serious commitments to socio-economic development in our ecosystem,” said Minister Kgafela.
He encouraged companies to expand their monitoring systems, which range from expenditure spending to measuring the impact of the expenditure, as a critical step to creating a sustainable supplier diversity. “Diverse sourcing can contribute to building more value chains, which is an added benefit that is often overlooked in the equation,” he said. “If there is one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught supply chain leaders, it is the importance of supply chain resilience.”
Debswana’s ambitious undertaking
Kgafela praised various mining houses for their Citizen Economic Empowerment Programmes (CEEP) whose objectives are to achieve diversity, inclusivity and sustainability.
“I want to encourage you to continue sourcing from local service providers and partnering with the government to help grow these businesses in terms of productive capacity building, quality and consistency of supply,” he said. He singled out Debswana Diamond Company for special mention, noting that it has set aside P20 billion for citizen-owned companies and a target of 20 000 jobs created by 2024 in an ambitious initiative.
“Under this ambitious undertaking, Debswana will localise manufacturing of its inputs and thus grow Botswana’s manufacturing sector,” he said. Other notable speakers included Kushata Chilisa, Head of Enterprise & Supply Chain Development at Absa, who spoke on Inclusive Financing for Enterprise and Supply Chain Development; and Rachel Mothibatsela, Executive Head of Public Affairs at Debswana, who presented on the mining company’s ESG programme.