Training helps mining houses empower people to break the resource curse

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Training helps mining houses empower people to break the resource curse

Triple E Training is helping the mining industry meet its Social and Labour Planning (SLP) and Corporate Social Investment (CSI) obligations. This is in addition to the stellar role that the company’s quality AET continues to play in assisting mining houses achieve the socio-economic development element of the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) verification process.

 

More recently, this leading South African Adult Basic Education Training (ABET) provider helped a company with several operations in Tshwane, Gauteng, develop the basic skills of members of two host communities.

 

This Community Sponsored ABET Project enabled the mining house to meet its community development targets, while also making a substantial contribution towards its corporate social investment (CSI) targets.

 

Magda van der Merwe of the Adult Education Training (AET) provider says that Triple E Training helped 20 members of communities located within two of the company’s project footprints to obtain a General Education and Training Certificate (GETC) at ABET level 1.

 

“These individuals successfully completed our Communication Level 1 literacy course, comprising of 120 hours of training. As part of our service to the client, Triple E Training also consulted with community leaders before selecting individuals to undergo basic skills training. The 40 people who were initially nominated to undergo training were then assessed for their literacy and numeracy skills to ensure that they were placed on the applicable ABET/AET level. We remain very proud of the work that we undertook for this company and which still stands out as a solid example of a successful AET for community project. In addition to empowering the poor by equipping them with the skills they need to be active participants in the economy, these ABET projects give them a voice,” Van Der Merwe says.

 

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Charting the way forward

The Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Charter for the South African Mining and Minerals Industry, commonly known as the Mining Charter, was first developed in 2002. It serves as an instrument through which the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) fuels transformation in the industry.

 

The Mining Charter requires mining companies to transform by providing integrated socioeconomic development for host communities. This is achieved by integrating development plans for mining communities with special emphasis on the expansion of infrastructure and skills development.

 

The Charter defines a “community” as “a coherent, social group of persons with interests or rights in a particular area of land which members have, or exercise communally, in terms of an agreement, custom or law. These communities should be the beneficiaries of a Social and Labour Plan”.

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AET for unemployed and ABET for employed

Triple E Training offers a variety ABET, or AET learning areas for the unemployed and employed, classified as Category B training on the learning programme matrix. Numeracy and communication in English remain the most prevalent of these basic skills training programmes.

 

The Company also offers NQF 1 through to NQF 4 learnerships, which are classed as Category C and D training in a myriad of industries, with the Business Practice NQF 1 qualification the most popular amongst industries, including the mining sector.

 

As an accredited service provider of ABET and learnerships, the company’s training programmes can be incorporated into Workplace Skills Plans (WSP) and Annual Training Reports (ATR), as well as the skills development and preferential procurement elements of the BEE Scorecard. They are also used to claim tax grants and Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) rebates by companies.

 

SLP compliance

Van der Merwe lauds the mining industry for its ongoing commitment to equitable growth but notes that there is still more to be done to ensure that communities benefit from resource extraction to break the “resource curse”.

 

“More recently, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies encouraged a thorough reassessment of the SLP system. It is concerned that the system does not uphold the mandate for social and economic advancement in the resource extraction industry. I agree with the centre’s views that more can be done by the authorities and local mining industry to ensure that regulations are designed and implemented so that host communities derive maximum benefit from them. Unfortunately, many communities affected by mining and related industries have remained poor since the introduction of the Mining Charter in 2002,” Van der Merwe says.

 

If undertaken correctly, SLPs will meet their objectives of, among others, promoting economic growth and development in the mining industry, as well as employment and advanced social welfare for all South Africans. This is in addition to harnessing and even expanding existing skills to empower and serve host communities.

 

These objectives are being hampered by, among other factors, the inability of an extremely stretched Department of Mineral Resources to inspect all host communities to ensure that mines comply with the requirements agreed upon in the SLP. Despite a SLP becoming a legally binding document between the company and the department when mining rights are granted, the expectations contained therein are not always met.

 

In many instances, SLPs are also designed and implemented in isolation and without adequately consulting host community members.

 

“Unfortunately, mines and municipalities are still inclined to deliberate with only a small portion of host communities at the expense of a large portion of the population who often have a very limited understanding or no knowledge of a SLP and the Mining Charter,” she says. “It is imperative that community groups are aware of their rights under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) and SLP systems. In instances where SLP communities are divided, it is the responsibility of companies and government to engage with all parties to ensure maximum involvement in the planning and implementation processes. In so doing, the three fundamental pillars, namely ‘political’, technical’ and ‘social’ are established right from the outset to also ensure sustainability of the project.”

 

Moreover, SLPs must clarify how mines aim to develop the skills of both employees and members of communities, including the unemployed. This means that SLPs should also consider training that is applicable to other industries. Among others, these portable skills consist of basic education, artisan training, learnerships and bursaries.

 

The SLPs employed by mines must also correlate with their skills development plan. It should focus on building aptitude in various skills and careers for employees and mine communities, while reflecting the demographics defined by the Mining Charter.

 

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The following participants should become involved in the drafting of an SLP:

  1. Department of Mineral Resources (DMR)

The Department of Mineral Resources oversees the SLP implementation procedure and enforces applicable laws around mining.

  1. Communities

Communities are the main beneficiaries of the SLP.

  1. Mining Companies

Mining companies are responsible for designing and implementing programmes that will benefit the development of communities and workers.

  1. Local Government

Local Government and municipalities are required to compile an Integrated Development Plan (IDP) that serves as a guide for development in municipalities.

  1. Traditional Authorities/Leaders

Traditional leaders are a liaison between the community and mining companies. They deal with issues that affect communal lands.

  1. Trade Unions

Trade Unions are associations that represent mine workers and their rights. Trade unions also play a role in developing SLPs. Their priority is monitoring mining companies to ensure that they comply with requirements that will benefit the community.

  1. Mining Contractors

Mining contractors are companies that employ mine workers. Workers employed by mining contractors should have the same benefits as those employed directly by the mine.

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Working with communities for maximum benefit

Van der Merwe further refers to the requirements of the amended Broad Based Socio-economic Empowerment (BBSEE) Charter for the South African mining industry, which notes that assessments to determine development needs must be conducted with community members.

 

“According to the amended BBSEE Charter, these development projects must be within the needs analysis to ensure that they make a meaningful contribution to the community and, importantly, include integrated development plans (IDP), the cost of which should be proportionate to the size of the investment,” she says.

 

IDPs provide many benefits, not least of which is their ability to help prioritise the needs of local communities. This enables municipalities to find affordable ways of providing services to host communities.

 

Moreover, they accelerate service delivery by assisting municipalities to identify key areas within the community that can be incorporated into a development plan.

 

IDPs also facilitate effective budgeting to help better allocate necessary funds for projects timeously and, in so doing, ensuring integration with municipalities’ socio-economic development plans.

 

Considering that uplifted communities are more willing to engage with local and provincial authorities, IDPs also encourage closer collaboration with local and provincial authorities.

 

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BBSEE refers to a social or economic strategy, plan, principle, approach or act, which is aimed at:

  1. Redressing the results of past or present discrimination based on race, gender or other disability of historically disadvantaged persons in the minerals and petroleum industry, related sectors and their value chains; and

 

  1. Transforming such industries to assist in, provide for, initiate,

facilitate or benefit from the:

  • Ownership participation in existing or future mining, prospecting, exploration and beneficiation operations;
  • Participation in or control of management of such operations;
  • Development of management, scientific, engineering or other skills of historically disadvantaged South Africans;
  • Involvement of or participation in the procurement chains of operations;
  • Integrated socio-economic development for host communities, major labour sending areas and regions that due to unintended consequences of mining, are becoming ghost towns by mobilising all stakeholder resources.

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Company capital uplifts communities

Experts have also identified shortcomings in the way in which mining houses approach corporate social investment (CSI) projects.

 

Van der Merwe explains, “Separate from daily operations and not motivated by profit, CSI projects are primarily geared at using company capital to uplift communities. According to the Act, CSI must include a skills development plan for the company’s workforce and a career development strategy to progress employees into more senior positions.”

 

The skills development plan must include essential details such as the number of workers in the company’s employ and their skills levels, as well as employment equity statistics. Notably, up to10% of the company’s employees must consist of women and a strategy must be in place to ensure that a total of 40% of management positions are occupied by historically disadvantaged South Africans within five years from the time that the mining rights are granted.

 

These efforts must be complemented by Mentorship, Bursary and Internship plans.

 

A Mentorship plan identifies areas of development and pairs mentors with workers to help them progress in their careers.

 

As part of the planning process, companies must also determine the number of mentors and mentees that they require, in addition to providing a clear implementation strategy with targets and time frames.

 

Importantly, a mentorship plan is connected to individual development programmes and opportunities. These must be made available to the entire workforce, with a clear focus on career progression and employment equity targets, as well as learners, interns and bursars.

 

Bursary and Internship Plans provide bursary and experiential learning opportunities to employees and members of mining communities.

 

Bursary plans must offer areas of learning in line with the needs of the mining company, as well as contain realistic targets, time frames and budgets.

 

They must also consider separate and external bursars and make provision for continuous or new intake bursaries.

 

An Internship Plan provides areas of training in line with the needs of the company.

 

It must outline how interns will be afforded the opportunity to undergo experiential training, as well as contain achievable targets, time frames and budgets.

 

Furthermore, an Internship Plan must make allowance for separate internal and external internships and include own funded studies, while also ensuring that it reflects the demographics as defined in the amended Mining Charter.

 

Scoring from good practice

In 2015, many notable changes were also made to the B-BBEE scorecard.

 

The amendments have merged “Preferential Procurement” and “Enterprise Development” into a new “Enterprise and Supplier Development” (ESD) element.

 

In addition, it now contains a new concept of priority elements, including a subminimum of 40% of the Ownership net value score, Skills Development and ESD.

 

Large companies that are unable to meet the subminimum requirement in all three elements will drop an entire BEE level on the scorecard. The same holds true for Qualifying Small Enterprises (QSEs) if they do not comply with the Ownership and one of the other priority elements of the scorecard.

 

Under the amended codes, ownership is now even more important, and companies must, therefore, carefully assess their structures and strategies.

 

A Level 4 status automatically applies to ESDs, which have been least affected by the updated codes. However, 100% black owned enterprises in this sector are granted Level 1 status and 51% black owned enterprises a Level 2 status.

 

Van der Merwe says that skills development, including AET for unemployed and ABET for employed people, remains one of the easiest means of ensuring compliance with the new B-BBEE scorecard.

 

“It measures the extent and effectiveness to which companies undertake initiatives designed to develop the competencies of black people internally and externally. A total of 40% is the absolute minimum requirement for skills development. The total weighting points for skills development on the generic scorecard is 20 points. It is further required that between 40% and 50% of the beneficiaries of the relevant elements of the B-BBEE scorecard consist of black women. Young black South Africans and those with disabilities and living in rural areas must also benefit from this element,” she says.

 

As a priority element, a sound investment made into Category B and C training will enable businesses to achieve the maximum weighting under skills development.

 

Notably, an appropriately planned skills development programme will enable companies to train community based unemployed learners. This will have a further positive impact on the socioeconomic development element of the scorecard.

 

“The mining and metals industries have a critical role to play in industrialisation of emerging economies. While South Africa’s mining industry is more mature than those in other countries on the continent, it remains a key component of state’s ‘reindustrialisation’ strategy in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s New Dawn. The industry is a fundamental pillar of an aggressive drive to bolster manufacturing in the country by ensuring increased beneficiation of the raw materials mined by the industry. However, it is imperative that focus on developing this industry benefits all South Africans to reduce the growing divide between the very rich and very poor. This ‘gap’ has grown tremendously over the years as is demonstrated by South Africa’s Gini coefficient. Worryingly, our Gini coefficient is noticeably higher than countries with similar characteristics. In South Africa, the top 20% of the population holds almost 70% of the income, whereas the top 20% of the population in most countries holds a median of 47% of the income,” Van der Merwe concludes.

 

Weighting of elements on the B-BBEE scorecard

 

Element Weighting
Ownership 25
Management control 15
Skills development 20
Enterprise and supplier development 40
Socioeconomic development 5
Total 105

 

[Keywords:]

SLP

SLP Compliance

SLP Community

SLP Employed

ABET

AET

AET for community projects

ABET projects

Social Labour Plan

Literacy

Numeracy

AET for unemployed

ABET for employed

Basic skills

Communities

Development

Basic skills

 

 

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