Skills training vital to transformation of mining in S.Africa

by Trust Matsilele 0

Skills training and workforce development is key to transforming South Africa’s mining sector.

The sector is currently seeing vast inequality with the mostly unskilled labour force consisting of black citizens.

There has also been increased pressure from both political parties and labour unions regarding mechanisation, which could see a huge number of the labour force retrenched.

Located at the edge of the Gauteng and Free State provinces, [DATA SGL:Sibanye Gold], one of the country’s and the world’s largest producers of gold, is seeking to redress the imbalance.

(READ MORESibanye Gold operating profit up 4%)

With over 35,000 employees working in the group’s shafts, the mining company has said it is gradually moving towards remedying the country’s dark past and ensuring that its workforce is better equipped to meet present-day challenges.

The group’s Care for Imali and Sibanye Gold Academy projects seek to capacitate both the employees and the community members.

The Care for Imali programme is a financial literacy course aimed at helping employees and community members better understand their finances as well as the implications of debt and how to budget better.

“Through our Care for Imali project, we train workers and community members on realistic living and avoiding overspending,” Thabisile Phumo, the group’s vice president of communications told

“This programme has trained over 8,000 workers. Some of the areas we train include being truthful on what they earn, know what they earn, know what they spend, help them get out of debt and also assist them in making financial plans and implementing those plans.”

The mining company also operates the Sibanye Gold Academy which skills workers and community members through vocational training programmes.

Sibanye stated that it seeks to empower community members through this training, which they can use elsewhere as employees or as entrepreneurs.

Some of the programmes offered through the academy include electric domestic installation, welding and cutting techniques, mechanical repairs, carpentry, masonry, plumbing and chicken farming, among others.

The group indicated that through the academy, over 1,500 community members have been trained.

The Sibanye Gold Academy has attracted a huge number of females as well, a positive sign of the transformation of gendered roles.

(READ MORE: Joburg Indaba puts spotlight on S.African mining sector)

“Sixty per cent of those currently being trained are women with the remaining 40 per cent comprising of males,” said the group.

The company however lamented recruitment challenges when it came to dealing with the youth, stating that they preferred office jobs.

“Young people are always looking for office jobs and they always try to avoid labour demanding jobs like the ones we are currently offering,” Phumo added.