Our human capital profile has altered as a result of our shift to a predominantly surface operation. We now require fewer employees, our employees no longer travel from remote laboursending areas around the country, but are mainly residents of local communities, and the skills set of our employees has changed.
In addition to our own employees, we also retain a number of specialist service providers at our tailings reclamation and deposition sites. These companies provide expert services in their fields and employ their own staff.
Being principally a surface operation also reduces our health and safety risk profile. Ergo's extensive footprint does offer its own set of challenges as our operations are located around both formal and informal communities.
As people are the mainstay of DRDGOLD, it is essential that we invest in them to achieve growth and ensure the sustainability of our business. To promote the education and development of our workforce we established EBDA four years ago and initiated the Best Life and ICAS initiatives. The skills and knowledge acquired by our employees, either through training or experience, increase their value not only to DRDGOLD but in the marketplace. By recognising the expertise, skills and talents of our human capital we can ensure the development of our people and run our business more efficiently and cost-effectively.
DRDGOLD believes that training and developing community members who are not employees is also part of human capital development, and offers courses to local residents at EBDA.
We uphold the labour rights outlined in the Fundamental Rights Convention of the International Labour Organization. Our policies ensure our employees are treated fairly irrespective of origin, race or gender, and are consistent with South African employment equity requirements.
Health and safety
We believe that everyone has the right to a healthy and safe working environment. Our health and safety policy commits DRDGOLD to conducting activities in a manner that ensures employee health and safety as a priority.
Health and safety is important for moral as well as for legal and financial reasons. Not only is it our moral obligation to ensure the protection of our employees' lives, health and safety measures will also reduce employee injury and illness and the related costs.
The Ergo health and safety manager is responsible for our health and safety programme, legal compliance and the management of the occupational health clinic.
Our health and safety structure comprises a central committee dedicated to health and safety. Its membership is made up of two health and safety representatives from each of the four main operations, a full-time health and safety representative and senior managers from the operations, including the managing director. The committee deliberates on health and safety issues concerning the entire operation including the introduction of new or revised risk assessments, procedures, conditions in the workplace and any other matters prescribed under applicable legislation, including environmental affairs.
Line management is responsible for health and safety at an operational level. Management teams hold monthly meeting to address health and safety, and all employees are required to attend regular safety meeting as well as training sessions. On the ground, foremen are proactive and address workers on the topic of safety.
Each operation has its own health and safety committee comprising elected delegates from each section within the operation. They discuss the same issues as the central committee but do not have the mandate to pass resolutions that may affect the other operations.
Management subscribes to an open door policy whereby any employee has access to his manager and foreman to discuss issues related to health and safety.
Sections within departments, such as engineering and metallurgy, hold daily toolbox talks during which health and safety matters are discussed. These discussions involve incidents which have occurred as well as constantly reaffirming section 23 of the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA) to remind employees of their right to refuse to enter a workplace they perceive as detrimental to their health or safety.
The introduction of new and revised procedures is communicated to management and our workforce at plant section meetings, held weekly at each operation; the health and safety meetings held at each plant and at daily toolbox meetings held throughout the operations. A briefing procedure has also been implemented to ensure that every person affected by a new procedure receives a brief and understands its content.
When an issue is raised concerning either a technical aspect or practical application of a procedure, the department head will bring the issue to the attention of the health and safety department which will investigate, and consult as necessary.
Risk assessments and safety audits are conducted on a regular basis and the health and safety department reports to the board every quarter as the latter is ultimately responsible for health and safety at DRDGOLD.
Health and safety agreements with unions provide for a joint management/union committee on health and safety.
Our operations are subject to various industry-specific health and safety laws and regulations which, if altered, or ignored, could have an adverse effect on our financial results. Our employees are all expected to adhere to these laws and regulations and DRDGOLD has disciplinary procedures in place to enforce compliance.
DRDGOLD's goals are to foster a safe and healthy working environment for our co-workers, employees, and others who might be affected by our environment. Awareness and behaviour-based safety programmes are in place to reduce incidents that cause injuries. Our programmes equip our employees with the information they need to reduce hazards and eliminate risks so that they may enjoy a safe and healthy workplace.
During FY2013 DRDGOLD initiated the "lost time injury-free days competition" to promote safe working practices; to encourage a positive approach to health and safety issues such as compliance with rules and to create a conscious awareness of the day-to-day hazards facing employees both in their working and home environments. Our interpretation of the term, lost time injury (LTI) frequency rate is defined by Regulation 23 of the MPRDA . The rules are simple: an operation must run for 180 days without an LTI starting from the day after the last recorded LTI or the day after the previous 180 day target was achieved. Progress at each operation is communicated to staff at the appropriate meeting.
The competition proved successful, particularly taking into account the number of people who enter the operations on a daily basis. Crown, ERPM and Knights met the 180 LTI -free target twice and City Deep and Ergo once during FY2013. Employees were given T-shirts to mark their 180 LTI -free days.
Campaigns such as electrical safety, ladder safety, behavioural safety and the danger of open fires in confined spaces were used in FY2013 to create awareness of the type of injuries that have occurred in the past. These prevention measures appear to have been successful as, to date, there has not been a repeat of these incidents.
DRDGOLD is a signatory to the 10-year health and safety targets set at the 2003 summit of the Mine Health and Safety Council. This organisation is a national public entity, with representation by government, employers and labour members. Chaired by the chief inspector of mines, the principal task of this organisation is to advise the DMR on occupational health and safety legislation and research outcomes focused on improving and promoting health and safety in South African mines.
It is imperative that all DRDGOLD employees, regardless of level, participate in health and safety issues. Our full-time health and safety steward, elected by the workforce, and appointed in line with the MHSA, is the connection between employees and policy implementation. There are an additional 98 elected part-time health and safety representatives who represent employees and specialist service providers giving us a favourable ratio of 1:28 safety representatives to employees. Our specialist service providers have their own health and safety structures in place, which we monitor to ensure conformity to legal requirements.
The management/union committee on health and safety comprising management, the full-time health and safety representative as well as union representatives, meets on a monthly basis to discuss issues concerning health and safety. This committee is responsible for:
- Creating a healthy and safe working environment and to prevent fatalities in the workplace through the competence, commitment and positive attitude of the employer and all employees;
- Improving on the previous best ever performance in:
- minor accidents;
- lost time injuries;
- reportable serious occupational illness;
- health and safety threatening occurrences;
- Actively developing, implementing and driving the Health and Safety Management System and Programmes;
- Providing for employee participation in matters of health and safety;
- Providing for the co-ordination of effort in matters of health and safety throughout the company;
- Providing for appropriate and adequate training in matters of health and safety; and
- Conducting operations so as not to threaten the health and safety of the community or pollute the surrounding areas.
A joint accountability campaign was introduced to emphasise the need for management and organised labour to co-operate in changing a culture that was developing whereby an injury was either considered the "fault" of either a manager/supervisor or the person who had been injured. The campaign was directed at a zero tolerance approach to accidents. After a thorough investigation into the cause of an accident, we took steps to correct the condition or to change the behaviour/s of the person/s involved. The campaign has had some success in changing attitudes and behaviours.
Identification of safety risks
Our major safety risks are those associated with:
- Electrical work;
- Working in confined spaces;
- The use of monitor guns;
- Working at heights;
- Using oxyacetylene equipment;
- Risks relating to criminal behaviour; and
- Improper use of reagents.
In order to assess our performance and mitigate our risks, regular risk assessments and safety audits are conducted at our operations to fully understand the risks involved, and to introduce the necessary procedures, training and supervision. To reduce risk, DRDGOLD prohibits employees from carrying out work for which they are not suitably trained.
The safety department conducts hazard assessment audits every four weeks as part of a continuous risk assessment process. Each hazard identified is rated according to the risk management methodology of the International Register of Certified Auditors and mitigated according to our procedure.
DRDGOLD has 28 managerial procedures and instructions signed by senior management. These procedures control tasks that have been identified as potentially serious risks during the work assessment process.
A new safety campaign is introduced at the beginning of each quarter. The topic is intended to inform employees on a specific aspect of safety. Each month a further topic, usually dictated by prior events, is also opened for discussion.
To ensure effective and timely responses to emergencies, induction training is utilised to communicate to all employees and visitors the emergency procedures in place. Regular man-down and fire drills are held at all our operations.
Our health and safety officers also go beyond the gates of our operations to advise communities situated near our reclamation sites of the potential dangers of illegally accessing company properties. All these excursions are recorded.
Supervisors are trained in first aid to meet the requirement of the MHSA. DRDGOLD has contracted ER24, an emergency response company, to provide medical assistance when employees suffer a medical emergency at work, or when an injury occurs at an operation requiring expert assistance. Health and safety officers are required to conduct emergency drills at their respective operations. Emergency response training of selected employees includes fire training and general chemical handling. This training, conducted annually, enables an employee to handle most emergencies involving reagents such as cyanide.
FY2013 was fatality free at DRDGOLD operations. DRDGOLD is a participant in the one million fatality-free shifts category of the Safety Awards Scheme, managed by the DMR. DRDGOLD managed 1.2 million fatality-free shifts, with three working shifts per day, and qualified for an award which will be presented later this year.
Two Section 54 notices were issued during FY2013. On 7 February 2013 a section 54 was issued to DRDGOLD for exposing communities to excessive dust. Work at the offending site was halted and the problem rectified the following day. The Section 54 issued on 6 September 2012 required the Health and Safety Department to establish a system to link occupational health and medical surveillance for all employees including senior management. This requirement has subsequently been addressed.
There were 455 shifts lost in FY2013 (2012: 266), due to injuries.
An exercise to determine the impact lost shifts have on an operation indicated that the cost is minimal in financial terms. When an employee is off work due to an injury, in most cases and for a limited period of time, the work load is carried by fellow workers. Fifteen of the 44 injuries (34 LTI and 10 dressing station injuries) occurring involved the employees of specialist service providers.
In past years, when an employee was to be medically separated due to an injury that occurred while on duty, the individual was removed from the statistics when a replacement was installed in his/her previous position. This has been changed and all time lost due to an injury is recorded as shifts until the injured worker returns to work. Results for the accident prevention programme in FY2013 were disappointing due to the number of injuries classified as lost time by outside medical facilities.
Our occupational strategy at DRDGOLD is two-fold:
- Eliminating and reducing the sources of health threats; and
- Regular health monitoring.
To ensure effective implementation of this strategy we co-operate fully with our dedicated safety team, have vigorous hygiene inspections and an intensive risk-based medical surveillance programme in place. Our rigorous identification and follow-up campaign of chronic medical conditions among employees has given us a greater understanding of their health.
To ensure that our strategy is effectively implemented, our on-site health care is provided by a full-time occupational health practitioner (OHP) who is assisted by a doctor on a part-time basis. Some 4 380 screening medical examinations were performed during FY2013 (FY2012: 4 113). Pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hypertension and diabetes mellitus are our most challenging health issues with noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and TB being our two most significant occupational hazards. All our employees are also covered by an external medical scheme.
Our Best Life initiative, supported by ICAS , provides advice and counselling services to employees. Advice can be obtained on all health issues including healthier lifestyle choices, diet, exercise, substance abuse, depression and the importance of taking prescribed medications, especially for chronic conditions.
NIHL – caused by continuous exposure to loud sounds over a prolonged period of time – causes irreparable damage to the sensitive structures within the inner ears.
Sound is measured in decibels with normal conversation registering approximately 60 decibels. Repeated or extended exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels may lead to hearing loss. Fortunately NIHL is a preventable disorder provided that hearing protectors such as earplugs or earmuffs are regularly used.
Dr J Schoeman of NESHCO, an expert in the field, conducted a noise survey at all our operations during FY2013. The noise levels experienced at our operations range from low to 96db with 25 areas identified as above 85db. These noise areas have been demarcated with the appropriate warning signs. Company policy dictates that all employees are trained to wear protective apparatus in noise zones.
As part of our hearing conservation programme, individual counselling was conducted with employees who are most at risk due to the nature of their jobs. Posters on hearing protection have been placed in prominent positions, such as entrances to the plant and in designated noise zones, to further promote awareness. An audio visual campaign is in the conceptual phase. The intention is to continuously play a DVD on NIHL in the waiting area of the clinic where Ergo employees undergo their compulsory annual medical examinations.
Three cases of NIHL were reported to Rand Mutual Assurance in FY2013. Two of the reported cases in FY2013 were found to be existing medical conditions and not necessarily NIHL. The third case has not yet been confirmed.
Pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is a common and, in certain cases, lethal infectious disease which typically attacks the lungs. The disease is spread when air-borne droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person are inhaled by others.
People with weakened immune systems, such as those with AIDS, are more at risk of contracting TB, as are those living in crowded communities and cramped living spaces, where conditions are often unhygienic and nutrition is poor.
Primary TB is diagnosed by a chest X-ray and a microscopic examination of body fluids, and is treated with multiple antibiotics over an extended period of time. Most people recover from primary TB infections but the infection may stay dormant for years and in some people it can reoccur.
Preventing the spread of TB is dependent on vaccinations and screening programmes. In FY2012 the company focused on TB as a health issue. Employees were given pamphlets on the disease and discussions were held during medical surveillance sessions.
Six cases of TB were reported in FY2013 (FY2012: 3). These involved two DRDGOLD and four specialised service providers. Our occupational medical and health practitioners (OMP and OHP) did a walk-through respiratory survey at the Fraser Alexander tailings operational areas (where one case of TB had been confirmed) to identify employees who might have been exposed to the infected person. During the visit 11 Fraser Alexander employees were tested for TB. Two tested positive but have not yet been confirmed.
HIV is not an occupational disease. However, we subscribe to and support the government's vision of "a long and healthy life for all South Africans". To this end we have made extensive use of its guideline document "HIV/AIDS in the workplace" to draft our own policy. The policy aims to provide employees with general information on HIV/AIDS; protect the rights of employees living with HIV/AIDS; ensure consistency and alignment of the company's employment policy, procedures and work instructions relating to HIV/AIDS; and commit, manage and reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on employees. The policy has been tabled for discussion and acceptance with management and organised labour. We hope to establish a formal HIV/AIDS committee, managed by our health staff, with representatives from both management and organised labour.
Medical surveillance staff engage in a discussion on HIV/AIDS with each employee during their annual medical checkup. DRDGOLD has also adopted the "know your status" programme where employees are encouraged to go for regular voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) and to discuss the results with the OHP. By adopting a more direct approach to the issue, and together with our attempt to establish greater support, many employees are overcoming their fear of stigmatisation, and likely to attend timely VCT and, where necessary, receive the necessary treatment.
DRDGOLD does not keep or have access to employees' medical information. We are therefore not able to provide statistics on the number of employees infected with the disease, those receiving treatment or the associated costs.
DRDGOLD and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) jointly hosted a World AIDS Day event on 1 December 2012. Attendees were reminded that living safely is a lifestyle and safety principles followed at work need to be applied throughout their lives.
Individual men's health education sessions were also conducted during FY2013. Pamphlets, in a variety of the more widely-used official languages, were distributed to ensure full understanding of the issues discussed.
|VCT (employees)||VCT (positive)||VCT (community members)||On antiretrovirals||Deaths as a result of AIDS|
The clinic treated a total of 4 113 persons.
malaria and silicosis
No cases of malaria or silicosis have been recorded at DRDGOLD for the last four years.
Employment and human rights
The human resources manager: operations has the responsibility of overseeing transformation, employment and overall sustainable development issues while at board level these are monitored by the Social and Ethics Committee. DRDGOLD complies with the requirements laid down by the Mining Charter whereby priority is given to the attraction, development and retention of HDSAs and women.
Employee affairs and labour relations are governed by recognition agreements while conditions of employment are governed by legislation which addresses:
- Prescribed minimum levels of compensation and benefits;
- Employment equity practices;
- Trade union access and membership;
- The right to strike;
- Compensation for occupational illness or injury on duty;
- Compensation in the event of termination for operational reasons; and
- The provision and financing of training and skills development programmes.
A comprehensive HR strategy for the group has been developed. This is aligned with and informs the overall business strategy for the group. The following list comprises the nine most important HR goals that have been identified and which are receiving attention:
- To establish a strategically influential, credible, appropriately resourced and optimally functioning HR function;
- To design and implement an integrated HR reporting system;
- To strive to become the sustainability and compliance standard for the gold mining industry;
- To implement an integrated HR model and talent management process;
- To optimise EBDA services to serve the operations and the communities;
- To strive for a healthy HR climate and good working interface with organised labour;
- To initiate and implement appropriate organisation and workplace improvement initiatives;
- To ensure a "total reward" model to attract, motivate and retain skills; and
- To ensure updated, compliant and accessible HR process, policies and procedures.
These nine focus areas have been designed to mitigate key business risks that have been identified.
We have prepared a comprehensive three-year project plan with clearly defined annual objectives and are reviewing the resources for this strategy, which should be in place by the end of October 2013. We will measure achievements using a comprehensive HR scorecard. This will enable us to submit flash reports to a variety of end users including Exco, and on a variety of important success indicators e.g. HR spend, number of community learners benefiting from EBDA training interventions, statistics pertaining to employee wellness programme, participation in the Best Life initiative etc.
We have set targets for HR, including those laid down either by the Mining Charter (e.g. women in mining, HR spend percentages) and the Social and Labour Plan (e.g. numbers of employees, community learners on learnerships, ABET programmes).
We address all challenges by close monitoring and regular communication with all stakeholders, and engage with the relevant regulators to ensure timeous implementation of preventative and corrective action.
In HR, company strategy takes cognisance of the feedback received through stakeholder interaction. Currently an overarching stakeholder engagement plan is being drafted with clearly defined guiding principles, objectives and engagement structures with clear roles and accountability defined. This need has been identified as a result of unstructured engagement in the past.
DRDGOLD does not discriminate against employees based on nationality. However, our preference is to employ individuals from our local communities, those within a 50km radius of our operations. At the end of FY2013, all of our employees were considered local (FY2012: 100%).
All employees of the specialist service providers working at our reclamation sites and storage facilities are required to undergo induction training to aquaint them with our policies. This also provides an opportunity to explain the need for them to support our efforts to comply with relevant legislation.
Our remuneration policies are benchmarked against specialist remuneration surveys on a regular basis to ensure that pay scales for critical skills remain market-related. Minimum notice periods, in respect of operational changes, are prescribed by legislation.
The South African Employment Equity Act promotes equal opportunity for previously or historically disadvantaged South Africans and stipulates that no employer may discriminate in policy or practice.
DRDGOLD has an employment equity programme in place; drawn up to meet the requirements of the Mining Charter and the Employment Equity Act. As required by this Act, oversight of the employment equity programme is an HR function. As the Department of Labour monitors the implementation of our plan and progress towards meeting our objectives, we submit equity figures annually and provide regular updates to that department. In FY2013 HDSAs comprised 84% of the total workforce.
The recruitment and retention of highly sought-after HDSAs and women remains a challenge. At the end of FY2013 Ergo had 46% HDSA representation in management.
Top management comprised 52% HDSAs, senior management 33%, middle management 40% and junior management 40%. In metallurgical engineering and technical support structures, 14% of employees were women and 12% of all workers are women.
Our strategy to increase the number of women in mining includes:
- A minimum of 10% of new intakes will be women;
- Female applicants will be prioritised in the event of vacancies becoming available;
- Our internship strategy is to favour female candidates; and
- The recruitment agencies we use will be briefed accordingly.
DRDGOLD upholds the basic labour rights as laid out in the Fundamental Rights Conventions of the International Labour Organization relating to collective bargaining, and ensures the implementation of fair employment practice.
We do not condone any form of harassment or employment discrimination based on race, religion, age, gender, disability or political affiliation. Forced, compulsory and child labour are all prohibited. In order to prevent harassment in the workplace, or at any other employee-related event, a sexual harassment policy is in place.
A number of forums meet regularly to ensure fair employment practices are observed. Disciplinary and grievance procedures provide for representation by either a union shop steward or a fellow employee. These functions are monitored by the HR department, to ensure all principles are applied.
In FY2013 one case of alleged sexual harrassment was reported. This case involved an HR manager who was dismissed following the disciplinary processes that were instituted.
No human rights incidents were reported in FY2013.
The rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining are enshrined in the country's Constitution, prescribed legislation, industry contracts and recognition agreements with unions. We support the rights of all our employees and their freedom of choice.
There were 724 people employed by Ergo Mining (Pty) Limited (Ergo) at the end of FY2013 of which 53% were members of NUM and 6% affiliated with UASA. Of the 92 people employed at ERPM, 18% belong to NUM and 62% to UASA . Ergo does not have any members affiliated with the Association of Mine Workers and Construction Union (Amcu), and there have been no issues of inter-union rivalry at its operations.
The two-year wage agreement signed in 2011 is currently being renegotiated for the next two-year period. Wage negotiations were still underway when this report went to print.
DRDGOLD's Think campaign was followed by Vuselela, meaning "revival" in isiZulu and isiXhosa. Launched in FY2011, the aim of Vuselela was to make constructive use of the intellect of our workers. The initiative aimed to align the ambitions of employees and the aspirations of the company so that both parties would appreciate they are inter-dependent. All employees participated in workshops to identify the values, ethics and norms they wanted to see being upheld by the company and one another. The unions also supported the initiative and endorsed the outcome.
The following values were identified by employees in the working sessions:
- Achieving goals through teamwork;
- Honesty in all dealings;
- Our word is our bond;
- Everyone deserves respect, dignity and fairness;
- Everybody has the potential to be empowered;
- Think and stay informed; and
- Have the courage to change.
Vuselela created a better workplace overall, and a renewed basis for employees to interact with each other, as well as providing the basis on which to build the Best Life campaign – encouraging employees to work towards living the best life at work and at home. Vuselela is an ongoing process and not a once-off event that can be measured at a single point in time. However, follow up workshops in the form of focus group discussions were held during which employees were asked specific questions to measure the impact. This enabled us to measure trends – whether employees are setting personal goals, showing a greater interest in their own personal development, know what the agreed corporate values are etc. The results showed positive trends in all measured fields.
The DRDGOLD Best Life campaign has resulted in the implementation of an employee assistance programme for all employees and their families. DRDGOLD has partnered with ICAS to provide a professional, independent, confidential support and information service. Trained counsellors are on hand 365/24/7 to answer questions and give advice on a variety of topics including:
- Stress and chronic illness – information and coping skills;
- Relationships – family, colleagues, friends;
- Employment issues - workplace conflict, career matters, harassment;
- Legal – divorce, custody, maintenance;
- Health – the importance of checkups and exercise, healthy eating;
- Family – dealing with unwanted pregnancies, adoptions, childcare, elderly relatives;
- Trauma – robberies, hijackings, accidents;
- Death – loss of loved ones, miscarriages;
- Addictions – drugs, alcohol, gambling;
- Finances – debt, budgeting, garnishee orders; and
- General – claiming state benefits, organising affordable holidays, how to plan a party.
The Best Life ICAS initiative was launched at a function on the EBDA campus in May 2013, attended by management, employee representatives and union leaders. The presentation was well received and will be followed by briefing sessions for all employees.
The programme includes an entertaining film entitled "The Pride of the Peacock", including actors as employees interspersed with animated characters – a peacock (representing Best Life) and a parrot (representing Vuselela). The aim of the narrative is to illustrate the concept of self-reliance, or taking charge of one's life in a number of important areas – finance, retirement planning, health and wellness, career options and employability. Each employee will receive a copy of the film on DVD, together with other material relevant to the campaign.
At the end of FY2013, about five weeks after the rollout of the campaign, 41 employees had already made use of the confidential counselling and advisory service.
In FY2013 DRDGOLD spent R444 440 on Best Life and paid ICAS R119 244 to initiate and run the programme from late May 2013 until the end of June.
Attracting and retaining key personnel, especially women and HDSAs, is a challenge for all mining companies due to the limited pool of necessary skills and experience currently available. Short- and long-term incentive schemes reward performance and retain key skills. DRDGOLD offers competitive bonus schemes and salaries which also serve to attract and retain talent. Employees with high potential participate in individual development programmes to ensure we have people with the skills and experience to fill senior positions in the future.
Enhancing human capital through education and training is central to a sustainable business; creating jobs is no longer sufficient to solve the problems of unemployment. Instead, job "creators" are required.
At DRDGOLD our comprehensive skills development programme aims to cultivate talent through learnerships, on-the-job training, and the provision of bursaries and study assistance. HDSAs are identified at all our operations for skills development and advancement. We spent R13.8 million on training and development at EBDA during FY2013 (FY2012: R6.8m), a clear indication of our commitment to advance the careers of our employees.
The Ergo Business Development Academy (EBDA ) was established by DRDGOLD in 2009 to address the company's future requirements in view of the shortage of skills in South Africa and to raise the educational standards of HDSAs.
Ergo Business Development Academy (EBDA)
EBDA, adjacent to Ergo's Brakpan plant, remains the most significant LED project established by DRDGOLD in terms of impact and expenditure and is testimony to our commitment to develop our employees and to use education as a tool for shaping the future of the disadvantaged.
DRDGOLD has contributed almost R34 million since its establishment in 2009. After an in-depth audit in November 2012, EBDA was awarded full accreditation by the MQA in specified engineering trades, metallurgy and minerals processing fields, safety, health and environment areas, and soft skills. During the process EBDA also received certification by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) as meeting all the requirements of the ISO9001:2008 standard. EBDA is also accredited by the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (MERSETA ), Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA ), and Energy Sector Education and Training Authority (ESETA ) in a variety of fields, mainly relating to the mining industry.
EBDA 's mission is to facilitate and host accredited business development processes and learning opportunities in a financially viable and sustainable manner and to meet the human resource development needs of DRDGOLD, its strategic partners and identified communities within the Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Mogale municipalities.
EBDA was designed to become a self-sustaining and valuable asset to the community; contributing to the growth, profitability and general raising of the standards of education of South Africans. By becoming self-supporting, EBDA will be able to continue its work well into the future, and beyond the current life of mine of DRDGOLD's operations.
Employing 47 full-time employees, EBDA offers first-rate training to corporate employees, private learners and unemployed community learners. In FY2013 EBDA provided 2 090 training days to employees (including employees of specialised service providers), 384 employees from other companies and 539 community members. Training includes:
- Adult basic education and training (ABET);
- Computer courses;
- Engineering/learnerships, short courses and skills programnmes;
- Engineering/operator training and licencing;
- Engineering short courses and skills programmes;
- Health, safety and environment/short courses;
- Health, safety and environment/skills programmes;
- Metallurgy and minerals processing;
- Portable skills training – construction skills, motor mechanics; and
- Soft skills – such as generic management and supervisory courses.
A database with the details of all EBDA graduates has been created to assist them in securing employment. All 45 engineering graduates who qualified as artisans are currently employed in either a permanent or contractual capacity by one or more of EBDA 's corporate clients.
EBDA goes beyond supporting mining and has accredited courses aimed at equipping participants with the skills to establish sustainable enterprises. The three-year entrepreneurship course, offered on a part-time basis, covers all aspects of owning and running a small business. This accredited venture creation programme aims to equip participants with the necessary education and skills to establish sustainable small, medium and micro enterprises. Graduates are offered the opportunity to receive business coaching and support over a two-year period. Sixteen graduates have gone on to establish their own businesses and are in the incubation period. One graduate has become a supplier to Ergo. The company, Fine Cast, specialises in die-casting and signage.
A strategic alliance has been forged with Lepharo, a non-profit company specialising in business incubation programmes and jointly set up by Impala Platinum, Exxaro, the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality and the Small Enterprise Development Agency. Lepharo, which means "the foundation stones of knowledge", facilitates the business incubation of SMMEs that have been trained and set up by EBDA , in conjunction with DRDGOLD's procurement department.
This project has gained support from both the Department of Trade and Industry and other stakeholders and we hope to expand the initiative into the Crown footprint through the establishment of a campus at Crown Mines. Awaiting DMR approval, it is hoped that this initiative will be finalised by the end of Q1 FY2014. Ultimately we aim to link these emerging suppliers to DRDGOLD's established supply chain.
The Enterprise Club project was formally launched in January 2013 at three secondary schools in our area, where students from grade 10 are introduced to the realities of the world of work and the option of self-employment. Unemployed school leavers also have access to this initiative.
The programme focuses on the basics of running a small business and includes simulations of business-related issues and problems, presentations by successful entrepreneurs from the local townships and visits to places such as the JSE. The purpose of the programme is to instil an understanding of, and passion for, entrepreneurship and self-employment. The nine-month programme is followed by a further two-year period of coaching and support.
The initial group of 50 students qualified and were given R500 each by way of start-up capital to launch their own small business projects. They are currently being mentored and, at the end of the two-year support period, their individual success will be measured by the profits generated.
The EBDA Maths and Science Centre of Excellence provides support both to students to and teachers at three local schools in the Tsakane, Kwathema and DuDuza communities, including:
- Tsakane Secondary School;
- Tlakula High School; and
- Langaville Secondary School.
Pre- and post- intervention assessments have measured improvements of up to 30% in year-on-year matric results. These have varied according to subject but an average improvement of 13% has been measured.
The significant improvement in the pupils' maths and science results has resulted in the introduction of a similar accounting programme at these three schools. An accounting teacher was employed in May 2013 to increase the services offered to high school students from the surrounding communities.
The maths and science initiative is currently being expanded into three schools west and south of Johannesburg as these are labour sending areas for our Crown and City Deep operations. In addition we are running maths and science classes for walk-in students at the Tsakane Business Park campus. We hope to expand this into the Crown complex as soon as this concept has been agreed to by the DMR as a viable LED project.
The Maths and Science Centre also provides learners with the opportunity to attend bridging classes to help them obtain the necessary minimum qualifications to qualify for technical fields of study. Those individuals who matriculated with maths literacy and are therefore unable to enter into the trades may, from June 2013, take advantage of the pre-N1 classes in maths, engineering science and accounting at no cost, providing they adhere to the conditions set out by the administrators of the course.
DRDGOLD believes that education provides the basis from which individuals are ultimately able to raise their standards of living, and we therefore place an emphasis on raising educational standards in our local communities.
The DMR requires the company to train employees in portable skills. This commitment has been made to the DMR:
- Accredited skills programmes in construction skills and other identified portable skills will be made available to employees on a voluntary basis after hours;
- The cost of training will be carried by the company;
- Training courses will be implemented on condition that the uptake or numbers enrolled will justify the cost of the training. To this end, minimum class sizes of 10 employees will be enrolled;
- All portable skills training will be advertised internally through the relevant structures including, but not limited to, the NUM educational structure as well as the Future Forum; and
- Terms and conditions for enrolment on these courses will be agreed with the relevant consultative bodies prior to implementation. For example, such enrolment may be linked to retirement plan.
Our current preference is to employ people with a minimum of a secondary school qualification. However, existing employees who do not hold this qualification are not discriminated against as there are an estimated 3.3 million illiterate adults in South Africa. Adult basic education and training (ABET) is a programme designed to remedy this situation by providing flexible, developmental training to adults, specific to their needs and aimed at improving their career prospects and consequently their quality of life.
Employees who successfully complete their ABET courses are not only able to perform better at work, but their self-esteem is significantly increased. These same employees can then also be considered for further personal development opportunities such as engineering learnerships.
DRDGOLD encourages employees using poster campaigns and the NUM educational structures to participate in either the full-time or part-time ABET programmes. ABET classes are also open to members of the communities surrounding the DRDGOLD operations, and learners are recruited by regular adverts placed in local newspapers. Over the past year nine DRDGOLD employees and 187 community members received ABET training at EBDA . An additional 14 community members received training at the satellite campus which serves learners from the City Deep and Crown Mines communities. This facility comprises two classrooms, an administration office and two facilitators.
DRDGOLD's contribution to ABET in FY2013 was R874 038 (FY2012: R1.0 million including Blyvoor until May 2012).
The following initiatives formed part of a commitment to the DMR to encourage ABET participation:
- Employees who participate in the ABET classes will not lose out on their basic benefits, taking into account the shift allowances;
- A reward system will be introduced for employees who have completed each level of ABET as well as recognition for completion of their ABET training;
- Incentives will be given to those who have completed each level of their ABET programme as a token of appreciation and to encourage other workers to enrol for ABET training;
- We intend to use the ABET learners as part of a pool for recruitment purposes; and
- Suitable technically competent applicants who lack numeracy and literacy skills will be targeted for ABET interventions.
These measures have been implemented and 16 people have been identified and enrolled in ABET classes.
Learnerships involve a structured learning programme which combines theory and practical on-the-job training benefiting both the company and employees. Productivity at our operations is not materially impacted, compared with full-time academic programmes, and employees receive qualifications recognised by the MQA and various SETAs.
A good qualification not only provides grounding for future development, it improves self-esteem, work standards and job satisfaction, all of which add value to DRDGOLD.
In FY2013, a group that included one black woman, seven black males, one Indian male and three white males participated in learnerships facilitated by EBDA at the cost of R2.2 million (FY2012: R2.95 million) to DRDGOLD.
DRDGOLD realises the importance of accepting interns into our operation as it provides the students with valuable on-the-job experience and improves their chances of being employed.
The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality is in the process of assisting students who have recently graduated to find internship opportunities. We are in consultation with the municipality to determine how many students we can accommodate as part of this process. The same initiative will be explored with the City of Johannesburg, as well as its educational institutions.
A mentorship is a personal development relationship where the mentor offers insight, knowledge and support to his or her protégé – and advises on any problems that may arise in the individual's working life or professional development. In particular the mentor advises on, and oversees the implementation of, the protégé's personal development plan. Regular meetings are held between the mentor and the protégé and the progress against the personal development plan is tracked and monitored as part of the talent pool and talent management process. A talent management panel, comprising of senior managers in consultation with relevant departmental managers, tracks the progress of talent pool candidates, including the identified protégés. During the past year seven mentors and seven protégés (five male and two female) participated in DRDGOLD's mentorship programme. In line with the new HR strategy we now have 42 people in the talent pool and these persons together with their mentors will now be trained to manage the mentoring process.
Employees who are identified as having potential have individual development plans created for them and their progress managed through the talent pool. Bi-annual performance management assessments for more senior employees allow for training needs to be identified and for appropriate training and development programmes to be followed. Regular skills refresher training takes place in all technical fields.
The seven mentor/ protégé relationships are:
- Giel Koekemoer and Sandile Lamani (completed)
- Henry Gouws and Josiah Tshisevhe (completed)
- Alwyn Hamman and Geraldine Land (in progress)
- Dean Lindecke and Katlego Thekiso (in progress)
- Willie Bernhardt and Sibongile Mngomezulu (in progress)
- Josiah Tshisevhe and Ramvhambelani Tshiguvho (in progress)
- Gert Aucamp and Simon Legodi (in progress).
Bursaries and study assistance programmes
The number of bursaries offered by DRDGOLD is determined by the needs of the company at any given time. The bursaries are offered to employees and other applicants for studies undertaken at a tertiary institution, in a discipline related to the mining industry. Bursaries are market-related and cover tuition costs, accommodation and an allowance. The cost of the bursary programme for the five participants in FY2013 was R0.6 million (2012: R0.5 million).
One of our bursary students will soon become one of the company's "home-grown" engineers. Mthokozisi Siwela is currently busy doing his P2 practical experience at Ergo and according to Barry de Blocq, general manager: corporate services, is extremely hard working and dedicated. Mthokozisi is studying towards a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering (Power) at the University of Johannesburg. Once he has met all the requirements of the practical, he will qualify for his diploma. He also intends studying further towards his B-tech, possibly next year.
Employees attending short courses to enhance their career prospects may approach DRDGOLD for financial assistance with fees, study material, books, accommodation and travel costs. Five employees received assistance in FY2013 at a cost of R86 458 (2012: R51 000).
EBDA, the training academy established by DRDGOLD in 2009 to raise education standards and provide opportunities for employees and community members to acquire additional skills, has been selected as the preferred training provider for a project supported by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) and the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.
DRDGOLD's LED project comes of age
EBDA selected for DMR and MQA project
Piet Pistorius, academy manger explained the background: "The social and economic woes that beset South Africa are well-known," said Piet. "Although the official unemployment figure is 25%, it is believed that the real figure is much higher when taking into account those citizens who have given up on prospects of a job and are no longer actively seeking employment.
"This is as much a problem in our local municipality – the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality – as in other parts of the country," Piet explained. "Ekurhuleni officials decided to address the underlying causes of these social and economic ills by conducting a survey in its area of jurisdiction."
The results demonstrated that rates of unemployment, alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, prostitution, as well as a high pregnancy rate were prevalent, particularly among women in the 18 to 35 year age group.
In an attempt to make positive changes within this environment, the Municipality – together with the MQA and the DMR – came up with the Women's Artisans Skills Project (WASP) which, if successful, will be rolled out country-wide in areas experiencing similar problems.
To co-incide with what has come to be known as Women's Month (Women's Day is on 9 August), a briefing session held in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni on Saturday 31 August 2013 and attended by officials from the municipality, the MQA, the DMR and EBDA . Minister Susan Shabangu of the DMR was among those who addressed the women.
The briefing was also attended by the women who have been selected to participate in the project. These individuals were selected from a pool of potential candidates, after assessment by EBDA. The 50 women who have been selected will be enrolled across various mining-related trades (fitting and machining, electrical, boilermaking and millwright).
EBDA has the reputation of producing quality artisans and has a 100% trade test pass rate. Said Piet: "EBDA has been operating for less than five years, but we have already established a sound track record in the training sector. Our selection to run this programme demonstrates our credibility with the MQA and its growing corporate client base in the mining industry. EBDA 's success is a testament to the commitment and dedication of our trainers, and to the support provided by DRDGOLD which has provided funding of some R35 million to date."
The WASP – to be funded by the MQA – is not without its challenges. A potential concern regarding the rollout of the programme relates to EBDA and Ergo Mining's capacity to host the learners for their practical on-the-job training. As a result, the DMR and the MQA have undertaken to communicate with the entire levy-paying mining sector to identity mining companies that can collaborate with EBDA on the placement of learners for their practical training.
Piet is pleased with this strategy as it will provide EBDA with valuable exposure within the mining industry and assist in cementing relationships between DRDGOLD's Ergo and the DMR.
DRDGOLD CEO Niël Pretorius said the EBDA team had worked hard to establish the EBDA brand. "Although we initially founded EBDA to develop our own employees and to empower the members of our local communities, our broader vision was always to become the preferred business and skills development institution in Gauteng and possibly even in South Africa," said Pretorius.
"Strategically, EBDA 's selection to head up this project will make a huge contribution to addressing barriers to entry for women in the mining sector – an issue that is high on the agenda of the Mining Charter. The socio-economic impact on the communities from which the learners are drawn will also be positively affected," he concluded.
The learnership agreements are currently being drawn up and the 50 women are expected to begin their training on 1 October 2013.