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Fronting causes an obstruction in transformation and is also a barrier to women empowerment in various sectors, including the mining sector, laments Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Commission investigation executive manager Moipone Kgaboesele.

Speaking during a virtual Women in Mining Dialogue, hosted by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), in partnership with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) and Proudly South African this week, Kgaboesele said the BBBEE Commission received a total of 909 reported cases of alleged fronting from June 2016 to March 31 this year.

She said a large number of complaints relating to mining during the 2016/17 to 2020/21 period came from males at 75.38%, and only 24.26 % from women.

Kgaboesele stressed that women “are afraid to come out and complain about fronting”, though she averred that the commission would “take the matter further” as it remains committed to “fast-tracking measures for misrepresentation cases for immediate cancellation of contracts where there is fronting”.

She added that the commission could offer free training for people who do not understand the environment of fronting.

“Those who are confronted with opportunities and cannot recognise if the opportunity is legitimate or not, can contact the commission,” she pointed out.

DMRE projects and programmes management chief director Elizabeth Marabwa, meanwhile, stated that women’s participation in the mining sector “is not a privilege but a right”, adding that procurement in mines should offer low hanging fruits for women to access”.

She said mining was a fundamental sector in the South African economy as it contributes significantly to the economy.

She emphasised that having women in the sector was not only good but that it would promote transformation in the country.

Those living in rural areas, she added, could effectively take advantage of the opportunities offered by the mines as the mining sector is mainly located “in the rural areas where there are more women”.

“We are working on the Women in Mining strategy and implementation plan. We will be consulting women to make sure all their ideas and voices are heard and will be implemented along with the drafted strategy. We are going to have more sessions on awareness and opportunities in the mining sector and how women can access them,” Marabwa said.

She reiterated the government's commitment to have stakeholders inform women about the opportunities in the mining sector and urged women to stand up and take advantage of these opportunities.

Additionally, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) mining and metals senior deal maker Lebogang Motsepe said women have been a key focus group of the IDC’s developmental agenda for several years.

Over the five-year period to 2019/20, the IDC injected a cumulative R11.7-billion into women-owned and empowered businesses, with more than 90% of these investments having been directed to black women-owned businesses.

“The IDC’s loan book indicates an increasing shift by women entrepreneurs towards owning larger businesses, as reflected by the significant rise in the proportion of women deals that are over R5-million. The average transaction size has been increasing steadily to about R35-million,” said Motsepe.

She added that, in terms of trends in the IDC’s mandated sectors, mining projects dominate in value terms owing to the generally high capital investment requirements of mining operations.



Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER

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