Deep Insights #43 Leading with prowess

Episode 43 August 09, 2022 01:08:50
Deep Insights #43 Leading with prowess
Deep Insights with Mining Review Africa
Deep Insights #43 Leading with prowess

Aug 09 2022 | 01:08:50


Show Notes

In this Women’s month edition, our Multimedia Journalist Hlengiwe Motaung speaks to the CEO of Exxaro Resources, Dr. Nombasa Tsengwa on her official appointment, strategies for women to navigate the workplace, and how the coal sector can foster environmental stewardship.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 2 00:00:02 Hi, I'm Rochelle Botha and welcome to deep insights in this women's month edition. Our multimedia journalist GUI Mohu speaks to the CEO of AZA resources, Dr. Barard SUA on her official appointments strategies for women to navigate the workplace and how the call sector can foster environmental stewardship. Speaker 0 00:00:26 Hello, and welcome to deep insights on mining review Africa. My name is, and it's a pleasure to be coming to you on women's month. My guest today was born in Fort Mullan. I also known as ectra in, in Ang, as they say, that is in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. She is the fifth of seven children. She completed her master's degree in plant physiology at the Eastern Illinois university in the USA, and she also holds a PhD in agronomy from the university of Mary land from the lab to the mine helped me welcome the official CEO of one of south Africa's top co producers, AZA resources, ladies and gentlemen, the fierce and phenomenal Dr. NOA Z. Dr. Welcome, and thank you for joining us today. Speaker 1 00:01:22 Ah, thank you SL also for that warm welcome and, uh, you know, introduction taking me back, but, uh, thank you so much, really appreciate it. Speaker 0 00:01:34 Congratulations on your first week as AARA CEO, before we get into the gist of things. I just want us to take a quick recap into your first weekend office. How did you find it? Speaker 1 00:01:47 Wow, it's been a quite a hectic week. Uh, also started with a big surprise from, uh, our employees, uh, who decided, uh, to stay the surprise inaugural ceremony for me on Monday and a day full of emotion. And, um, from everybody actually, I was so pleasantly surprised to see most of our employees in tears welcoming me into this new role, really sharing the time with me. So it was a very interesting kickoff to the week and also a lot of interviews, uh, in this week. And, uh, also a lot of interaction and activity, um, with the stakeholders. I mean, it's just been a particularly intense week of all weeks, but yeah, but obviously, uh, quite enjoyable, I must say, Speaker 0 00:02:42 Must be fulfilling as well to know that wow, I'm here now. Speaker 1 00:02:47 Yes, indeed. <laugh> Speaker 0 00:02:49 So doc, we all know you from an executive stance. Let's take it back to your early days at URA and at St. John's college, what did your upbringing look like? Speaker 1 00:03:01 Well, yo, those were quite interesting times, uh, which if I were to just take a snapshot of that time and the snapshot of today, it would be very difficult to make a connection. Uh, but I, uh, grew up as a very, you know, just normal, ignorant, humble Royal girl, um, born in Fort Milan, as we've mentioned it in Jago is what we call it in OSA and really taking lead from my great parents who are both late today. So really, you know, just, uh, being raised under your parents' guidance. Um, and, uh, what was quite for me important, and I think was significant in sort of crafting my way had been my father, my late father, you know, was such a disciplinarian, firstly, and he happened to be a school principal of the, for Mullan junior secondary school, where we went as youngsters and he went on and became, uh, inspector of schools and he went into the higher echelons in the trans guy government. Speaker 1 00:04:23 So my debt was always driven by you've gotta be successful and focus on your scores and making the marking class. Um, and he was always pushing us to be the top three for him. That was the most important indicator. That big things will happen to you in terms of where you will end up this. That was never something that we spent a lot of time in. We were always driven by make your mark your scores demonstrate, you know, your dedication and, um, you know, be seen to be a good child, you know, well disciplined and following the roots. And we, you know, my mom on the other side had been a gardener, an Avi gardener and won competitions, uh, in, uh, in, in, in his, in her vegetable gardening, always winning number one. Wow. And I followed my mom all the time when I had an opportunity just watching what she was doing. Speaker 1 00:05:23 And I really fell in love with the, you know, this life of, um, you know, gardening and growing plants, which when I look back and I say, my love for plants and my choice, and maybe my, you know, affinity towards biology, especially plant biology, plant physiology had been driven by my understanding of that world. You know, which my, you know, which my mom introduced me, um, into AI in my years. So that balance between, you know, being disciplined, focused on making the mark and being driven, um, in that way had been for probably, you know, if I were to, to connect, you know, where everything else had started. Speaker 0 00:06:06 Mm Doug, it's interesting that the environment in which you put your children in has a great impact in how they will turn out. I think I've read somewhere of, of, uh, heard somewhere where you said your mom had a patch for you in her garden, where she gave you maze, as well as, um, beans, beans, beans. Yes. I mean, uh, it's just amazing that that pureed a love for, for, for botany and, and the science of plants. Speaker 1 00:06:39 Yeah, indeed. And for me, you know, when mom gave me the patch, because she could see that I was always following her around and she said, look, you're gonna have your own, let's see what you can do and why. And I mean, she chose this too was such an intriguing, um, a thought now that I, I, I look back and see how I watch these two different plants emerge out of the ground because I kept on waking every morning to see what's happening. I'm watering, nothing is coming. And whenever I saw little leaves and I always watch, how are they coming out? And when are they becoming taller than they store that I can also look serious in this, in this whole thing. Speaker 0 00:07:21 <laugh> Speaker 1 00:07:21 And you know, what was amazing was the difference that these two plants emerg through the ground where the ma plant emerg through this two, uh, this shift burst and it split into two leaves and then it grows. And it, it, it has another set of leaves coming out. Whereas the bin plant came out as a hook out of the ground, eh, and still hiding its two, um, the, to be primary leaves still under the ground. And then it takes up and then that, uh, hook, you know, straightens up outside in response to what the son was doing to it. So that was such an intriguing observation in my early life. That, uh, as you rightfully say, you know, you know, maybe triggered that scientist in me. Yeah. Or that bottom is in me for sure. Mm Speaker 0 00:08:12 Mm. It's such an interesting story that you told them. So now your father, as a school principal, he was a school principal. And you said that later on, he went on to being an inspector of schools and your two elder brothers also pursued a teaching career. So it seems as though there was an expectation for you to also pursue a career in education. Uh, I mean, you went on to, to pursue a senior secondary teacher's diploma at genera, but then there was a turning point. You went onto U WC for BSC in Barney. Tell us about that transition and your family's Speaker 1 00:08:55 Reaction, particularly your father. Yeah, look, um, a very interesting story. This one and a story that defined my relationship with my father and, and my father got to know me better through this experience, in fact, where in fact, it's, it's the other way around where, you know, my father being a traditional male from, uh, deep trans guy, those times being raised by, um, you know, his own parents, my grandparents were not educated. So the best of resources were always reserved for male children or boy children, uh, because they were known to carry the family name. Um, and you as a girl, you will marry Mr. So and so, and your name and your self disappear and go and be a home builder of that family. Mm. So my father's view was that, um, his boy children were the able ones, uh, to do science. Um, so for him, they were to go and do the science degree and, you know, he would support them. Speaker 1 00:10:13 You know, my brothers, you know, were the ones who were, you know, destined to be BSC holder or whatever else, science, but for us girls, dads will say, after standard 10, you go and do a teacher's diploma. You go and be a teacher somewhere and hopefully you'll get married and you go and disappear. Um, you know, as, as Mrs Soandso and dad tried to enforce this with me, but, uh, after I finished my secondary or standard 10 at St John's and I got school leaving, by the way, it was not a, you know, a full certificate to take it to varsity. And my dad said, look, you either repeat, or you are going to go to <inaudible> college, which was just outside of UMAT to do your teacher's course, which was a three year course. And then after that, we launch you into the job market in teaching. Speaker 1 00:11:13 And I made a decision. That's not what I wanted to do. And I was also going to do science. Okay. Uh, he thought that if the boys who can do the science, I will also do science and I'm gonna show him and guess what? Um, my father was a well known individual. He was a senior member of, uh, the government in trans guy. And he was actually serving on the Senate, uh, of the university of transcribe. And he always told us about Mr. Soandso, we do this with Mr. So-and-so, Mr. So-and-so is this, so there I am looking for Mr. So-and-so, who was the Dean of students. And I went to Mr. So-and-so and asked that I be granted permission to study what my father wanted me to study at the college, but I wanted to study at university so that I get my foot in the university and prepare myself for, um, finishing what he wanted me to do so that I can do what I wanted to do, which was the science degree. Speaker 1 00:12:13 So that's exactly what happened. And the rest is history. So the guy calls my dad and he says, but you know, Mr. Sam, your daughter is here. And, uh, we haven't had anything from you. Do you know that she's here asking for, uh, you know, um, admission at university. And my father then said, look, I did not know. And he was really embarrassed and asked. And he asked whether I did have money to register varsity and said, she seems to be holding a check of 750 rans, which my mom gave me without my mom knowing <laugh>. So there I was with the 750. So your mom launched for you, you behind his back, that's magical go for it because mom had this business that he owned. And, um, so she could do this. So yes, the rest is history. So there I was, and my father says, then the last I'm gonna tell you on this bit. Speaker 1 00:13:09 Now he says to me, because he was feeling so bad, um, he says, uh, it's fine. Um, you can do this, uh, teacher's diploma, which was a senior secondary teacher's diploma. And I was so excited because then I started taking, um, you know, those first year degree courses, okay. You were supposed to go to second year with their majors or what they call what you'll be teaching. And then, uh, he says, if you pass this and you do your first degree, I'll buy a car. Yeah. And if you pass your, your science degree, I'll buy you a car. And I said, you will buy, you better put money in the back. Cause you're gonna buy that car. I'll take you up on that one. The non long story short, uh, my brothers fall off the bus. They don't finish their degrees and I remain, um, and, uh, I got to finish my degree and as faith would have it, dad doesn't have to buy the car because I then get a scholarship to go to America, to go into my masters. Speaker 1 00:14:12 So he was saved from buy car <laugh> <laugh>. But what I saw was a man who changed his mind about women and the role of women in society and the role of women in the economy. Because my father cried when I graduated my FA my degree, because he said, you've proved me wrong, my child. Wow. And I got to know you that you're so much like me, that when you want something, you actually go, go and get it. Yeah. And, and the fact that when I was doing my last year, one of my very brilliant brothers, he is late today. Very brilliant brothers decided he's going back. Cuz he heard that I was during my last year and I was going to graduate. Then he goes back and he finishes and we graduate on the same year. Funny enough. Oh no, he graduated the year after me. But he had vowed that, you know, he also was now inspired to go back and finish. So yeah, my dad always told the story that never tell your children what they must become, let them do what they believe is good for them. Speaker 0 00:15:17 That is such a powerful story. Da <laugh> I, myself am inspired about uh, uh, about the story that you've just told. One thing that stood out though is how your mom played a very big role in all of this behind the scenes quietly. Same thing. Absolutely. Speaker 1 00:15:36 Yeah, absolutely. Speaker 0 00:15:38 As a woman, she really did vouch for you. And I think probably her knowing your character, she knew that you were gonna make it. Speaker 1 00:15:44 Absolutely. How does vouch that Speaker 0 00:15:46 Make you feel when you think about that today? Speaker 1 00:15:49 It makes me feel very warm because I realized how both my parents played a very important role. One, um, you know, mom giving me that staying power. He was, she was a very powerful right person. In fact, she was more brilliant than dad. Dad was just a hard worker, but mom was smart. Mom was a strategist. And so I picked up a lot from mom because mom said, let him go, we'll give him money. You go, you call when we are in the office. So that is strategy. Yeah. Um, and that thing that says, you know, believe in what you wanna do, um, you know, stay in it, persevere and you will succeed, just look for that right support, which you was, you not there is giving you the discipline to study to understand, um, you know, what it takes, you know, to sure get your marks and be driven, but with the right support, which is mom, which is mean you will get there. And she's been like that mom from day one till the day she died. Mm-hmm Speaker 0 00:16:51 <affirmative> so you had a very good balance in your family. You had a very nurturing environment and yes. At the same time, an environment that was disciplined and nurturing at the same time. Speaker 1 00:17:04 Absolutely. Speaker 0 00:17:05 That's that's just amazing. Speaker 1 00:17:06 Absolutely. Speaker 0 00:17:08 Now let's move on to the subject of women. It's women's month in South Africa and we have just celebrated international woman in mining day, you joined Kumba resources in 2003 at a time when the subject of diversity and inclusion was still fairly new. What are the differences, um, in the workplace between then and now? Speaker 1 00:17:35 Well, I think at that stage, the, the fact that the boardrooms did not have females was taken as a norm. Um, you know, people never bothered to, to even attempt to find out whether there were any women in this field who could, you know, participate, um, in this field. And at that time I think the law in South Africa was really beginning to take shape in terms of enforcing the targets for mining companies or just the corporate world in, in general. So we had, uh, you know, the DTI, uh, we had the department of labor, both of them, uh, pushing the corporate environment to very specific targets. And there was always this excuse those days that, well, there are no black women or even women in general at that time, there are no women in even HR, you know, a space where I knew there were lots of women, um, in those areas, let alone in this hardcore mining subjects, um, such as mining engineering, uh, geology, there was just this belief, uh, that what we were even talking about, firstly, was a nuisance was unnecessary because you were asking us to go on a goose chase. Speaker 1 00:19:02 We'll never find these women. And today, uh, we have really changed the language we notice when you don't have enough women in the boardroom. There are fewer people who have got excuses and they're not expressing them as openly as they used to. So if people are a little bit more conscious that this is an injustice and something has got to be done yeah. To the extent that we put programs like our professionals in training program at Z, that is, is very deliberate about bringing women and which kind of women we want for which subject. So there is action today. Okay. And a sort of, um, you know, an effort to really correct the imbalances of what we've seen when I've joined this industry 19 years ago. Speaker 0 00:19:58 So you are saying, uh, that there is a more absorption of women in the industry, in the workforce in general. Speaker 1 00:20:06 Absolutely. We see, I'd say, uh, if I just look at the mining industry, I am very, uh, encouraged by the number of mining engineers, which are female and to be even more specific black females. Yeah. Very encouraging. I am also encouraged to see the numbers grow at senior levels, to the extent that you will have three CEOs today that I can think of. Even, probably even <inaudible> one, maybe four mm-hmm <affirmative> females that are sitting, uh, as C you know, as CEOs, as you know, in enlisted companies. And I'm very encouraged. And I know these individuals, especially the three or the other two, at least who are a Anglo-American, um, that they are well, meaning they are women that are going to pull other women up. So I'm really hopeful. Um, because for me that is progress. I don't want to be on the naysay side to say, yes, we see the numbers are growing, but you still want more. Yes, we do. Mm. For me, it's about what does numbers do? Speaker 0 00:21:20 Okay. Speaker 1 00:21:21 What does Alala do? Who's the CEO of Kumba, uh, in terms of pulling other women, what does Natas who is the CEO of Anglo Platz, you know, are we being seen and doing the right things to make sure that we are building a solid base or women to grow from? Because whether we like it or not, the numbers are not on our side and therefore we cannot dream that tomorrow. We will have this equal balance, but is to say, are we making progress and look at ourselves as leaders and say, you know, how do we measure ourselves in the spaces where we operate? And also on the collective impact that we make, for instance, from the minerals council point of view, because we are part of the minerals council. So we've got, we must have this, uh, you know, pulling together of impact at that level, but we must also make a difference from where we are. Speaker 1 00:22:23 We making progress, not where we should be 16% of women, um, in this industry is far from where we should be. But as I say, it's, we are coming from 12%, five years ago. Sure. So it it's, it's going be at every level, we must see that happening. Mm-hmm <affirmative> lower levels. We seeing a groundswell. I can tell you. I know of, uh, um, and, and you know, mine overseers. Yeah. Women, I know minors. And what we tell them is what for me is important is what we tell them. When I see them is to say guys, do the due time don't rush because that's what men also did. They never just stayed for three months that they were promoted. No time demonstrate leadership, demonstrate, impact, demonstrate death, because you are not going to be at a leadership position if you don't have all of those things. Speaker 0 00:23:20 Sure. Wow. Um, what stands out for me here is the responsibility that you are taking upon yourselves as woman, not just to one DEC seat at the table, but to have impact absolutely commendable dog. So, um, I think I should have asked this question before we got into the woman one, how have you navigated your way from the lab to being a DDG at the department of environmental affairs and tourism, and now mining, what bolstered such a brave detour? Speaker 1 00:23:56 You know, the one thing I knew would speak for me before I opened my mouth mm-hmm <affirmative> was the PhD that I've earned absolutely. In the United States. Mm. Almost as if you are saying, I know how unequal unequal South Africa is that you really have to push yourself to point where people can say, okay, before we even give an opportunity to open a mouth. Yeah. She is doctor numbers. I say, so for me, that was what I carried. And people could not understand because I'm such a small, I, well now maybe not as small as I use such a small train individual. Yeah. That now all of a sudden, I mean, I don't look my age now you are doctor people now would listen. Right. So I probably carried, um, you know, this qualification of mine class, this, you know, very strong determination as an individual, um, that gave me that can do attitude. Speaker 1 00:25:07 Um, and to say, if I could achieve a PhD, which takes all the things that my father taught me, uh, of how you focus self discipline, uh, staying true to your course, then I could teach myself anything where I believe there is an opportunity. So I think for me, those were the things that drove me from one experience to the next, because when I realized, uh, that I had landed at the university of Victoria as my very first formal job as a junior lecturer, and I looked around and I thought, thank God. I got this opportunity from, uh, professor Johan Ze, who was a wonderful individual, who is a champion of transformation, but obviously not many Johans were there. So you could really see yourself struggling to get to from junior lecturer to senior lecturer. So being grateful, sitting there, but realizing that, you know what, I'm probably not going to realize my dreams here. Speaker 1 00:26:17 There's probably another place where I'll make a greater impact and learn than to sit here and not, you know, be, uh, open to the opportunities that I would've really wanted to experience. I also realized that the lab, you may have read this, uh, if you know the story of my mom and the patch, you know, the garden patch that, you know, I realized when I left university of Pretor, that it's easy to blame people, but at the same time, I was never a behind the scenes person. I liked working with people with a lot of people and, uh, I needed to interact, uh, with a lot of people. So I was attracted to a, a program which government in the department of science and technology at the time, uh, had a foresight project where we had to look into the future and say, which technologies will really be key to South Africa at that time looking 20, 20, which the country had to invest in, uh, from skills and from other capabilities. Speaker 1 00:27:28 Point of view. Yeah. Um, so when I saw that, then that's what really stored me from the lab. And then from there I grew, I learned a lot. I wanted opportunities. I became a second in charge in the department of environmental affairs and tourism, which is very senior for a 34 year old. Sure. Um, you know, and there I was, um, becoming a second in charge so young in my life. And then it was really another wonderful experience, which just said to me, you know what? You can lead, you are leading so many people today, then anything you know is possible. So that those were for me, the drivers that really took me off the lab to being now an employee at resources. Speaker 0 00:28:22 Mm it's such a commendable, um, step that you, you have taken to pivot from the en environmental sciences world into mining. Um, at the time you already had your PhD. And a lot of people are normally very afraid to move from those positions. I mean, you are, you were in a senior position at the department and now you are getting into mining. A lot of people cannot lose that status. It's very difficult for people to, you know, move from that, to that because they want to chase better and they want to grow. Yes. What do you tell somebody that feels fierce about the, the transition that they need to make, but at the same time, they are scared of the jump, but they know they need to pursue it. Speaker 1 00:29:12 Yeah. Yeah. So indeed, because people tend to want comfort. So you are a DDG. You want to be a DG. I don't know what would become of that because we can't be minister. You can go into other things, but it would've been logical for me to stay and, uh, take chances to being a director general. So what I would tell a person is what really is your, what drives you? Mm-hmm <affirmative> why do you want to make this job for instance? Is it because you aren't unhappy where you are, you seeing other opportunities elsewhere, et cetera, et cetera. For, for me, uh, it was interesting, uh, that when I joined the department, uh, of open environmental affairs and tourism, I knew that when you sit at the senior, most levels in government, working with politicians and a great politician at the time, which was value Moosa, there was no way that value Moosa would become a minister, open environmental affairs and tourism forever. Speaker 1 00:30:23 He was going to move on. Then what becomes of you? And I had to always plot ahead. That was one. Okay. I was not sure exactly where that would've been, but I knew that I needed to stay three good years in government. And then I must really look for something a little bit more sustainable. I was a little bit worried that this was not going to be because we were probably move to another department. But another thing for me was that we had done a great job with my, uh, team and, uh, my boss at the time, uh, chip, where we found this very antiquated pieces of legislation. And we realized that the department did not have teeth to enforce any higher standards, environmental standards improve environmental stewardship in the country. So we went into a process of changing these pieces of legislation, air quality management. Speaker 1 00:31:24 I remember NEMA and waste, I mean, a whole switch of environmental laws. Now what it meant to me when I, I looked at the mining industry, which I really despised at the time and said, this is such an, a destructive industry. Mm. Um, and now that we've got this legislation, I think I can go there and make a difference by implementing this laws and making sure that we use at least one case study, which would've been Kuber resources. Now our one case study from the mining industry that could demonstrate success in being a responsible, uh, environmental steward or citizen, where we are a responsible citizen that is known, um, to look after the environment, contrary to the perception of what a mining industry is. That's what drove me to the honest with you. I was not for, uh, to be a, a GM or a C, or I just wanted to make sure that I take the law that we've developed go and prove that it does work mm-hmm <affirmative> and then, you know, come up with a good, um, an outcome that can, you know, that Exar can be proud of. Speaker 0 00:32:42 Mm I, I agree with you there, doc, and I think you are the most appropriate person to actually come into mining from an, an environmentalist stance, because then you come with an attitude of solving a problem. Speaker 1 00:32:59 Absolutely. Speaker 0 00:33:00 Mm mm. So at some point in your mining career, you've had to move a, not down from being on Exco to now being on an operational level. And that reveals an attitude of humility and an eagerness to learn what tricks or strategies came in handy when you had to deal with the men at operational level. Speaker 1 00:33:26 Well, look, uh, thank you a very interesting one, that one, uh, and it came at a really tough time where I had to reflect on my own leadership and the impact I was making. Um, you know, before I went into ops and I realized there were a lot of things I was lacking in, in terms of my leadership impact, working through people. And sometimes when you are so comfortable with the subject and you have just emerged from that technical level managerial level and to leadership where you lead big teams, you are still driven by the fact that, you know what, I know environmental science, I understand this work and I can do so many things myself and you don't understand why other people are not performing at that level. But when I stepped out of that role, going into the ops, I realized that actually I knew nothing about mining zero. And I was so scared because I was never in a situation where I was uncomfortable with the subject, because that was my edge. You know, my mom, my dad said, show how your depth is. You succeed, Speaker 0 00:34:36 Look it up. It's Speaker 1 00:34:37 About you. And it's about you being in the top three all the time. Yeah. This time I was never going to be in any top anything. Uh, so I am going to be leading this group of men who are so bright engineers are very bright. Mm-hmm <affirmative> uh, yes, they've got their particular thinking. Very rigid. Sometimes we call them left brainers. They all of much structure and all of it. And I said, here I am joining these people. What can, what is my offering to these people so that I can, and the respect as their leader? The only thing that I thought I needed to put first was to respect them for their knowledge and the time they've spent in this sector, which I haven't won and acknowledge them for that. And secondly, uh, share with them that I'm here to partner with you guys. Speaker 1 00:35:35 I'm not here to do your job. I could never do it, but I'm here to lead you to the extent that I'm able to lead you. But my leadership would be as good as you guys are willing to partner with me. So we had to have a pact with them to say, um, I'm here going to learn from you guys. You will tell me what you guys are doing. And my I'll learn as quickly as you guys are able to teach me so that I can represent you. Well, because you're not in the ballroom with me. Yeah. I've gotta represent you there. So the, the, the better you guys do this or this job of teaching me the better, I'll be your leader. And I will hold you accountable to the things that you teach me to the standards that you demonstrate that are the best standards to mine are the same standards I will hold you're accountable. Speaker 1 00:36:24 So I had that relationship, uh, with my male colleagues, they didn't feel threatened. Um, the fact that they were there before me, it's a fact, they were at a vintage point where they were there before most women are, therefore they, they bring something to the table and you just have to realize what that is and use, use it. And I use it to my advantage. I, I spent a lot of time, time in operations whenever they complain that, you know, we are having this, um, problem with the conveyor belt underground. And one of the, you know, super drives is doing something. And I said, take me there, let's go and look at it. You know, it better go and show me what this thing you're talking about. And the more they realize my style, the realize that, you know what, when we take it there, that's where she ask most difficult questions. Speaker 1 00:37:16 Questions. Yeah, because I'm the person who teaches myself. I, I, I, I, I learned a lot, uh, overnight I'll pick up books because I never wanted to drop them. They teach me something, I'll go and look at what is wall mining? What are those, uh, key equipment that you use in wall mining? What are the critical ones and all of it. So that when they speak to me, they see a person who is walking with them and willing to learn so great respect for them, acknowledge them. Don't compete with them, give them their space, hold them accountable. They actually like that. And I think that if you wanted to know, uh, if someone wakes me up, been at 2:00 AM, that has been for me, the highlight of my career is to step out to ops and not knowing what money engineering is. And working with people who actually take you through that because you had to humble yourself because, you know, and through respect and partnership, you know, I am here today because of those individuals. Speaker 0 00:38:29 Wow. That's amazing. It seems as though every answer that you give is just empowering and touching <laugh> well, doc, it's just amazing that you you've touched on quite a number of issues there quite a number of factors there to say that as women, especially, we tend to be quick in pointing, you know, fingers and saying, um, there's no, not enough women in the mining sector, or we are being bullied or, you know, we are being overlooked in that, but we are very slow in sitting down and reflecting to say, how can we contribute towards this? What impact or what value can we bring to the table? And it's, it's amazing that you say that no, a moment of reflection is actually needed sort of self reflection. Speaker 1 00:39:19 Absolutely. You know, you know, thank you. That is another very powerful thing that if everything that you and I talked about today were to be deleted. This one, I say, women need to understand that. No matter whether diamond is covered with mud or with dirt. Yeah. It shines because it is a diamond. So don't worry about all of these externalities that are brought by the environment where you are. And my reflection had been, I go home and I feel that I said something and I was ignored in the boardroom. Yeah. And my colleague in the same room says the same thing. And he is heard. Yeah. Same thing. And I was say, pardon me? Speaker 0 00:40:19 Yeah. Speaker 1 00:40:19 But I was saying exactly the same, this guy, I mean, he's sitting at the edge and he was, he talked towards the end of the meeting. Everybody's like, I liking this thing. You know what I did when I go home, I never said, yeah, this man, it ignore what I said. I said, how did he say it? That was so different from how I said it. And then I realized actually that, um, I had to change myself. Okay. In terms of understanding that there's a language that engineers here. Speaker 0 00:40:59 Okay. Speaker 1 00:41:00 And I'm gonna test whether it is the language or is it me now that they don't like, now I'm gonna try and learn to speak in a certain way. Then I realized that when I brought depth in the things I said, yeah. And being practical and not speak too much from the right brain, you bring the right brain, the lead brain together. Okay. And because the right brain is a strength, but we are frustrating a mining engineer. If you're not giving them the measures. Okay. And the square that they're looking for. Okay. In some of the things that you say, there must be a certain way, you deliver your messages. Then I can say, now once I practice and I've done this and they still don't want to listen, then I would say, no, man, these guys are being, uh, a sexist in any way. Speaker 1 00:41:48 So, so I, I learned to bring depth, more depth. Uh, I learned to be patient. I learned to manage my voice so that my voice is not a fighting voice. It's a leadership voice. Um, engage them. And if I realize that I'm not heard, when I come back, I have a certain way. That's now coming in with my mindfulness, which I practice along the way where I said, but what I'm hearing you guys say, but you may not be hearing what I'm saying. And I hear so and so saying this, but I'm bringing this perspective and this or whatever it is. So, uh, I became very mindful of how I show up. And now again, what I say, people need to hear, this is this. If you notice what works in the boardroom and what men do, I'm not saying become a man. Yeah. Understand why they like to talk to each other. Speaker 1 00:42:50 Yeah. Understand that. Yeah. And try and make sure that you are able to speak to that too, because they are going to be part of your they're part of your colleagues, their employee. They're gonna be employees maybe one day so that people cannot ignore you. Once you are on top of your, of, of this subject, you deliver messages in a way that people understand within the culture of that environment, within the speak and the discipline of that environment, people will never ignore you. I promise you the day I started talking, the mining language, being measured, being respectful, talking to people, showing up better. People never ignored me. They were the ones who started voting for me as this woman who sits there alone. And they would tell people before I go anyway, so you must listen to our boss, start selling you. When the next positions came. They said, we don't see any other person, but numbers are must lead us. You see what I'm saying? People vote for you, but observe what works. Speaker 0 00:44:00 Ah, that's just so powerful to, to have the art of adopting to the environment. I mean, no matter how smart you are, or no matter how well versed you are, if you cannot communicate in a language that they understand, the message will never really land. And so it's commendable to try and go back and come up with another strategy that, that you can use. Speaker 1 00:44:28 And the last thing I want to just quickly say, because I also believe it's important. And I tell my kids this, uh, about being in the moment with what you do for you to see all of these things we're talking about. Yeah. All your senses, five senses must be here with you all the time. You can't be in a conversation and you want to be impactful in that conversation. When we are busy thinking about, are they looking at, can they, when I speak, do they think that they're here? See it be what what's gonna happen tomorrow with me? What happened yesterday? Be Speaker 0 00:45:00 Present, be present, Speaker 1 00:45:02 Only present at every moment. Let me tell you the five years I stepped out of the Exco. I almost demoted myself to go into operations. I wasn't the executive I went and asked to be taken now so that I can go and start yeah. As a general manager of operations. And, um, the, I never thought I was ever going to come back to the executive because I was enjoying myself in operations, was fully in operations. And guess how long it took for me to go back five years. And I don't know why it was, I was very irritated that I was not being dragged back to this executive because I was never focused on what is the next step? Yeah. I was focused on this minute, Speaker 0 00:45:44 The now Speaker 1 00:45:45 And the success being made. Now, it's not what I'm doing in the next minute or the one before that time is gone. The one that's to come is still to come, but now I'm handling, I'm talking to FLA way and I must do this to the best of my ability. Mm Speaker 0 00:46:02 Mm. This ties into, um, leadership style. So now let's talk about leadership ex zero held a ceremonious farewell for the former CEO co culture. And in his favor speech, um, this is what he said about you. And I quote, I have full confidence and faith that this great company will continue to grow and prosper under your leadership qualities has Uber, boom, God job imparted in you that you will carry forth in the organization. Speaker 1 00:46:43 You know, policy MX, as we called him as one of, you know, the greatest leaders I've worked with. I mean, he's such a visionary. I mean, he sees the future. I mean, in, in, in 20, in years, 20, like one year in his life is 20 years. Yeah. Uh, he can see the future and, uh, and he's ability, you know, to engage the workforce and show them that future, um, I think is an incredible skill and, uh, something that I will always aspire to be at the same, uh, standards and levels as, as he is. And I always say to visionaries, whether they've retired or not remain visionaries. So yeah, always, you know, that visionary, uh, capability, which in my own way, you know, I try to emulate, you know, to the extent that I think policy helped me with, uh, I always followed most his positions. Speaker 1 00:47:55 I mean, he was the executive head of coal. I took that position. He became CEO. I took that position and I watched him as the GM at the time of some of the minerals in the organization. Yeah. And saying to myself, here is a guy who's, uh, uh, training is in it doing such a fantastic job, uh, at the top of, uh, or let me say, leading a mining engineers, uh, you know, uh, doing very well. And that thing that said to me, actually, he shows me that it can be done by non-engineers, you know, you can actually succeed in this position. He's really showed it to me. And we would talk about it all the time. And he talked about it in the organization. And for me, giving people a chance, you don't have to be in that, um, position. Mm. But you just need to find the talent in the individual, the potential in the individual and give them an opportunity. So those are the two greatest, uh, learnings that I think I received, uh, from policy and also for forgiveness. He's a very forgiving individual. Yeah. I, I think for me, I may never reach those levels because that probably comes so close to your character, but it's consciousness that he's given me as an individual. Speaker 0 00:49:22 Wow. That's, that's certainly amazing. So who do you draw inspiration from and how important do you think mentorship is? Speaker 1 00:49:31 Yeah, it is very, very important. Um, and you will be so surprised that the people that I'll mention to you who really played an important role in my life, excluding my late debt, because I've already mentioned how much you really, uh, was that win be beneath my, my weeks where two individuals I found at Kuba the CEO at the time was at con for conk. Um, uh, one of the greatest leaders I've ever been exposed to a man that I model myself around. When I take decisions, I would say, what would K for Corna do or say in a situation like this? So just this guy who just epitomize the top of what I call absolute leadership in my mind, a man that I do not even remember making a mistake in any way. So that was the guy and alongside him was a man called Mike KBR, uh, was my boss at the time who as well was, uh, you know, that good feeling around the boss. Speaker 1 00:50:49 Yeah. You feel like, you know, is this a boss story for real, quite right. <laugh> is this guy really allowing me to do these things that he's wanting me? He's allowing me to think freely. And also very wise, man, uh, very meticulous in operations. And I took a lot from him, uh, just listening to him, uh, looking how he solved problems and very practical person. And, uh, and, and pushing me, you know, this gentleman, when I arrived at Exar remember he brought me there and people did not, as I said those early days, I was just a face and a number. Yeah. Okay. So people who still have meetings there without me, there will be meeting and I won't be called and he will look around and say, where's numbers. Okay. And then he says, can you just stop whoever organized that meeting, they need to know that she has to be present every time we have this meeting. Speaker 1 00:51:43 And he would say it to all the meetings. So that guy made sure that my voice was heard, that voice supported me. That guy was the guy who kept on saying, she's one hell of a successful leader, et cetera. So those two men with my dad, I would say they were my mentors, my, my guides, my everything you can think of. Now, if you ask from a lady's side, I want to mention a lady called D mahi goi. Okay. So Stephanie is a well known in this industry. She is the founder and director of Kafai Monga mining, well known individual feisty. Who's fought a lot of battles, uh, from all these things we are talking about, you know, that we receive as, as women in this industry. You know, this lady for me, having known every, a very short time, she's one woman who has wiped teeth from my face. Speaker 1 00:52:52 She has, she could not, she said, there's nothing I'm gonna teach you. She supports me. She supports me. After today. She tells me positive things about what this job or the role I need to play. And she actually knows when I am in pain, when I'm in tears, she's the first person to wipe my tears. Um, and other women who sit in my board, I don't wanna talk about them because people will say, because they're bosses, <laugh>, they've been women in that, that board and a very special woman that has really supported me through and through. Um, and I must say to you, uh, it doesn't have to be one person who mentors, you, who supports you, uh, who need it from wherever you can get. And there is value in every drop of mentorship and support that you can get people who don't judge you, uh, people who understand why you are in the position you are in and really enforce your base so that you stand strong. That's all I could say by Speaker 0 00:53:59 That hands down. So it really does take a community doctor. No, let's come to the final section, uh, of segment of, of, of our interview. And that's the south African energy landscape. What do you think is the antidote for the energy crisis in our country? Speaker 1 00:54:21 Yeah, I, I must say first that I'm very excited that, uh, our challenges, uh, you know, from our, or lemme say our energy challenges have become so topical, uh, such that people are talking about it. We today have an interview where numbers are in Shawe are talking about the energy landscape. We have really moved, uh, and because many countries have been there before us. So firstly, the awareness and making it understandable because load she is how many people are experiencing the challenges we have. They take notice. They listen to what people are saying, south African problems. They've got to be solved by us south Africans. Yes. We need to partner with those. Who've got the means to solve the problems, but we are beginning to define our problem. We have a president and the government that is beginning to see that for us to be successful in solving the energy problems, which have got, I mean, the, the challenges from 2008, I believe you should have taken specific actions to really expand our energy capacity, which we didn't. Speaker 1 00:55:45 So now we've got a government that recognizes that. Look, when you solve the problem, you've got to make sure that your bandwidth from your solutions point of view is so broad that it's not a government only solution. It takes you, it takes private companies like Xara, which is fortunate to be a generator of green energy, because we do have that aspect in our business. In fact, we've got a business leg in energy. So you, as a business, you can be an independent power producer. You as langua, you are also allowed to contribute what your excess electrons, which you can actually feed into the grid. So to liberalize this sector for me, is going to really assist us in solving our problems. And also looking beyond just one set of solutions. We've gotta look at what other energy sources are going to be critical in solving south Africa's problems. Speaker 1 00:56:53 And the last thing I'm gonna add here is we've got to be very smart and the way we use the resources we have today, there may be fossil fuels, but that is what we have today in abundance and shifting from, uh, uh, a call base energy into your renewable energies and other source of energy has got to be blend so smartly that you do not make the mistake that Europe made, um, in the eighties when they were transitioning, um, and leave gaps. So we need to be very, very clear of our energy transition and how we utilize our resources in a balanced way. Speaker 0 00:57:42 So Europe has to be a case study in the sense you say, how did they do it and how can we do it better so that we, we avoid certain traps. Speaker 1 00:57:52 Yeah. We need to prepare ourselves for a no cold future and do it in a way that does not only listen to, uh, the pressure of, we must be renewable energy based tomorrow, but which says, we need to look at our capabilities from a liberalization of the sector Fest. Our policies are not all in place to support us to all of a sudden wake up and be generating energy from our electricity, from renewable energy. We need to recognize that we need to deal with that backlog. That is government's job, but then we need to also enable numbers, enable Z enable, um, other companies to then contribute significantly, you know, the energy sector and the businesses into the solutions of this country, which Exar will be at the center of making sure that we are part of solving problems that this country is facing partnering with ESCO, not just to give it cold, but to also give it the green energy that it needs to add onto the grid. Speaker 1 00:59:14 So for me, it's, for all of us to be a part of a solution, bringing our resources to the table, partner with government, look for those partners offshore that may have got, um, new innovations, uh, new technologies, uh, that we can use to take out emissions that are difficult to abate whilst we still mindful to make sure that we are decarbonizing at speed, making sure that we meet our targets, our global targets, and this whole notion of being carbon neutral in 2050 will then be a reality for the country as a whole, not just for companies Speaker 0 00:59:59 Well done. Dr. NOA on, on the work you've done at Xara on showing your environmental stewardship as well as we're going into this decarbonization and, and carbon nutrient world. Now the war between Ukraine and Russia, temperas with Europe's carbon free plants and as an environmentalist and mining executive, do you think that the near green future is still on the cards? Speaker 1 01:00:31 It is on the cards. Um, and we are gonna see it when we go to co 27. I think the next one in Egypt, I hope I'm right, if is 27, but, uh, being that is it may, um, countries have made commitments and it became very clear around 2015 that, uh, if we don't make any drastic changes in the commitments, uh, to take out these emissions, the dream of, uh, 1.5 degree scenario will never be realized. In fact, we may have lost that opportunity. So that call was, I think it was, uh, the, the Paris, uh, uh, co uh, at that time, which really asked for a step change. So there is that commitment, right? I mean, look, I know Europe had been one of these countries when I used to be the lead negotiator for South Africa and climate change. During my years in the environment department, European countries were the first ones to make really strong commitments commitments and, uh, develop the renew energy technologies. Speaker 1 01:01:50 So Europe is committed. However, now what you see is a short term reaction okay. Where they are reliable sources of, um, for instance, gas being an example, which had been fed from Russia, which was a very, uh, important element of their energy mix. All of a sudden, you know, uh, being curtailed now, forcing them to respond the way they have. So we may not see a very, uh, steep, straight line. Yeah. Uh, in the next two years, for as long as this Ukraine, Russia stand of continues, it may probably be a slight delay, um, to getting to, uh, the targets that, uh, we are hoping for. But that drive, I still feel that is there, there is that commitment unless we walk away then from, uh, what we would've signed, uh, the P we have under the, uh, United nations framework on climate change, which I do not believe we will get there, but obviously, you know, now investments may be delayed a little bit, uh, because now people are dealing, especially these countries, European countries, dealing with this immediate challenge of, uh, trying to stabilize their economies and at least looking at alternative, uh, solutions to that guest, that supplies Speaker 0 01:03:22 Doc, that's a very interesting stance. And I like that. Um, you are quite optimistic about the future of, of mining, especially, and, and, and renewable energy. Now, the story of your coming up certainly was not an overnight one, as you have just alluded. And I can imagine that, um, the many gruesome steps that had to taken the frantic decisions that have had to be made and the sharpening of, of a character now to a young woman that has just joined the workforce, what is your message about trusting the process? Speaker 1 01:03:59 Yeah. You know, it's a, it's a lovely thing because I tell my young daughter whom I've raised, uh, uh, all the time that again, bring your full self to the workplace, but you better have made a decision on what your goals, you know, talking to a young person and say your goals. And all of that. I remember myself when I was much younger, I was like, what are they talking about goals? Uh, it becomes very difficult, but when you are in the work environment, bring your full self. Because at that moment, you will notice and hear what is good for you. And when you pick up what is good for you, you get naturally attracted to those things that you good at, um, and tell yourself that you will not be depending on this external influence of how well we are doing, but you're gonna have this solid internal that tells you that I'm on the right course. And I am going to do time. And if I'm in the moment with my time and what I'm doing the next year becomes so quickly or so quick to get to, and the next one, the next door to the next door before, you know, you are reaching your goals. So for me, is that stay focused. Yep. The authentic, um, don't be hard on yourself, remain rooted in your goals and really observe what makes people successful in the environment of your choice. Speaker 0 01:05:49 And finally, Dr. NABA, what message are you hoping to spread? ASHA's new CEO, one that you want to be remembered for? Speaker 1 01:06:02 You know, the, uh, something that I've found to be cancer is I was, uh, growing up and something I was deprived of. And what people struggle with is what I call can honesty and respect. And then, uh, keeping only one objective above all which is doing what is right for exam. That for me, those are going to be the weapons that will make a difference in this organization because people, when people are honest and they share, honestly, they also receive, honestly, when they respect others, that sharing is done with respect and you dream so much more when you are allowed to be as honest and focusing on the bigger objective, which is making sure we serve Xara. We serve the shareholders of this company, whether small or big, the equal in our eyes, that for me, is going to be my message so that these people of this company can dream big. They can be themselves without any fear of being victimized in any way when they are dreaming big or when they're sick to understand, uh, because that's how people grow. That for me would be my message. Speaker 0 01:07:46 Well, that's certainly wonderful. Dr. Rona, I myself have, um, taken some nuggets for myself. Been very inspired by your journey. Um, very inspired by message that you just, um, gave when we're talking about women. It really spoke to me personally on that if you are a diamond as, as rough as it is, as rough as your environment is just keep shining, keep shining. If effortlessly, you know, that really spoke to me and encouraged me to, to keep going. And, and I just wanna thank you for that. Thank you for joining us here on deep insights for mining review Africa, and we wish you the very best in your new position. Speaker 1 01:08:29 Thank you. Thank you and stay beautiful and everything. Bye bye. Appreciate. Speaker 0 01:08:35 Well there you have it. Ladies and gentlemen, we have come to the end of this wonderful session. I feel so honored to have brought to you. AARA CEO, Dr. Until next time byebye. Speaker 2 01:08:48 Thank you for listening. Remember to like share and subscribe to deep insights for more mining news, visit mining until next time. Goodbye.

Other Episodes

Episode 23

November 25, 2020 00:31:45
Episode Cover

Deep Insights #22: Modernisation in Mining Ep. 3

Equipping people for 4IR and digital transformation at Gold Field’s South Deep mine In this episode of the Modernisation in Mining podcast series, Mining...


Episode 15

August 28, 2020 NaN
Episode Cover

Deep Insights #15: Women of Impact Episode 8

In this episode, we chat to Selina Zhuwarara, principal consultant at Autem Mining. Selina speaks about her experiences in the industry and touches on...


Episode 3

June 12, 2020 00:23:11
Episode Cover

Deep Insights #3: Is your company exposed to a cyber attack?

There’s a threat that has existed long before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted mining operations. This threat is cybercrime. How real is this threat and...