Tharisa’s wellness officer, 30-year old Motswasele Elizabeth Magano, would like to study psychology and eventually run her own practice.
Born in rural area called Sterkfontein, in Groblersdal Elizabeth is married and has a six-year old Step-daughter. She stays in Rustenburg with her family.
“When I was growing up I wanted to be a Doctor because I care for people. I didn’t like to see people suffering from any sickness; I always wanted to help to make them feel better,” Elizabeth said. But when she got to university, she decided to get into mining.
Her first job was working underground, which she describes as a scary experience. Determined to work herself up, she studied human resource management. “So I started at the bottom and that taught me to respect every person because you don’t know what tomorrow holds,” she said.
Elizabeth joined Tharisa as a safety, health and environmental (SHE) Administrator in June 2011 after working as a human resources administrator at Blue Ridge Platinum Mine.
“Tharisa has given me the opportunity to grow and develop,” Elizabeth said, adding that she has completed several training courses and then a university course in wellness and employee assistance, which helped quip her to run a successful wellness program.
“My role adds value to Tharisa because it shows that Tharisa doesn’t mainly focuses on the production only but also on the health and safety of the employees. If employees are facing any psychological, physical, health related issues and they know Tharisa has a Wellness Officer to assist with such related issues. And if we have healthy and stress free employees the more productive they will be and the wellness program also reduces the rate of incidence in the workplace,” she said.
HIV activist Lillian Masilo from Phokeng, a town in South Africa’s North West province near Rustenburg, always wanted to be a nurse because of her compassion for others. The mother of four stays in Mmaditlhokwa with her family. Mmaditlhokwa is the community immediately adjacent to Tharisa Mineral's operations and the area from which Tharisa Minerals sources the a portion of its workforce.
Lillian’s first job was as a cleaner at Lonmin’s Karee Mine. She joined Rocasize in as a bricklayer. Rocasize, which is 100% owned by the Tharisa Community Trust, serve as an umbrella under which various small and medium-sized enterprises serving the community. Rocasize’s brick making and laying initiative was set up to help reduce the cost of building and help community members establish more formal types of housing.
Now working as a seamstress at Rocasize, Lillian is Tharisa Minerals’ primary HIV spokesperson.
“When I found out I was HIV positive, I thought it was the end of me. I didn’t know how I was going to face the world,” says Lillian, who initially thought she had contracted TB. Not knowing how she would tell her family because of the stigma of HIV, she was faced with her greatest challenge. As it often turns out, her greatest challenge was also her greatest opportunity.
Currently doing her AET classes, Lillian believes that many people create more suffering by not accepting their HIV status.
“I have been able to accept my status and help others come to terms with what they are facing without being afraid that I will be judged. Tharisa saw potential in me I was trained to be a peer educator. I am enjoying it because it gives me an opportunity to share my life story with employees and by sharing the story, it changes lots of employees’ lives.”
Armed with a passion for making a positive difference and improving the lives of those around her, Pebetse Mabaso is a SLP coordinator at Tharisa. Involved in all the elements of Tharisa’s SLP implementation, she also overseas compliance with the Mining Charter and is active in stakeholder relations. SLP is the acronym for social and labour plan, a key part of a mine’s compliance with South Africa’s mining legislation. SLPs set out how a company intends to share some of the benefits that flow from mining.
Pebetse is mother to three boys, aged seven to 17. Surrounded by meant home and in the workplace, she says one of her challenges is to prove her worth in a male-dominated world.
Born in Lebowakgomo, a town in Polokwane Limpopo, Pebetse’s first job was as a store clerk at the former Lebowa Platinum mine, now known as Bokoni Platinum. She worked as a transformation coordinator for Anglo American Platinum in Rustenburg for about six years before joining Tharisa in October 2015.
“I have only been with the company (Tharisa) for a year now and have been given an opportunity to manage a team, liaise with stakeholders and work as a link between the company, municipality and government departments including the regulator, the Department of Mineral Resources. I believe that this is testament to Tharisa’s understanding and appreciation of the social initiatives that are available to transform society around the mines,” Pebetse said.
Pebetse’s role is vital to Tharisa maintaining is social license to operate. South African mining legislation under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Bill and its accompanying regulations compel producers to address the legacy issues in the industry while create value for all stakeholders.
It is through these initiatives that the country, industry and company contribute to the upliftment of all South Africans.
Litshani Sylphia Mofokeng
Litshani Sylphia Mofokeng believes women in the mining industry need mentorship. Traditionally a male dominated industry, mining has proved a difficult environment for women to make their mark. Sylphia, as she is known, currently heads up the Women in Mining (WIM) Project at Tharisa Minerals. As head of the WIM Project, is involved in the establishment of a WIM Forum, which encompasses outlining the WIM strategy, setting objectives, coaching committee members and launching the WIM Project at the Company.
“My vision is to be a successful woman in leadership to an extent that I will be a good example to others and mentor to the young ladies in the professional environment,” she says.
Born and raised in Venda, in South Africa’s Limpopo province, Sylphia was raised in a family of 15. As she was growing up she wanted to be a social worker. Married with two children, Sylphia has lived in Rustenburg since 2003.
Besides doing voluntary work at the Department of Education for two years, she started out as a secretary to the senior human resources (HR) manager Bafokeng Rasimone Platimum in 2006. There she progressed through the ranks until she was promoted to the position of HR Coordinator. She joined Tharisa Minerals as a HR Coordinator in September 2013.
“HR role is a critical role in any industry and this is the face of any company. For the fact that we as HR Professionals we have the responsibility to ensure that we attract and recruit the right skills for the job,” Sylphia says.
Her advice to young people looking to carve a niche for themselves is to equip themselves with knowledge. “Surround yourself with people who will build you up, always have a positive attitude and know your worth.”
Internships remain a powerful way of bringing promising talent into Tharisa. At Tharisa Minerals’ internship opportunities are offered to potential employees for a defined fixed term and depending on their performance, these interns are offered full time employment. That’s how Tharisa discovered 27-year old Zinzisa Mqungquto.
Starting out as a safety intern for 14 months, where she learned more about SHE and human resource development, Zinzisa now works as a full time SHE administrator responsible for the collection and collation of company data. She also serves as the Secretary of the Rustenburg Region Health and Safety Tripartite Forum where business, government and labour meet to discuss health and safety in the region.
Tharisa Minerals has also helped Zinzisa further her studies and she wrote he final examination in BTech: Safety Management in 2016.
“This would have not been possible without the financial aid that I have received from the company. Through the opportunity given to me to be a permanent employee at Tharisa, my family now also has an opportunity to have a better standard of living,” she said.
Zinzisa’s vision is to be a CEO or serve on a board of directors. “My vision is to become a successful business woman, help create jobs and assist the youth in furthering their studies, as a way of giving back to the community.”
Her advice to young people looking to establish a career such as mine or any other career is that they should love what they do.
From a shoe polisher to head of Rocasize, 37-year old Sizwe Nkontwana has travelled a long road from his home town of Kwamashu in KwaZulu Natal.
Now living in Rustenburg, Sizwe says that he wanted to bea chartered acountant when he was younger because he was very good at maths and accouting.
His strength in these areas serves him well at Rocasize where his role includes human resources, payroll, finance, procurement, marketing and administration.
The engine that runs Rocasize, Sizwe started as a Building Supervisor at the organisation, which was originally set up by Tharisa to promote local community development. Rocasize is 100% owned by the Community Trust that holds 6% equity stake in Tharisa Minerals and serves as an umbrella organisation under which various small and medium and medium-sized enterprises serving the community of Mmaditlhokwa operate.
A husband and father of two, says he values the opportunity to realize his true potential.
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