Fronting causes an obstruction in transformation and is also a barrier to women empowerment in various sectors, including the mining sector.
This was said by the Executive Manager of Investigation at the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Commission, Ms Moipone Kgaboesele. Kgaboesele was speaking during a virtual Women in Mining Dialogue that was hosted by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), in partnership with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) and Proudly South African.
According to Kgaboesele, the B-BBEE Commission as a regulatory body received a total of 909 cases from June 2016 to 31 March 2021. She said a large number of complaints relating to mining during 2016/17-2020/21 came from males at 75,38%, and only 24,26 % from women.
“We are inviting women who are afraid to come out and complain about fronting to contact the B-BBEE Commission and opt to remain anonymous. The commission will take the matter further. We are also committed to fast-tracking measures for misrepresentation cases for immediate cancellation of contracts where there is fronting,” said Kgaboesele.
She added that the commission can offer free training for people who do not understand the environment of fronting. She advised those who are confronted with opportunities and cannot recognise if the opportunity is legitimate or not to contact the commission. She gave an assurance of the commission providing advice and fighting fronting.
The Chief Director of the Projects and Programmes Management at the DMRE, Ms Elizabeth Marabwa said women’s participation in the mining sector is not a privilege but a right. According to her, procurement in mines should offer low hanging fruits for women to access.
Marabwa 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 will promote transformation in the country.
She said that the most important advantage of the mining sector was that it is mainly located in the rural areas where there are more women, and they can effectively take the opportunities offered by the mines.
“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.
She reiterated the government’s commitment to bring together stakeholders for women to hear about the opportunities in the mining sector, and urged women to stand up and take advantage of these opportunities.
According to Senior Deal Maker of Mining and Metals at the Industrial Development Corporation, Ms Lebogang Motsepe, women have been a key focus group of the IDC’s developmental agenda for several years.
Over the five-year period to 2019/2020, the IDC injected a cumulative amount of R11.7 billion into women-owned and empowered businesses, with more than 90% of these investments having been directed to black women 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 due to the generally high capital investment requirements of mining operations.