Statistically recorded, in times of crisis violence against women and girls increases, which explains the heightened rates of reported violence in the past few months in South Africa and around the world.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, every three months of lockdown around the world during the global pandemic may have resulted in 15 million more cases of domestic violence than would typically be expected. In South Africa, one in three women experience domestic violence, and the rate of femicide (the killing of a woman by her intimate partner) is five times higher than the global average.
In response to this, the Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA) launched a campaign to address sexual harassment and gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa's mines and mining communities – several months ago. As a leader in the mining industry, Exxaro is a proud corporate citizen that embraces its responsibility to promote gender equality in the workplace by not only supporting the MCSA campaign, but also having a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to GBV.
Over the past weeks, the company has hosted a series of activations across its mines to raise awareness about GBV and galvanise positive change among its employees and within the communities that it operates.
One of these activations was a Women in Mining Lekgotla, hosted by Exxaro’s Coal Central mine (ECC). Business Unit Manager at ECC, Daniel Stapelberg, explained the significance of the event in bringing people together to face the shadow pandemic.
“As a South African man, husband, and father, I am not proud to wake up to the news that there is a man, husband or father who has killed their partner or children. This is the ugly truth that we are too often confronted with. We must teach our daughters and sons to walk away from situations that are not conducive for their safety, security, and wellbeing. I fully support the role of women in the mining industry. Our society needs healing, and I am grateful that I work for a company that creates a safe space for women to thrive. Exxaro is very deliberate and intentional about the inclusion of women in our business, be it as employees or business partners.”
The men of Exxaro’s Matla mine also raised their voices to stand in solidarity with women and girls. They shared messages to encourage their communities to join Exxaro in calling for zero-tolerance against GBV and acknowledged that promoting gender equality must be a key focus throughout the year, not only during the pandemic.
At a virtual event honouring woman in mining, Ronaldt Mafoko, General Manager at Grootegeluk, shared this powerful message: “Equality in the workplace has never been more relevant than it is today. Not only is it a powerful multiplier of innovation and growth, but it drives creativity and inspires a sense of belonging. Therefore, Exxaro is committed to championing a culture of equality all year round. Regardless of their gender, all our employees should be empowered to be their best, professionally and personally.”
Exxaro is dedicated to keeping women’s rights and equality issues at the top of its agenda, which drives its commitment to a comprehensive Diversity and Inclusion Framework. The framework is more than merely compliant but treats diversity and inclusion as critical to strengthening external relationships and creating real business value.
Mxolisi Mgojo, CEO at Exxaro, explains, “We are passionate about integrating women empowerment programmes into our policies and processes to enable the development and succession of women. Looking ahead, Exxaro will continue to drive regional, collaborative platforms that create mechanisms to drive large-scale socio-economic development initiatives through public-private partnerships. Promoting gender equality and ending gender-based violence should be priorities for every business in South Africa, 365 days of the year.”