Coal and heavy minerals mining company, Exxaro, has announced that it has contributed R3,5m to President Cyril Ramaphosa's Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Response Fund in honour of Women's Month and to help fight against gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide in South Africa.
The company says it has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to GBV and is dedicated to fighting for gender equality through involvement in numerous initiatives that focus on ensuring equal representation in the workplace, celebrating women in mining and standing against GBV. Earlier this year, Exxaro’s efforts in the fight against GBV were recognised by the global community when the company was included in the Bloomberg
2021 Gender-Equality Index (GEI).
“Exxaro is a proud corporate citizen that shares society’s responsibility to eradicate GBV in our country, our workplaces, our social circles and our homes. Diversity and inclusion amongst employees, suppliers, communities and other stakeholders will create the improved lives and empowered people that we seek to enable.
"This empowerment cannot be achieved if all people don’t feel safe in their environments, and a key contributor to the absence of safety in South Africa and our industry is GBV,” said Mxolisi Mgojo, CEO of Exxaro Resources.
Exxaro’s contribution to the fight against GBV, femicide
In February, Ramaphosa launched the private-sector-led, multisectoral GBVF Response Fund aimed at supporting the implementation of the National Strategic Plan, calling on the private sector and other roleplayers to take a stand and invest in finding lasting interventions to end GBV.
Exxaro is continuing to contribute to the fight against GBV by investing R3,5m in the GBVF Response Fund. This investment will be processed through the Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA), which is managing all mining industry contributions to the fund.
The International Women’s Forum South Africa (IWFSA), backed by MCSA office bearers, will help deliver on the goals of the fund which are aligned to the National Strategic Plan that details how South Africa intends to end GBVF. Exxaro “believes that the fund presents an opportunity to work with the industry to solve a societal problem and urges other businesses to do their part in catalysing change".
Fighting GBV is a continuous exercise
In addition to its investment in the GBVF Response Fund, Exxaro has developed numerous internal anti-GBV initiatives, including the Women in Mining Lekgotla hosted by Exxaro’s Coal Central Mine, the redesign of personal protective equipment to protect women working underground and a virtual social media march where Exxaro employees took a stand against GBV.
Male employees at the resources company have also taken a stand against GBV by organising marches against inequality and voicing their concerns about this pressing issue. According to Exxaro, these initiatives are further complemented by its partnership with the MCSA and other mining companies to create an industry-wide effort to address the seven causes of the under-representation of women in the mining industry.
Executive head for HR at Exxaro, Vanisha Balgobind, said: “The world is changing in so many ways. This is the ideal time to rethink and re-evaluate how our society operates, starting with GBV. We all need to ask ourselves how we are contributing to this change?”