The Minerals Council South Africa and its members have joined hands with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Gender-based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) Response Fund to support gender-based violence (GBV) response centres in mining communities.
This comes as the country is experiencing a surge in murders, attempted murders and assaults against women.
A memorandum of understanding signed by the parties will focus on supportive work with the NPA’s Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) of which there are now 62 across the country, near mines or in mining and labour-sending areas.
The TCCs offer integrated services of immediate care and counselling for victims, including collection of evidence and case managers that aid with a quicker prosecution process.
During the announcement of the partnership on December 2, in Rosebank, mining companies Glencore Alloys, Anglo American, Impala Platinum (Implats), Sedibelo Resources, Seriti Resources, Exxaro Resources, South32 and Sibanye-Stillwater, as well as consultancy Fraser Alexander all pledged to support the NPA’s efforts through the TCCs.
In particular, Anglo has committed R1-million to the cause and to building two TCCs in the Waterberg region, in Limpopo. Implats and Seriti also pledged R1-million each in support of the TCCs.
Sedibelo plans to sponsor the cost of a new TCC in Pilanesberg, in the North West.
The NPA, GBVF Response Fund and Minerals Council are committed to seeing a TCC present in every mining community in the country, while Department of Mineral Resources and Energy chief director Elizabeth Marwaba has confirmed she is trying to get GBV mitigation and support for victims initiatives to become part of mining companies’ social and labour plans.
The TCCs not only serve to secure a higher conviction rate for GBV offenders, but also help affected women and children to get shelter and access to economic opportunities, since economic empowerment lies at the heart of women's independence from abusive partners and workplaces.
The Minerals Council says the intention of the partnership between the three entities is to streamline and facilitate the involvement of the mining industry in providing support and resources to TCCs, as part of an organised contribution to help any person who experiences GBV.
Minerals Council president Nolitha Fakude likened action against GBV to that of an individual lighting a candle in a dark room, with more light present as more candles are lit up. She says many mining companies have programmes and initiatives to address GBV and femicide at their operations, however, these matters are a fundamental problem within the communities in which employees live. The partnership effectively extends interventions in GBV beyond mine gates.
Fakude affirms that the council is in it for the long run with the NPA and the GBVF Response Fund, in support of the National Strategic Plan, which envisions more than 300 TCCs being created.
The GBVF Response Fund is responsible for providing advice and strategic guidance to the partners, assisting them with identifying opportunities and providing technical support to mining companies participating in the partnership. The fund will also assist in managing the funds for chosen projects.
A partnership advisory board will soon be set up, comprising two members of the NPA’s Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit, two from the GBVF Response Fund and eight from the Minerals Council and participating mining companies.
The board will meet every quarter to assess projects and partnerships.