Call for women mine bosses

choice: Khanyisile Kweyama is a favourite for Chamber of Mines president PHOTO: Geoff Brown
choice: Khanyisile Kweyama is a favourite for Chamber of Mines president PHOTO: Geoff Brown

AS THE Mining Indaba in Cape Town begins today, there is a push to replace the current Chamber of Mines president and its chief executive with a black female leadership.

There are members who feel current president Mike Teke should step down in favour of a woman and most members are in favour of his deputy, Khanyisile Kweyama.

The chamber is scheduled to hold its annual general meeting in May, when a decision will be made on whether Teke should stay.

Teke last week told Sowetan that he would comment on the matter only after the Mining Indaba.

The chamber has since its inception 125 years ago never been led by a woman and some feel it is time for change.

When approached for comment, the chamber's outgoing chief executive Bheki Sibiya, who confirmed he was stepping down, said the organisation was ready for a black woman president and black woman chief executive.

He said he was "excited about the prospect of the chamber electing its very first woman president in the foreseeable future".

"I will support a black woman candidate to take over the running of the chamber," he told Sowetan.

The Sibiya supporters in the chamber appear to be throwing their weight behind Kweyama, who is also the executive director of Anglo American SA.

It is unclear, however, whether a black female president and chief executive would not be a case of "same script different cast".

After Teke was elected the chamber's first black president in 2013, with Sibiya as his CEO, the mining sector was rocked by a strike that lasted five months, the longest in post-apartheid SA.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) treasurer Jimmy Gama said the majority union in the platinum sector was not bothered by the chamber's leadership changes.

"Amcu is serving the interests of workers and focuses on issues like working conditions and pay rises, while the chamber is looking after the interest of the employers. We will never have a common understanding on issues.

"They want to see employers making more profits, hence we are not interested in their succession battles," Gama said.

National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni could not be reached for comment.

 

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