The art of caring

Marcia Klein

Marcia Klein

Mining magnate Bridgette Radebe says the country needs compassionate capitalism activists and must align business imperatives with social development.

Radebe, the chief executive of Mmakau Mining, said last week that: "The politicians have conquered, but it is the economic activism role I don't see."

She said while there was some activism, such as the role played by the Black Management Forum, "there is no vanguard of activists" in an era where South Africa needs compassionate capitalism.

At Mmakau, and through her association with the Junior Mining Chamber, the New Africa Mining Fund and the Minerals and Mining Development Board, her focus has been on creating empowerment models in rural areas.

Mines, she said, had traditionally explored, exploited, exported and left ghost towns.

But mines could still focus on shareholder value and return on investment while addressing socio-economic conditions in the areas they operated in to leave viable small businesses behind.

"Today's legislation is seeking to address the broader issues. It encourages mining investors to ensure they have a social and labour plan," she said.

Radebe said the models used in South Africa were being shared globally. Initiatives include grouping mining producers together so they can share infrastructure including roads, housing and schools.

One thing that still irks her is that there are not enough "agents for transformation".

Mining remains predominantly about the extraction of wealth and there is "too much conspicuous consumption".

She said while there was nothing wrong with companies seeking international listings, "to what extent will they forget about investing in SA?".

The New Africa Mining Fund, which is supported by major mining and financial institutions, has raised funds to support exploration by junior and small miners. The fund is also lobbying for a resource bank, like the Land Bank, for mining finance.

It is hoping government will redirect royalty money to the resource bank.

Radebe has also successfully negotiated for a four million ton entitlement for 18 small producers at Richard Bay Coal Terminal.

She has been involved in the development of legislation including the petroleum development bill and the mining charter and royalty bill.