SAWIMA, the South African Women in Mining Association, demands that mining giants Anglo American and Exxaro unlock an estimated R65 million in dividends from a BEE deal they were supposed to receive over the past 15 years.
Nineteen members of companies which are part of Sawima and the association’s investment arm, Sawimih, South African Women in Mining Investment Holdings, gathered at the recent Mining Indaba.
They were trying to get answers from Anglo and Exxaro executives, but haven’t received any.
They handed over a memorandum to Anglo and engaged with Exxaro.
Anglo-American concluded the BEE deal in 2005, worth a reported R9 billion at the time, with various companies and organisations.
Sawima has a 0.4% stake in the deal and Sawimih 0.5%, according to Anglo American’s documents outlining the deal.
Exxaro took over the administration of the deal in 2006 and is still managing it.
Sawima and Sawimih member Nomfundo Mpuntsha says:
“We’re talking about very poor women-led companies from around the Western Cape who yearn for a report on their investments, which was supposed to help them access finances to mine. But nobody is mining.”
“We’ve received no reports of dividends due to us from Anglo or Exxaro.
"We want answers from them and MainStreet333," she says.
Mainstreet333 is Exxaro’s BEE partner and responsible for distributing the dividends on Exxaro’s behalf.
Mpuntsha says Exxaro told them Mainstreet333 claimed their shareholding structure was messy.
“It boggles the mind that MS333 would have us in a consortium, only to discover anomalies with the shareholding structure when we are demanding that the dividends be paid”.
“I am disappointed and shocked at the utter disdain and arrogance of Exxaro, its lack of transparency and total discard of corporate governance. The company is morally bankrupt. There’s no ethical leadership”.
One of the would-be beneficiaires, Gloria Ngqobo, looked forward to mine stone and sand in Kalwerskraal near Malmesbury and sand close to Durbanville, but “they’re lying empty”.
“I feel so frustrated. They’re playing with us, we’re poor,” says the unemployed Ngcobo, who receives a R1 800 pension.
Another would be beneficiary, businesswoman Neila Safodien-Shah, says: “I never received a cent from my investment in Sawimih”.
Her dream was to mine granite and iron ore.
Safodien-Shah left her job at a bank in 2005, excited to take part in new opportunities in mining, but ended up bitterly disappointed.