Ivanhoe Mines
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt

Kgalema Motlanthe, a former President of South Africa, has joined the board of project developer Ivanhoe Mines as a non-executive director.

Ivanhoe Mines executive chairman Robert Friedland welcomed Motlanthe’s appointment, saying his leadership experience would bring a new dimension to strategic evaluations, consensus building and decision making by the Ivanhoe Mines board.

“Motlanthe is widely recognised as one of the African continent’s wise men,” Friedland said.

“His experience in some exceptional leadership positions, spanning more than 40 years of business, political and social transformation, will add an informed and invigorating perspective to the Ivanhoe Mines board’s business guidance.

“We are honoured to be able to welcome to our board an individual with such respected credentials in the international community but also with substantial experience in the mining sector. Motlanthe’s commitment to secure tangible benefits for people and communities through the development of natural resources complements our dedication to delivering broad, shared benefits from the construction and operation of our three principal projects in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Motlanthe currently heads the Motlanthe Foundation that is dedicated to a range of public-benefit activities, including conflict resolution, the promotion of human rights and democracy and the provision of care for pre-school-age children, along with buildings, equipment and educational support for public primary schools. He also led the African Union’s recent Election Observer Mission to Sierra Leone, which found that last month’s Presidential run-off election was conducted in line with international standards.

Motlante’s history at a glance

Motlanthe was President of South Africa for a period between 2008 and 2009, and then served as Deputy President from 2009 to 2014. He was Deputy President of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) from 2007 until 2012, and Secretary-General of the ANC from 1997 to 2007.

His role in the international movement against South Africa’s apartheid system led to a 10-year prison sentence on Robben Island, the same jail where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. Following his release in 1987, he worked for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and became the union’s General Secretary in 1992, succeeding Cyril Ramaphosa who had helped to build the union and make it one of the most powerful in the country.

During his 10 years with the NUM, Motlanthe was credited with helping to establish the Mineworkers Investment Company, which was wholly owned by the NUM and made investments in companies that did not pose a conflict of interest for the union.

Motlanthe played a crucial role in forming the Mineworkers Development Agency, which dealt with the developmental and social needs of retrenched miners and their families. He also helped to form initiatives to provide bursaries to miners and their dependents, as well as education and skills training.

Ivanhoe Mines CEO Lars-Eric Johansson says Motlanthe’s knowledge and experience will be a significant asset for Ivanhoe Mines. “Our board of directors and executive team will look to his insights and advice as we work toward the production of minerals from operations that continue to meet sustainability objectives and help to support the social and economic ambitions of our host nations.”