Iron Lady of manganese takes on mining’s big boys

first_imgDaphne Mashile-Nkosi is the owner of a multimillion-rand manganese mine in the arid Northern Cape town of Hotazel and one of a handful of women in South Africa’s mining industry. Battle-hardened by her experiences in the struggle against apartheid, she’s not afraid to tackle those who stand in her way.Daphne Mashile-Nkosi is not only a successful businessperson but is also an activist for women’s rights. (Image: Kalagadi Manganese) Shamin ChibbaHotazel, as its name suggests, lies on an arid savannah in the Kalahari region of the Northern Cape, the scorching sun beating the dusty plains. Dominating the town’s landscape is a massive, nondescript plant: the Kalagadi Manganese Mine, said to be the largest in the world, but also one of the most eco-friendly.Standing on the top floor of the site’s seven-story sintering plants, which processes the manganese ore, the mine’s owner Daphne Mashile-Nkosi, known as the iron lady, looks out over the arid landscape. She recalls the time she and her now late husband, Stanley Nqobizizwe Nkosi, got the land.“Before we built the mine, this was a game farm,” she said. “When my husband and I approached it, there was a locked gate. The farmers wanted to put the dogs on us.”The Nkosi’s eventually received their licence to prospect for manganese in the Kalahari Basin in 2005 and started what is now a R7-billion venture. Mashile-Nkosi is the chief executive and founder of Kalahari Resources, the holding company for the Kalagadi Manganese Mine in Hotazel.For well over a century South African mining has been dominated by white men, so it is rare to find a black woman among the major players in the industry. “The mining industry has not been an easy road, especially for a black woman,” Mashile-Nkosi said at the 2014 African CEO Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, where she was named CEO of the Year.“I have persevered and succeeded in surmounting the many obstacles that have been placed in my path. Where there is no pain, there is no gain.”But Mashile-Nkosi is not all business. She is also involved in women’s rights and upliftment, and environmental sustainability. She is a trustee and the chairperson of the Women’s Development Bank Trust and chairs the Women’s Development Bank Investments Holdings.At her speech in Geneva, she counted these as her successes, part of the work that earned her the award. That award, she said, “also acknowledges that an African woman can make her mark in the historically male-dominated mining industry.”The Stanley Nqobizizwe Nkosi Sinter Plant at the Kalagadi mine that processes the manganese mined in the area. (Image: Kalagadi Manganese)The making of a woman minerIn 2001, Mashile-Nkosi and her husband established Kalahari Resources with the intention of mining manganese on the game farm. The opportunity arose from new mining legislation designed to bring historically disadvantaged individuals, especially women, into the industry.The mine has brought some relief to an impoverished part of South Africa, creating up to 3 000 jobs in the Northern Cape. And it looks after the people in those jobs: Kalagadi has on-site accommodation and state-of-the-art ablution facilities. According to Mashile-Nkosi, the mine first completed a prefeasibility study through JSE-listed construction firm Group Five to determine the housing needs of its workers.In an interview with Leadership magazine, Mashile-Nkosi said women employees at Kalagadi are treated as equals to men, and often have high-level responsibilities. “We have ensured that women are given meaningful and critical roles at Kalagadi Manganese – especially in the fields of finance, geology and engineering.”Kalagadi has an estimated 960-million metric tons of manganese as deep as 340 metres underground. The plant’s advanced mining and processing machinery allows it to produce as much as 2.4-million tons of manganese per year. Mashile-Nkosi said the life of the mine could be more than 300 years.The mine unearths some 3-million tons of ungraded ore a year, 38% of which is made up of manganese. The sintering plant then processes ore and dust into a high-grade agglomeration known as sinter, 47% of which is manganese, which is then ready for the smelter.Resilience born from the struggleBorn in Pilgrim’s Rest in Mpumalanga, Mashile-Nkosi grew up in a poor household that included two brothers and a sister. After completing her schooling in 1976, she became a committed anti-apartheid activist. Her experience of the struggle cemented her determination to develop black communities and women to this day.She was a founding member of the Detainees Parents’ Support Committee, which in the 1970s and 1980s gave moral and material support to families of detainees and political prisoners. She was also involved in the formation of the United Democratic Front in 1983, chaired the Soweto sub-region of the ANC Women’s League, and was later the general-secretary of the Soweto branch of the South African Communist Party.In 2008 Mashile-Nkosi’s battle-hardened attitude served her well, when her husband died. He went to Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg to treat a pinched nerve in the neck. But according to reports, poor nursing and a botched throat operation left him choking to death. She worked through the trauma well enough to take on the mining business on her own and turn it into a multibillion-rand venture.Her steely personality came to the fore again during a dispute with Kalagadi’s major shareholder ArcelorMittal. The steelmaker had not fulfilled its funding obligations. Kalahari Resources took them to the South Gauteng High Court and won the case, forcing the steel giants to pay R285-million within five days.In that time, Mashile-Nkosi did not succumb to the pressure of the court battle, and thanks her resilience. This trait, she told, are the qualities of a leader. “She rates resilience, self-motivation, tenacity, courageousness, vision and patience as her strengths,” said the writer.Source: Kalagadi Manganese.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Financing Your Next Startup As An Uber Driver

first_imgRelated Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… This means that not only will you be picked up in a Toyota Prius or Volkswagen Jetta instead of a Lincoln Town Car, but you’re also going to have a non-commercially licensed driver.A Taxi Driver Who Really Isn’tLike the driver who took me from Palo Alto to Mountain View for a lunch meeting last week.When I met my driver outside my office, I immediately said to him, “You don’t look like a taxi driver.” If anything, he looked like a typical Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Which is exactly what he is.As we drove, we started talking about why he drives for UberX. It turns out that he’s killing time while he waits for his non-compete to expire. Yes, really. (#onlyinSiliconValley) His partner didn’t love him sitting around the house watching TV, so he tried to think of ways to productively use his time while scouting out his next startup opportunity.Enter Uber.On a good day, my driver grosses as much as $1,100, and nets perhaps $700 to $800. That’s real money. Uber pays its UberX drivers 85% of the stated fare (According to Uber driver Peter Ashlock, it’s less for Uber’s full sedan service, in part because Uber also gives a cut to the limo companies that employ the drivers). So for my UberX driver, he took home ~$22 of the $26 I paid Uber. That adds up.Driving For The Contacts, Not The MoneyIt’s not really about the money for this UberX driver, though. As he related to me, he has managed to gather a wealth of contacts through his time as an UberX driver, including co-founders and investors for his next startup. While not everyone that gets in an Uber is a VC or executive, there’s a hefty concentration of the very people my driver, or you, might want to connect with for a startup. And while most people probably prefer to network through other channels, my driver was definitely not typical. Even as a driver, I suspect he’s well above-average. For example, rather than just sit at the airport and wait, he told me he checks flight schedules to see when flights from other Uber markets (Boston, NYC, etc.) are due to land. He figures there will be a higher concentration of Uber customers on those flights, and he’s generally right.He also scopes out ideal pick-up spots like the Four Seasons in Palo Alto: the hotel serves affluent customers and is within walking distance of virtually nothing, making it a near-requirement that its clients leave the hotel by rental car or taxi. He chided other drivers who finish a drop-off, turn off their cars and just wait for the next ride, putting little thought into optimizing their position to be close to the next likely passenger.Funding Your Startup With UberIn other words, my driver wasn’t a typical Uber driver. Most probably don’t make $1,100 per day, because most likely put less thought into how they approach their job. Similarly, most Uber drivers are unlikely to fund their next startup through passengers they meet while driving.But this isn’t for lack of opportunity. Uber is a great way to reach a captive, highly qualified audience. Rather than dream about your next startup, perhaps you should start driving.Or doing something else outside the box. My UberX driver is indicative, perhaps, of what should be a trend away from traditional venture funding and the traditional routes thereto. If an UberX driver can get funding and co-founders while driving around Silicon Valley, so can you. Or maybe you have another idea. Just don’t keep hiking up and down Sand Hill Road.UPDATE: The original post incorrectly stated that Uber gets “roughly half” of an UberX driver’s fare. That was inaccurate and conflated the pay received by an UberX driver, who contracts directly with Uber, and an Uber driver, whose employer (a limo company) contracts with Uber.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Have a cool startup idea, and want to get it funded? You could go the traditional route, blindly sending your pitch deck to every VC in Silicon Valley. Or you could follow investors on Twitter, hoping that through casual badinage you can win the hearts (and eventually, the wallets) of your startup’s money source. Or maybe, just maybe, you should drive for Uber.UberX Lowers The BarYes, Uber, the popular mobile app that connects drivers with people who need a lift. Founded in 2009 as UberCab, Uber has become the go-to app for hailing a sedan in markets like San Francisco, New York City and London. And while historically Uber operators have been commercial sedan drivers filling time between jobs their employer provides them, Uber’s introduction of UberX in July 2012 has opened the service to cars and drivers of all kinds. Matt Asay Tags:#startup#Uber 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

PUCL demands repeal of ordinance on immunity to public servants

first_imgThe People’s Union for Civil Liberties on Saturday demanded repeal of a controversial ordinance which has made public servants immune against investigation and barred the media from disclosing their names until prior sanction is granted for their prosecution. The PUCL has also decided to challenge the ordinance in the Rajasthan High Court.The ordinance, promulgated on September 6, attempts to silence the media and prevent the judiciary from exercising its function of setting the criminal law in motion. “It’s alarming that the intention was to prevent at the very threshold any possibility of investigation being ordered by a magistrate when the evidence was prima facie brought before the court, PUCL State president Kavita Srivastava said.Addressing a press conference here, PUCL national vice-president Radha Kant Saxena said the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Penal Code brought through the ordinance went against the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lalita Kumari’s case, 2014. The judgment had dealt with both cognisable and non-cognisable offences committed by public servants.The apex court’s Constitution Bench had held that an FIR has to be lodged and investigation initiated by the police officer on the complaint about a cognisable offence. In the cases of non-cognisable offences, the investigating officer is empowered to initiate a preliminary enquiry and seek the court’s direction to obtain sanction for prosecution.Mr. Saxena said the ordinance was meant to neutralise the Supreme Court’s ruling as well as the state government’s own circular of 2015 by removing the power of police to initiate even a preliminary enquiry. “Why has the ordinance made provisions to keep everything under wraps and equated the public servants with victims of crimes such as rape in order to keep their identity discreet?” he asked.The amendments, he said, were superfluous and unnecessary as Section 197 of Cr.P.C. already provides protection to public servants by making it mandatory for a court to take cognisance against them after getting the government’s sanction. Instead of cognisance, the amendment refers to the word “investigate”.The PUCL said the ordinance would make it impossible for the public to make complaints against and bring to justice not only the corrupt government officials but also those involved in the offences such as custodial death, firing on crowd, torture of innocent people and violation of human rights. “Is it the intent of the ordinance to shield guilty officers in the run up to the 2018 Assembly elections?” asked Ms. Srivastava.While pointing out that no pre-legislative consultation was carried out before promulgating the ordinance and its information was suppressed, the PUCL demanded that the ordinance should not be placed in the Assembly session beginning on Monday for replacing it with a bill.last_img read more

Tonight AFROs First Edition with Sean Yoes Thursday October 13

first_imgListen at WEAA Live Stream: 5-7 P.M.The latest on Donald Trump’s imploding campaign connected to ongoing allegations of sexual harassment against him. We’ll talk to Kaye Wise Whitehead, author, public intellectual and professor at Loyola University, as well as Navasha Daya and her husband Fanon Hill, both musicians and community activists. And tonight WEAA begins its Fall Membership Drive…so please call and make your pledge of support for First Edition…410.319.8888!These stories and much more on AFRO’s First Edition with Sean Yoes .last_img read more