by Warren Beech

Foreword

The spirit of resilience and innovation

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In the rollercoaster ride of uncertainty and change that seems to have become the norm in South Africa, and the world generally, there are two positive descriptions that can be attributed to the South African mining industry, and also more broadly to South Africa, and Africa—”resilient” and ”innovative”.

The South African mining industry, like the mining sector in most countries with vast mineral resources, is a barometer for how well South Africa is doing because of its significant contribution to growth, development and transformation, and how it impacts on related sectors such as construction and engineering. The industry has worked its way through some fairly tough cycles in the past and is going through one at the moment. This is reflected in the general state of the South African economy.

While the resilience of an organisation is often attributed to good leadership, this is only the starting point. The culture of resilience should be attributed to all stakeholders, including the government, business, trade unions, and non-governmental organisations. Most importantly, South Africa’s resilience should be attributed to the most critical asset of a business—its employees. The recognition and acknowledgement of the contribution that employees make can go a long way towards ensuring that business is sustainable.

South Africa is well-regarded, internationally, for providing innovative solutions to complex challenges. This is critical to ongoing sustainability and starts with the acknowledgement that the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are real, and will continue to have a significant impact on how things are done.

To remain resilient and sustainable will also take an exceptional level of maturity from all role-players and will require leadership teams to be inclusive, consultative and flexible enough to identify and respond to changes, which seem to be coming more rapidly every day. Decision-making is probably more of a science than an art and knowing when to take which decision, and who should be included in key decision-making, will be critical to effective and efficient decision-making in our fast-paced world.

In the face of ongoing political, policy and regulatory uncertainty, it is just as important, however, to develop and maintain a moral compass, which ensures that honesty and integrity form the bedrock of everything we do.

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