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Meet Vezinhlanhla Mining’s founder and CEO, Prince Vusimuzi; a businessman with drive, determination, and an eye for an opportunity

Vezinhlanhla Mining is a 100% black youth-owned entity which combines experience, versatility, and innovation to service the mining sector in a sustainable manner.

Founded in 2017 by the founder and CEO of the Vusimuzi roup, Prince Vusimuzi, Vezinhlanhla Mining is a turnkey business which specialises in the underground and opencast contract mining value chain, with its service offering focusing on coal, gold, iron ore, manganese ore, manganese alloys and platinum group metals (PGMs) producers.

With a strong focus on promoting sustainable partnerships and relationships with clients, and a commitment to health, safety, quality, and environmental management standards, Vezinhlanhla Mining works towards continuous improvements in risk management to better deliver project excellence.

”The name of the company is derived from my daughter, Vezinhlanhla, which can be translated to ‘show your luck’. We have our roots in Mpumalanga, though we operate throughout the SADC region.

I was born in Nhlazatshe, near the town of Badplaas, but grew up in Leandra, a small town in Secunda, Mpumalanga. Growing up, I wanted to be an Electrical Engineer, but I was unable to complete my education after taking responsibility for the household. The journey was not easy, and while some people want to be in their comfort zones, some of us want to do something daring,” Prince says with a sense of pride.

Doing the right thing in business

Now in its seventh year of operation, Vezinhlanhla Mining has become a well-known brand across the provinces surrounding Mpumalanga’s borders, as well as South Africa’s SADC neighbours. This is as a result of investment in branding and marketing initiatives to help grow the entity’s visibility of the services on offer to the mining industry.

While their marketing strategy has been a huge success, what really counts for the success of Vezinhlanhla Mining is its policies and standards when it comes to doing business, which is built on the following:

  • Black Economic Empowerment Policy: Vezinhlanhla Mining is committed to broad-based black economic empowerment, and supports the government’s initiative of transformation and affirmative action policies. ”The entity initiates projects with material and equipment sourced from black SMME companies, thus speeding up the process of empowering small business enterprises,” Prince explains.
  • Community Development Plan: Vezinhlanhla Mining’s overarching objective is to train its staff and community undergraduates. They are given the opportunity to further their studies in the field at Vezinhlanhla Mining.
  • Empowerment of Women, Youth, and Disabled Persons: Vezinhlanhla Mining has ensured that more women are brought on board to strengthen the capacity of the business. Youth are also employed by the company in order to pass on the skills to the next generation, while a bursary scheme will be introduced for students from 1 March 2024 to further their studies. ”Vezinhlanhla Mining is conscious of the need to develop a culture where there will be no discrimination against disabled persons, hence it will seek to find, train, and employ disabled persons with potential and enthusiasm,” Prince insists.
  • A High Quality Standard: Vezinhlanhla Mining strives through dedication and professionalism to provide the highest quality of consulting services for the benefit of the community and the environment.
  • Safety First: Ensuring the safety and well-being of their employees is of vital importance to Vezinhlanhla Mining. As a result, they go the extra mile to ensure that their employees always have their safety wear on. With hazards such as poisonous fumes always present, the mining environment poses constant potential health threats, so it is of the utmost importance that safety is seen as a priority.

Inside the South African mining sector

Mining is a notoriously difficult industry to make your mark in, which means there will always be ups and downs on the journey to success.

One of the most prominent challenges is securing partnerships, which Prince believes is often scuppered by other businesses which are only looking to enrich themselves, rather than going into working relationships with the right intentions. This gives the smaller players a bad name.

Prince says: ”It should be noted that while many mining companies offer opportunities through different programmes, there are some SMMEs that are in it just for the money. Yes, we all need money, but what my fellow SMMEs really need to focus on is having solid execution strategies, which is critical for sustainable growth.

”Companies such as Fraser Alexander, WBHO, JEDD, Blue Mining, Murray and Roberts, and Redpath tend to dominate in many areas and are awarded contracts because they are good with execution strategies.”

Another challenge comes in the shape of the so-called ‘forums’, which Prince believes is destroying the opportunities the mines want to give out. The forums involve the communities around mining activity which seek involvement in the operations.

”Most of the forums are based on self-enrichment; not for the community. Some people don’t want to use the platforms the mines have put in place for available opportunities but want things to be handed out on a silver platter just because they are door-step communities. If things don’t go according to plan, it is important that proactive engagement takes place as opposed to a knee-jerk reaction of blocking roads to cease operations, which in the end negatively impacts everyone,” Prince explains.

”Lastly, financial literacy is also important in this industry if you want to stay competitive and consistent. The mining companies do work with communities and offer seminars on pricing, RFI, and tender selection processes, which are very helpful.”

On the subject of financial literacy, Prince believes that all contracts should stipulate a period of training around the financials for SMMEs. This is an issue he intends to champion going forward.

A leader mining for success

All good leaders are focused on what is important to their business. This is often referred to as the ‘big picture’.

For Prince, he admits that he has always been someone who is able to see the ‘big picture’—and that is standing him in good stead as he looks to lift Vezinhlanhla Mining to new levels.

”As a founder and CEO of the Vezinhlanhla Mining, growing up with a business mindset has taught me to be able to see the ‘big picture’ in a variety of settings and this enables me to take action to enhance the company’s cash flow while keeping the human factor in perspective.

The goal remains to drive Vezinhlanhla Mining and guide it towards long-term success,” he avers.

”I want to see us growing in strategic collaborations and partnerships as we aim to bring our expertise and innovative solutions to the mining sector.”

With all the stress that comes with the job of being a leader, it can often be difficult to remain motivated to reach the strategic goals of the business.

To stay motivated, Prince believes that the right course of action is to trust in those around you and listen to their input, as this will not only keep you pushing forward, but will also improve you as a leader.

”It is important to put the right people in place for the job, and not to guarddog them. Instead, one should get feedback from your staff about your leadership skills in order to learn and grow. It also helps to be as technically sound as possible in your operations,” Prince explains.

A parting word on the future

The question of the future is always a tricky one to answer for any leader, especially with all the variables at play in both the business world and the mining sector.

For Prince, however, he is very clear on his goals for the company and how he can go about achieving them.

”By God’s grace, we see joint ventures as the future; there are investors who want to unlock opportunities for the youth in South Africa, but they need people with great technical capabilities to execute those operations from small-scale mining. I’m 31 this year and my goal is by the age of 32, that my team and I will reinforce our position in the market, not only as a 100% black-owned mining contractor, but as a reliable and competitive independent producer, starting with those 0.1% holding stakes,” Prince concludes.

And we look forward to seeing just what is possible for your entity in the future.

By Editor