As South Africa celebrated Youth Month on 16 June – 44 years since the historical uprising against an oppressive learning regime – we recognise young women making a tangible impact in the mining industry. Women like, Cebisile Majola, a 29-year-old Environmental Practitioner at Exxaro Coal Central.
“Straight after completing my BSc degree (Life and Environmental Sciences with specialisation in Environmental Management and Geology), I applied for a geology trainee programme at Total Coal South Africa and soon after entering the room, I realised I was being interviewed for a position in Environmental Management. Two hours later, I got the job, and the rest is history,” she recalls.
Exxaro’s ongoing investment in young women in mining has been a catalyst for hard workers like Cebisile. Through robust bursary, graduate, and professionals-in-training (PIT) programmes, Exxaro continues to prioritise and empower female employees, while upholding diversity.
As of 2018, female employees made up 22% of Exxaro’s workforce, with 43% female trainees in their Professionals-in-Training (PIT) Programme, 33% of bursaries awarded to women studying full-time in engineering and mining disciplines, and a 35% female share in their learnership and internship feeder schemes.
Leaders in powering possibility in the environmental sector, Exxaro’s recent environmental highlights include achieving a B score in the 2019 CDP, receiving a management-level score for taking coordinated action on climate change, improving environmental provisions by over 200%, and ensuring all mines have concurrent rehabilitation plans approved.
In a powerful parallel to frustrated young people fighting for what’s right in the City of Gold over four decades ago, a once “tiny Joburg girl” is taking huge strides as Deputy Chairman of Exxaro’s Women in Mining Committee, Coordinator of the Forzando fire team, and, of course, as an accomplished Environmental Practitioner.
“What a time to be alive as a woman in the mining industry! I believe we are what we put our minds to. So, dream big and then back it up with hard work,” Cebisile concludes.