Aah-nnual Reporting – Don’t get caught unprepared!

It is that time of the year again when most companies must comply with their reporting requirements per DMR regulations, be it SLP or mining charter related. This is quite an interestingly frustrating time as it is characterised by aahs and oohs particularly as companies are not prepared for the delivery of carefully tracked implementation initiatives against their Social and Labour Plans and therefore often do not know where to even start with the writing of their reports.

For over a decade now, compliance requirements have been inconsistent between DMR offices and mining companies, as such there exist no clear rule as to the format of your annual SLP report. Despite having to repeat the same process year on year, MTS has not seen a significant change in the learning curve of our clients in respect of the delivery of the various sections of the report. One can speculate as to the reasons thereof, one being the plethora of reporting requirements for a department – say for example Human Resources/ Training where similar reports need to be submitted to DTI, DoL and DMR, each with a slightly different focus area, albeit using the same data set. As consultants, we are often exposed to the frustration caused by the various reporting deadlines, underpinned by the pressure experienced by employees to deliver the reports on top of the pressures of their daily deliverables.

The general assumption throughout industry is that bigger companies cope much better during annual reporting time as they have better processes and resources. However; this is not always the case since industry remains reporting focussed where there is an annual review of progress achieved across a confusing array of non-business critical elements. Our more progressive clients view their SLP/ MCSC/ DTI requirements as a critical tool for the implementation of the social sustainability/ transformation agenda and as such have gone through quite some effort during the year to implement, monitor and report on their various SLP commitments.

To help you prepare for your SLP Annual Report, we have listed a couple of these best practise learnings from our engagement with industry:

• Familiarise yourself with the necessary reporting legislation (DMR, DTI, DoL);
• Familiarise yourself with your company’s SLP and reporting periods;
• Allocate adequate resources (human and financial) to deliver SLP undertakings across the mine/company throughout the year;
• Engage with a robust process to develop internal milestones and strategies to achieve success during the year (RACI structure is helpful guide implementation initiatives);
• Engage with current business processes/ ways in which you have always done business to determine whether there are any inherent barriers to successful implementation;
• Keep a Portfolio of Evidence to support your implementation;
• Track the progress against SLP targets regularly and manage risks across your organisation; • Hold regular SLP Forums to facilitate communication on SLP issues;
• Keep in close contact with the DMR to build a relationship; • Invest in a reliable data management system within the company;
• Utilise monthly/ quarterly reports to develop well informed annual SLP Report/ MCSC.

Although the above tips will not work miracles on ill performance due to non-compliance, they will surely take the aah and ooh out of the annual reporting process. The secret is to always be prepared well ahead of time as well as to view the SLP and Mining Charter processes as part of the day to day running of the business; it is a risk to your mining right after all!!

By Nothabo Tshuma (Transformation Consultant-MTS)

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