What skills does an SLP manager need today?

Transformation is failing in many cases due to a lack of skills among the SLP managers as some mining companies appoint junior personnel who find themselves out of their depth. The result is that transformation is not a main focus item in the company’s business strategy.  The key reason why many mining right holders continue to struggle to fulfil the transformation regulations, particularly the Social and Labour Plan (SLP) and the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) requirement is their inability to find the right skills at the correct level in the organogram of these mining companies.

This position should be held by a senior manager (Paterson D level or above) to ensure sufficient weight is behind the process. The SLP/Transformation Manager should be able to convince management to seriously commit to socio-economic transformation beyond merely ticking the boxes.  Transformation should form part of all business processes and should not be a key focus only at times of reporting/verification.

The ideal candidate for your company’s SLP manager vacancy should at least possess two or more of the following skills: Human Resources (HR), Local Economic Development (LED) and LED Project Management, Community Liaison, Union Management, Contractor Management, Procurement inclusive of Supplier Development and Closure and Retrenchment.  The candidate should also have excellent financial management, project management and communication skills, particularly mentoring/coaching skills and will require sound knowledge and practical experience in the comprehensive use of IT skills.

The candidate should further be able to define undertakings and targets in each section of the SLP into a user-friendly summary with indications of the commitment, action plans, expected outcomes/deliverables, person(s) responsible, target dates and financial commitments.  The candidate should further be able to align all associated SLP planning with the requirements set forth by the DTI under B-BBEE (Sector Charter Scorecards or Generic Scorecard or QSE Scorecard) to ensure targets/strategies are aligned and achieved under both legislations.  It is further crucial for the candidate to be up-to-date with legislation changes (as and when they occur) to ensure compliance throughout the business cycle.

The incumbent should ensure that the SLP is in an easy-to-use format for a variety of audiences (management, employees, unions/workers reps, the DMR, Department of Labour, etc.) and should be utilised to identify any gaps in action plans, responsibilities and funding.  The SLP Manager should further be required to distribute the summary widely and to conduct workshops wherever possible with the relevant contributors and stakeholders.

A good SLP Manager strategises SLP commitments at mine level which also need to be regularly (at least yearly) updated and amended in line with changes in the mine’s business plan. They should be able to identify the key stakeholders from the region where the mine operates and include relevant municipalities (local and district), the communities, other mines within the area and relevant businesses and suppliers. An ability to train and mentor should also be a key consideration.

Whilst there is so much to the job scope of the SLP Manager, the onus remains on mining companies to not only find the best suited candidate in the pursuit of sustainable and compliant transformation going forward but also to equip the incumbent with the appropriate authority and mandate to drive such delivery.

In our opinion the success of transformation is dependent on reducing poverty and inequality and making the economy more inclusive. Mining companies therefore have a responsibility to facilitate and drive transformation to rectify the inequalities of the past through the correct placement, support and capacitating of appropriate internal transformation ambassadors.

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