Focussed support for communities Venetia Mine General Manager Gerrie Nortje explains how a Community Response Plan is coordinating efforts in water provision, food security, health and safety in labour-sending areas.
Venetia Mine General Manager, Gerrie Nortje
BIOGRAPHY Gerrie Nortje began his career with Anglo American in 1997 as a bursar studying Mining Engineering. On completion of his degree, he worked at various Anglo American Thermal Coal operations before becoming Operations Manager at Xstrata. He rejoined Anglo American as Principal Mining Engineer and transitioned into a Lead Open Pit Mining role in 2014 as a member of the Technical and Sustainability team. At head office he was involved with a variety of projects across the group’s business units.
What is the Community Response Plan? As a responsible corporate citizen and a long-term committed partner in the communities where we operate, we, as Venetia Mine, are actively and urgently supporting the efforts of the communities in our labour-sending areas during the Covid 19 pandemic. The Community Response Plan (CRP) helps us focus our efforts in addressing the most urgent needs first, while ensuring that where possible, projects benefit the communities over the longer term. Some of the support we have provided includes: • Provision of food: donation of food parcels to indigent households, hospitals, homeless shelters and GBV centres. • Water: the provision of water tanks, repair and maintenance of water infrastructure and the upgrading of infrastructure to sustain the supply of water to communities. • Hospital and clinic support: providing much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals and clinics, and providing hospitals with medical equipment including two ventilators. • Gender Based Violence: providing victim empowerment centres with hygiene packs for victims, communication material and posters and upgrading some of the facilities • SMEs: remote support to small businesses in dealing with the impact of the lockdown on their businesses and supporting them to apply for government-funded support programmes. • Testing facilities: making sure that our facilities are all available. The CRP is a living plan that changes as we navigate through the pandemic. Some of our contracting partners (Total and Sandvik) have agreed to support a small farmer rural development programme aimed at capacitating 500 small farmers in our host communities. What has been the impact on the number of people who work at the mine at any one time? We started developing and implementing measures to protect our employees and contractors since the pandemic became a public concern and we continue to enhance and improve these controls. Key to these measures is the education of our workforce on how the virus spreads and equipping them with the right information to continuously do the right things to protect themselves and others. A number of things had to be considered as we started to ramp up production:
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