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The authority on gender empowerment in business for nearly 20 years.

“Perseverance is the key to success” — Lee-Ann Samuel, Group Executive: People at Implats.

“Perseverance is the key to success” — Lee-Ann Samuel, Group Executive: People at Implats.

Written by Staff Writer

September 14, 2021


“Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in. And, when you stumble, keep faith. And, when you’re knocked down, get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t go on.”  — Hillary Clinton, politician and lawyer 


Lee-Ann Samuel, Implats Group Executive: People, has obtained notable achievements during her years in the industry, including being awarded HR Practitioner of the Year while at Nedbank. She was also awarded the African Award Association (SARA) Reward Practitioner of the Year Award while at ABSA, and SARA Reward Strategist of the Year while at Goldfields. She holds a BA Psychology degree and an Honours degree in Political Science – both from the University of Johannesburg.


Lee-Ann on social responsibility initiatives:

“I support the Ebenezer Hannah Home in Grasmere, Johannesburg, which is a non-profit organisation caring for underprivileged children and destitute people.  I regularly visit the home and spend time with the children. I also support the home financially and every Christmas we make Santa shoeboxes for the kids and host a Christmas party for the home.  I’m also a volunteer at KCC Kids Saturday School, a registered non-profit organisation focusing on the basic educational needs of children from impoverished areas of Rabie Ridge, Ivory Park and Tembisa. We provide extra maths and English lessons to the children. 

“On a personal level, I support homeless people who stand at the traffic lights in the area close to my home. I know all of them by name and they know me and most Sundays after church I take them lunch and I provide them with a monthly allowance. I also give them medication when they are not feeling well.” 


Her five tips on surviving and thriving in business: 
  • See challenges as opportunities 
  • Don’t be afraid to fail – take risks, make mistakes, learn, and grow
  • Don’t enter the workplace as a woman, enter as a person to showcase your expertise   
  • Don’t ask for special treatment, ask for a level playing field 
  • Believe in yourself – the fundamental key to success in business is self-belief and women are naturally known for underestimating their abilities.


How have you implemented gender driven development in the workplace?

Implats is committed to gender mainstreaming, defined as the intentional advancement of women in the workplace and the establishment of plans and policies designed to give effect to this in a sustainable manner. Gender diversity is a business priority, ranging from setting targets to holding leaders accountable for results. The main focus is in addressing all areas where women are underrepresented and to close the gender gaps in retaining, hiring, promotions and pay. We started employing women underground in 2004 and targeted employment of women at entry level with the aim to develop and promote from within.   

Our skills development programmes aim to create a pipeline of young diverse talent, with specific focus on increasing women representation and succession planning to ensure advancement within the various career paths.  

Our training programmes reflect a significant increase in intake of women at tertiary education level and in-house training opportunities with the aim of presenting more opportunities for women in core and critical occupations. Mentoring is also a great way to build confidence in junior employees and programmes are implemented to up-skill women on identified training programmes and succession planning. 


How has gender empowerment strengthened your organisation?

Achieving gender equality is important for workplaces not only because it is ‘fair’ and ‘the right thing to do,’ but because it is also linked to economic growth. The presence of women promotes gender equity in the industry, and they contribute to the available workforce that directly feeds the economy, so their inclusion has a noticeable socio-economic impact. The economic empowerment of women will also have a positive impact on their immediate families as women have been excluded from full participation in the country’s economy given the restrictive and stereotypical roles to which they were subjected. 


What are your organisation’s gender equality and BEE ratings and policies?

Implats is committed to gender mainstreaming. Our policies and procedures are aimed at contributing to sound employee relations, attracting and retaining talent and ensuring the continuous development of our employees, while offering opportunities for career progression with a particular emphasis on women. 

We have taken decisive steps to improve our approach to creating an environment conducive to gender equality and to addressing barriers to the employment, retention and the advancement of women. The focus is addressing all areas where women are under-represented and to close the gender gaps by retaining, hiring and promotions. 

We made good progress in our 2020 financial year in promoting equitable representation at all levels at our South African operations. At year end we had 179 females in management positions (22%) across the Group (153 in South Africa). 

At our South Africa operations, women made up 12% of our total workforce, with 9% in the core disciplines of mining, engineering, projects and metallurgy. At Implats board level, female representation increased from 38% to 46%.


What are the current and future trends in your sector?

A key objective in the mining industry is to have sufficient representation of women at all levels. This is supported by the inclusion of targets in the Mining Charter III and the publication in 2020 of the Minerals Council South Africa’s White Paper on Women in Mining to streamline the industry’s strategies to advance women in the industry. We support this intervention and continue to collaborate with the Minerals Council, the government and organised labour, to promote gender diversity and inclusion at all levels in the workplace.


How are you using social media to create more business?

Besides our external-facing social media platforms, we have implemented an employee engagement app which is enhancing our ability to reach all our employees with information that is critical for an informed, unified, motivated and performance-driven workforce.

It is helping to ensure that employees who were previously not connected to the business are empowered with information on business strategies, goals and targets so that we are collectively working towards one common purpose.


How are you integrating the drive for sustainability into your organisation? 

Implats is committed to playing its role in the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, supporting the government and working with other stakeholders to build thriving communities. Our initiatives aimed at achieving ESG excellence are aligned with and build on our ongoing commitment to the UN Global Compact and its 10 principles, to which we have been a signatory since 2008. Implats has identified and prioritised 11 sustainable development goals where we believe we can have the most meaningful impact. Through our core activities and collaborative efforts to build capacity in our communities, we are making a valuable contribution to meeting national and global developmental objectives.


What skills do you think leaders of the future are going to need?

Through our “Leading the Implats Way” development programme, we have defined the leadership competencies that will provide Implats with leaders who don’t just seek to maintain our current performance but strive for sustained continuous improvement as the Company grows and adapts to the future of mining. Our leadership development programmes aim to empower Implats’ leaders to strategically shape and drive the transformation and growth of the business, grounded in our culture of care and performance. Our future leaders will develop the insights and skills to further entrench the Implats Way, to lead with an innovative mindset, to examine strategic thinking and tools for execution, and to develop the important skills of a leader as a coach.  


Impala Platinum Holding Limited (Implats) is a leading producer of platinum group metals (PGMs). Implats has six mining operations and the toll refining business, Impala Refining Services. Its mines are located on three of the most significant PGM deposits in the world: the Bushveld Complex in South Africa, the Canadian Shield in North America and the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe. Implats’ mining operations include Impala Rustenburg, Zimplats, Marula, Impala Canada’s Lac des Iles, Mimosa and Two Rivers. The group’s head office is in Johannesburg.

Implats employs more than 50 000 people, including contractors, across its operations. At the end of its 2020 financial year, Implats had available PGM mineral resources of 277 million 6E ounces and mineral reserves of 47.8 million 6E ounces. Group-refined PGM production for FY2020 was 2.8 million ounces, which included 1.3 million ounces of platinum, 900 000 ounces of palladium and 200 000 ounces of rhodium. The markets for the group’s products are primarily South Africa, Japan, China, the US and Europe.

The company’s vision is to be the world’s best PGM producer, sustainably delivering superior value to all its stakeholders.



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