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Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore tackles social issues

Gamagara Community members and stakeholders during a peaceful demonstration and march against GBV. Picture: Supplied

Gamagara Community members and stakeholders during a peaceful demonstration and march against GBV. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 2, 2023

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THERE is an array of social ills that South Africans must contend with every day: poverty, endemic unemployment, gender-based violence (GBV), and drug and alcohol abuse are daily occurrences.

In collaboration with non-profit organisations, Families South Africa (FAMSA),Tshantsabane Alcohol and Drug Services (TADS) and LoveLife, Anglo American’s Kumba Ire addresses different social issues, including men's health, road safety awareness, food shortages and GBV.

Gamagara and Tsantsabane Local Municipalities have been working with Kumba's Kolomela and Sishen mines since 2012.

Kumba's mission is to build thriving communities where it operates, and the company has supported thousands of vulnerable men, women, and children suffering from rape, loss, abuse and neglect.

Kumba’s Executive Head of Corporate Affairs, Pranill Ramchander, explained that it is essential that they work closely with their non-profit organisation partners to build awareness and support in dealing with the issues confronting communities.

“Our immediate focus has been on young people and families, but most of the challenges are interrelated. We can’t deal with community health without looking at community safety; these are challenges of great complexity that require very integrated interventions,” said Ramchander.

The NPOs possess the community relationships and insights, and each deals with specific areas. FAMSA's focus is on social and family health, while LoveLife focuses more on youth.TADS focuses on substance abuse and dependence. By getting them to work together, and with the support of Kumba’s resources, they’re better able to start building healthier communities.

The collaborations have also seen a focus on men’s health and well-being in communities where men traditionally don’t speak about their challenges. A recent prostate cancer awareness outreach saw more than 110 men screened for prostate cancer. Through Kumba's partnership with the Northern Cape Department of Health, Ulysses Gogi Modise (UGM) wellness clinic expanded HIV-related services and primary healthcare to include prostate cancer screenings.

During the Kolomela cancer awareness week, which was held in 2022, they partnered with the pink cancer truck in Postmasburg - mammograms, pap smears, breast examinations, ultrasounds, male rapid cancer screening and voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) services were made available to the community. During this campaign, the mine helped 167 members of the community.

In light of the recent spate of accidents in the community that resulted in several deaths, LoveLife is also collaborating closely with the authorities in the area on an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of road safety.

Ramchander stated that suicide rates among the youth have dropped in the community in recent months as the NPOs provide more free psycho-social services. An increasing number of young people are visiting LoveLife's Siyathemba Youth Centre, which shelters them from drug and alcohol abuse and ushers them towards a more positive environment.

“It’s early days, but we’re seeing steady progress. The important point is that silence is no longer golden. For too long, people have kept quiet about GBV, abuse against vulnerable communities and social challenges. Silence hides violence, and that is why we need to break the silence. That’s the only way we’ll start building real thriving communities,” said Ramchander.

Kolomela_ GBV Drama Therapy