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Ms H Matseke

Chairperson

Appointed 14 August 2015

 

Message from the  Chairperson

 

Introduction

 

We, the board, whose credentials appear on pages 12 to 14, undertook a comprehensive review of the business, which indicated that the Company’s operational and financial performance needs to be placed on a firmer footing than it currently is. This review was conducted across the entire value chain of the business, to address structural challenges that have impacted performance over time.  Building on the varied and effective steps taken to contain operational costs in recent years, the objective of the proposed action was to create a safe, sustainable, competitive and profitable business for the long-term benefit of all our stakeholders.

 

In order to achieve the above, it was necessary to align baseline production with long-term demand expectations and focus on a high-quality portfolio of assets, to produce diamonds on an economically sustainable basis, both on land and marine operations. Overheads have been reviewed and reduced while a new organisational design is in the process of being developed to ensure that the operations are appropriately supported.

 

Our commercial strategy has been revised to guarantee value and stability for diamonds and its customers, while also examining our participation in other mineral exploration and supply, including thermal coal to have a diversified portfolio.

 

PSJV

 

Alexkor continues to ensure that the PSJV is operated within a sound governance framework and on commercial terms, through both oversight by management of its activities and Alexkor board representation on its board. Alexkor has fulfilled most of the Deed of Settlement conditions, the remaining conditions are at the final stages of implementation.

 

External environment

 

The external environment in which the Company operates, not only impacts the way the Company relates to external stakeholders, but it also changes the focus of the work of the Company. At the global level, economic recession and the slow-down in growth have led to changes, reduced demand for industrial commodities, including precious gemstones such as diamonds. However, the weak exchange rate compensated for reduced production and demand.

 

Domestically the South African economy experiences high levels of poverty and unemployment. These realities drive policy requirements, and have placed job creation and economic growth as the highest priorities for all public sector organisations.

 

Socio-economic development

 

Alexkor’s CSI initiatives are focussed on the social upliftment and development of local communities in the Richtersveld. Our Company invested a significant amount on various community corporate social investment initiatives which included partnerships with schools and community organisations.

 

We are proud to announce that one of our flagship youth enterprise initiatives, aimed at developing commercial diving skills locally was successfully completed.  This resulted in our sponsored candidates completing their Class III diving course at a reputable diving school in Saldanha Bay. These individuals now have the opportunity to gain expert diver and business skills, in an on-site workplace exposure programme under the supervision of experienced marine contractors.

 

As a further initiative to enhance the education transformation process in the Richtersveld area, the mine partnered with local schools by sponsoring salaries of teachers with the emphasis on mathematics and science.

 

At the PSJV, a further amount of R 2 523 437 was spent on various social responsibility initiatives such as transportation, donations to charities and partnership with schools and other local community organisations.

 

Our six bursary students from the various provinces are progressing well with their studies, with one student having successfully completed her studies, graduating in April 2016 with a Mechanical Engineering Degree from the Vaal Technical College.

 

During the year under review, an amount of R 1 033 514 was invested by the PSJV on training and skills development initiatives in line with our skills development plans.

 

Looking at the year ahead

 

Alexkor will continue to optimise its current assets and ensure expenditure is managed prudently as we embark on the execution of the new strategy alluded to.

 

Appreciation

 

On behalf of the board, I take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to all parties who have worked closely with Alexkor and assisted us in our quest to fulfil our mandate.  Our success as an organisation would not have been possible had it not been for the constant engagement, feedback and support of all our stakeholders.

 

I am particularly indebted to our shareholder representative, the Minister of Public Enterprises, the Honourable Ms Lynne Brown (MP), for her unconditional support and wise counsel at all times to myself, the board and the management of Alexkor.

 

The community of Richtersveld deserve our gratitude and appreciation for embracing and working side by side with us in ensuring that we create a sustainable future for all of us.

 

I am especially grateful to my fellow members of the board for the dedication they have displayed in guiding Alexkor on the right path.  Their collective support and wisdom have contributed greatly in steering this ship to the right direction.

I specifically wish to thank Dr Paul for his sterling contribution and wise counsel to the current and the previous board over the past nine years, as his final term of office expires on 30 September 2016.

 

Our Chief Executive Officer, Mr Percival Khoza resigned effective 31 March 2016.  The board thanks him for his contribution to the Company.  Mr Vimal Bansi, an independent non-executive director, was appointed as the Acting Chief Executive Officer with effect from 1 March 2016 to ensure a smooth handover process. After two successive Acting Chief Financial Officers, Ms Tsundzukani Mhlanga and Ms Adele Small, the Company has pleasure in welcoming Ms Ntombizodwa Mbele as Chief Financial Officer effective 1 April 2016.

 

Last but not least, I wish to thank Alexkor’s executive management team and all our committed members of staff for their hard work and dedication during the review period. I look forward to a fulfilling 2016/17 financial year in striving towards contributing to the sustainable and economic development of all our stakeholders.

 

 

Ms Hantsi Matseke

Chairperson

26 July 2016

 

 

Reg. No. 1992/006368/30.   Incorporated by Act No 116 of 1992.

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