Platinum miner, Zimplats is empowering emerging businesses in Mashonaland West Province through engaging them to offer services and products.
Currently about 72 percent of all their required materials are sourced locally through engaging small businesses in their supply chain. This is being done through a three-pronged approach where manufacturers who folded are being helped back on their feet. It also involves working with small businesses to supply materials such as silica, protective clothing and engineering equipment among others. In an interview, Zimplats head of corporate affairs Mrs Busi Chindove said they are working with several small companies in the province. Some of them have been helped to grow and can now stand on their own.
“We committed ourselves from 2008 to work with local suppliers and our board gave us a target of having 60 percent of all our materials locally. We managed to meet the target in 2013. Currently we are now at 72 percent. We said we cannot flourish while other small companies are struggling,” said Mrs Chindove.
She said the target is now to have some of the products manufactured locally rather than being imported. Zimplats, she said is working with more than 10 companies with some of them comprising women only in the province. With a 5 000 strong workforce, some of the companies are supplying overalls, dust-coats and gumboots among others. One of the companies started with just three sewing machines which have since increased to 30. She implored other mining companies to grow with the communities they operate in.
“If this is replicated then it means more companies will grow and with it, the economy and the livelihoods of the people,” she said.
However, she said small companies given contracts to supply materials should uphold high levels of integrity in meeting quality and agreed time frames. She said the programme aims to boost the capacity of local companies although some of the materials have to be imported because they are not available locally. Zimplats is one of a few mining companies that are running a successful Community Share Ownership Scheme, the Mhondoro-Ngezi-Zvimba-Chegutu Community Share Ownership Trust. It has managed to surrender $10 million to the Trust.