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Free State Business 2022

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FOCUS Harmony builds

FOCUS Harmony builds strong community relationships Covid-19 has highlighted the need for collective action. Environmental, Social and (Corporate) Governance, or ESG, has come to be one of the most important indicators which big firms and groups must factor into business decisions in every part of the globe. In both South Africa and Papua New Guinea where Harmony is active, stakeholder relations assume the utmost importance. Stakeholders can include a diverse set of groups and entities, including: • host communities • suppliers and business partners • national and local governments • investors and shareholders • industry peers • local and international media. Harmony’s Executive Director for Corporate Affairs, Mashego Mashego, describes the importance of these relationships. “Harmony believes it is crucial to build trust and maintain positive relationships with all its stakeholders,” says Mashego. The company’s approach is aimed at partnering with stakeholders, creating a win-win situation. Says Mashego, “Stakeholder engagement is the principal mechanism through which Harmony manages and addresses a wide range of expectations and perceptions. Through proactive engagement, we are able to identify, prioritise and better manage any potential material socio-economic risks and opportunities. “The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for collective action, which revealed our interdependencies and also strengthened our relationships with one another. The quality of the relationships with stakeholders and how well these are managed affect our ability to deliver on our strategy. “Improving the quality of these relationships protects our social licence to operate, supports the success of our business strategy and creates shared value for all our stakeholders,” Mashego concludes. Community forums The issues and concerns raised by communities are addressed through the established community forums. The forums are in constant engagement with Harmony’s dedicated stakeholder engagement managers and corporate affairs team. These community forums consist of representatives from municipalities, traditional authorities and local business forums. Their purpose is to share information with communities on progress being made on project implementation, to establish their needs and expectations, and to try to manage their perceptions of what Harmony can deliver. “This initiative has had a largely positive impact on our community stakeholder engagement,” reports Mashego. FREE STATE BUSINESS 2022 36

FOCUS Programmes Harmony has launched an incubation programme for businesses in host communities in South Africa, specifically targeting 100% black-owned, women-owned and youthowned businesses for the supply of products or services. There were106 applications, 34 ultimately being approved for the full threeyear incubation programme. Harmony’s health department also supports the broader company’s strategy for targeted enterprise supplier development (ESD) by providing opportunities for companies that are from the host communities to participate economically in the operations. Creating sustainable shared value Mashego reflects on the concept of shared value: “We understand that the dynamics and the needs of communities are ever-evolving and so any meaningful and sustainable socioeconomic development we pioneer and implement requires far more than a onedimensional approach. “Our approach to socio-economic development is multi-faceted and our projects implemented include: • Infrastructure, education and skills development, job creation and entrepreneurial development • Enhancing broad-based local and community economic empowerment and enterprise development initiatives • Facilitating socio-economic development in local communities by means of our social and labour plans, and our corporate social responsibility programmes support arts, culture and sports and recreation, and • Building relationships based on trust with our host communities, the basis of which must be transparent dialogue and the delivery of mutually agreed promises. Community projects Harmony showed compassion and care with the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020. Mashego remembers, “The health and safety of our people took precedence and as such, we made decisions that ensured the continued viability of our company and its stakeholders, further demonstrating that Harmony has a positive impact.” Harmony was at the forefront of delivering food parcels, washable face masks and care kits to all host communities in Gauteng, Free State and North West. In addition, nine local historically disadvantaged suppliers were empowered through the procurement of these essential items. Community Trust The Community Trust owns 5% of Tswelopele Beneficiation Operation (TBO), which is also known as Phoenix, a mine dump retreatment operation in the Free State, and has some 4 400 000 Harmony preference shares The Community Trust is involved in similar projects to those mentioned above and was formed to properly govern funds allocated to projects. TBO pays out dividends twice a year. The preference shares pay R8.8-million each year for 10 years, starting in 2019. Thereafter, the preference shares will convert into ordinary Harmony shares. ■

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