Mining tycoon Bridgette Radebe urges local women
South Africa’s leading woman mining tycoon Bridgette Radebe says there is need for the establishment of a specialised resource bank that will focus on the mining sector as a way of enhancing and growing it.
Radebe was speaking at the inaugural Women in Mining conference held in Gaborone on Friday. According to Radebe, though there currently existed other facilities like the New Development Bank BRICS (NDB BRICS), formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank - set up as an alternative to the existing US-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund and to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the five emerging markets - there is need for the establishment of a resource bank or segment that will solely target the mining industry.
According to Radebe, because mining is currently at the top of most African countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP), there was need for African countries to mobilise each other and push for the realisation of such dream. This, she says, can be done through grouping each other and petitioning some of the largest multilateral banks to make provision of such a bank.
Radebe was of the view that it was high time that the mining sector, lucrative as it is, started generating income for the continent that will not be shipped out by foreign investors but be invested back into the continent for its betterment. “It breaks my heart to see countries with booming mining sectors whose citizens still live in poverty,” she said.
Meanwhile, Radebe motivated the women of Botswana to seize the current opportunity to venture in the mining industry. “With so many minerals yet fewer mines, the mining sector here is still not saturated. Please I urge you to look for opportunities and make use of them,” she said.
She posited that though the mining sector by itself is deemed to be traditionally reserved for men; women have managed to break the glass ceiling and are making it big in the industry worldwide. Radebe said as the first black mine owner, being a woman worsened her stumbling blocks towards success but she nonetheless persevered and made it. “I defied constitution and victimisation and told myself that if I can’t do it with them, I will do it better,” she said.
Radebe started small as shareholder in a small mine in the 1980s; managing individual shaft mining operations and producing materials for the larger mine operations in South Africa while working under a contract. She later started Mmaku Mining, a mining firm which initiates explorations and helps to produce platinum, gold and chrome.
She is the President of the South African Mining Development Association and her husband is South Africa's Minister of in the Office of the President Jeff Radebe. She is also the member of the New Africa Mining Fund and serves on the Sappi Board. She has openly criticised the "capitalist mining model" because in her view it does not empower citizens. She is the sister to multibillionaire mining magnate Patrice Motsepe.