Case Study: South Deep Gold Mine.                                                                        

Phungwayo People Development Resource, the company for which I am the executive member, in partnership with South Deep gold mine, had signed a service level agreement (SLA) for the training of their health and safety representatives on the occupational health and safety representatives skills programme at South Deep gold mine. Whilst the above contract was still in force and effect, another SLA for the training of about 3,460 underground employees on hazard identification and risk assessment (HIRA) was signed. The HIRA contract was agreed to start in February 2016 until March 2018.

Shortly after commencement of HIRA, and after identifying the need for behaviour change in the mine, I introduced the principles of ‘Will to do’ and designed what I called, “Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment: Z-Approach” in addition to the mine's control measures that were in place. I immediately set my vision out as follows:

In this place where we are, the only face that you cannot see, is that of YOU.
All hazards shall be identified, except for those of providence.

In November 2017, South Deep gold mine achieved one million fatality free shifts. At the time, Phungwayo People Development Resource had trained 1433 employees or 41.4% of the target. It could then be said that the control measures that were put in place by mine management had accounted for 58.6% of employees who had not yet been trained.

On Friday, 17 November 2017, our South Deep mine in South Africa achieved one million fatality free shifts. It took 273 days to reach this milestone.

“This is a clear indication that we can operate South Deep without injuring our people and that ZERO HARM is achievable,” says Martin Preece, EVP: South Africa

“The only way we can continue to build on this achievement is to maintain an uncompromising attitude towards safety and ensure that it remains our first and most important value. We are very mindful that past performance does not guarantee future successes and as we improve, we recognise that maintaining and improving performance will require even more dedication, commitment and hard work.”

Martin adds that South Deep is committed to doing what it takes to ensure that it achieves its next milestone and celebrates two million fatality free shifts on its journey towards ZERO HARM

My greatest achievement could be watched from a 3-minute video clip by copying this link to browser:

I’m also helping people to:

Create a vision
Get a vision come true
Change habit, attitude and behaviour

I’ve read and understood that often times my father attempted to sow love. As he scattered the seed in the field, millions of seed could not reach out for the fertile soil. However, at the right time and place, only one seed out of millions scattered in the field was able to reach out for the fertile soil. How fortunate this seed was! My mother was eager, willing and happy to indulge with my father in the field. She nurtured and nourished the fortunate seed as it began to grow. After nine months of tender loving care, the grown seed ripened and dawned.

I’m the love of my father and mother; and fruit of their desire. The fact that, amongst millions of seed scattered in the field, I was the only one to breakthrough and be delivered to life, means that, in this world, we are all fortunate to have broken through to our life.

My being aware of myself as a human being commenced when I was three years of age. We lived at a farm in the then Orange Free State (Free State) of the then Union of South Africa (Republic of South Africa). Mohloki, our next door Neighbour boy and I were born both in the same month of the same year; so my mother told me later in life. I remember so vividly one morning when Mohloki and I were told by our mothers that it was then time for us to stop suckling. At that time, Mohloki was wearing a red coloured blanket and I was wearing a light blue coloured blanked. Mohloki started to cry when his mother told him to stop from suckling and right there and then, he demanded his mother to breast feed him. His mother refused. She went for a nearby bitter aloe and smeared her teats to taste bitter. Mohloki cried vehemently as he left the teats and banged himself to the ground continuously. I stood there watching Mohloki. I did not cry but I turned to my mother and told her that I would no longer want to suckle. When my mother told me later in life that Mohloki and I were three years of age when we were both stopped from suckling, I discovered then that I was three years of age.

It was in the middle of my second year at high school when my father confided, with tears rolling down his face, and told me that, due to financial constraints, he could no longer afford to let me finish my high school education. I felt a cold chill run through my spine, but quickly gathered enough courage. Inwardly, I was haunted by the thought that, if I miss one year, the students at my class would be ahead of me the following year, despite the fact that I was the brightest boy in our class. I refused to allow the unfortunate situation to overtake me. I resolved that when the school closed for winter holidays, I would go to Germiston and visit my aunt for the duration of the holidays, look for work at the factories in Wadeville, and come back when the school reopened. I did just that. My aunt and I then agreed that I would continue to visit her every holidays until I finished my high school education. I subsequently did that.

I remember one day during my fifth and final year at high school when we were given, as usual, a mathematics homework assignment. Our teacher would always refer to his “Student Mathematics Project (SMP) Book” which had questions and answers but no methods of getting to the answer. Students were using the same book but with only questions and no answers. After handing back to students their homework books, our teacher would then work out every single question on the board for students to check their answers.

There was this one question which our teacher could not work out its answer. He tried several times to solve for it but still could not get it right. Eventually he remembered that there was one student in the class who managed to get 100% in his homework assignment. He asked for that student to please come forward to the board and explain how he got it right. I stood up and went to the board and explained each and every single step which lead to the correct answer. For me to get this question right, I had worked throughout the night and only managed to break through to the answer at about 02:00 A.M. It reminded me of my primary school days when I used to do well in Arithmetic, shortly before the advent of Mathematics.

Finding the kind of work I was looking for in the factories was not easy until someone advised me to go and look for work in the mines. I went there reluctantly but I am glad I did. Pursuing tertiary education was my primary goal. My ambition was fulfilled when my employer identified me amongst thousands of other employees as a person who had great potential, and who needed some conditional assistance to study further. This time I had already been married to my wife whom I had met during my high school days.

I graduated first at the Institute for People Management (IPM) for a three-year diploma; but which I completed after six years of part-time study. The following year, I graduated at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate School of Business (GSB) after one-year of full-time study in management. My motto in helping people to break through their barriers is, “You don’t have to be a ‘doctor’ or ‘professor’ to be able to kick the ball past a goal-keeper or goal posts. Stay focused, be creative and score another goal.” My ability to speak six of the eleven South African official languages has aided me to understand, appreciate and respect other peoples’ cultural values.

During the time when I was still employed, my tenacity, creativity and initiative enabled me to gain great insight into my employer’s corporate vision, culture and its operations, which resulted in my exceptional performance at every work I was meant to do. These values and the love of my work enabled me to move through the ranks up to management level.