by Siza Mtimkulu

Exxaro's gem

Rare breed of mining executive

Exxaro chief executive officer, Sipho Nkosi
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Talking to someone of the calibre of Sipho Nkosi, a businessman of note who carved out his name in the South African mining industry, one cannot help but wonder what makes him tick.

Not only is the CEO of mining powerhouse Exxaro Resources Limited a member of an exclusive club – he appears on South Africa’s super rich list (with a net worth estimated at well over R1 billion) – but his profile equally boasts academic achievements so outstanding that it is very clear he meant business when he set out to get educated.

Nkosi holds an honours degree in Commerce from the University of South Africa (Unisa), an MBA from University of Massachussettes in the United States and a diploma in Marketing Management (Unisa). He also has an extensive background in the mining and power industries. 

With such a rich background in academia, it is little wonder his major concern about the Marikana tragedy last year and the ensuing uprising that rocked the mining industry is about the lack of education and a good value system in general. “Employing people without a proper education and skills has to stop,” he says sternly, adding that his job as a leader is “to encourage people to follow the right path and lead them toward the right kind of values.” 

Exxaro is currently exploring new ways of investing in education, in the skills that are required specifically in the mining industry. So far, artisan programmes are already taking place at Eskom.

Nkosi says it is more urgent to create jobs quickly than to be stuck with black economic empowerment or nationalisation. A critical issue for him is whether we are tackling the right debate. He points out that the ANC took a position not to entertain nationalisation and replaced it with the Reconstruction & Development Programme as well as the Growth, Employment & Redistribution policy, for example. With unemployment so high, he feels that education needs to be addressed urgently.

Read the rest of this exclusive article in the next edition of Black Business Quarterly, coming out at the end of March 2013.

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