Going the extra mile in extending our culture of care

Our people are the heart of our organisation, and as such, their safety is our top priority. We work tirelessly towards our vision of an injury and illness-free workplace where every employee goes home safe and healthy.

The starting point for achieving this vision has been our BBC programme, which began in 2010 at our Letšeng mine. The name reflects the heart of the programme, which is a desire to care for one another in a manner that reflects a family model, taking responsibility for your brother or sister’s safety as well as your own. The programme commenced at the operation’s executive management level and was gradually implemented throughout our operations to the operator level. Over the years, this programme has taken root in the hearts and lives of all those on the mine, and we have seen the fruits extend well beyond the mine. Wherever possible, the mine seeks to provide medical care to the communities surrounding the mine.

Being a brother’s keeper means taking responsibility for all team members and ensuring that they work safely. This care has become a part of the very essence of the people who work at Letšeng and will continue to bear fruit in the future both in safety performance on the mine and in the care extended beyond the mine.

In late July 2016, extreme weather conditions were experienced across the Maluti Mountains in Lesotho where the Letšeng mine is located, with excessive snowfall and severe winds limiting access to the mine. Letšeng provided accommodation and food to approximately 250 community members impacted by these life-threatening conditions. The assistance provided to these community members was given without hesitation despite the fact that it placed massive pressure on resources allocated for those working at the operation. It is a true testament to the pervasive culture of care that is such an inherent part of the Letšeng team that no inconvenience or sacrifice was too great to make this happen.

The mine assists, when necessary, those travelling along the A1 road that forms part of the journey to the mine. In fact, during 2016, Letšeng responded to 14 motor vehicle accidents between Oxbow and Mapholaneng. One of these accidents involved a two-year-old boy, Lefa Molupe and his grandmother, Maboithatelo Tšita, both from Ntlholohetsane in the Mokhotlong area, who were rushed to the Letšeng clinic. Maboithatelo had sustained minor injuries, but Lefa was in a critical condition upon arrival at the clinic. While working to stabilise Lefa, the clinic radioed the Lesotho Defence Force to arrange an air evacuation to the Mamohato Memorial Hospital for further treatment. However, the helicopter could not land due to inclement weather. The boy was then transported by the Letšeng ambulance to Botha-Bothe (75km) where the helicopter had landed. Having received the correct treatment, Lefa made a swift recovery and was out of ICU in two days and was released from the hospital four days later.

Lefa and his grandmother later visited the mine to thank the clinic staff personally.

“I want to thank the Letšeng mine from the bottom of my heart. The doctor, the nurses and everybody at Letšeng showed us unimaginable compassion at the moment when I had given up hope. I don’t have words to describe my gratitude because I don’t know what I would have done without their assistance,” said Maboithatelo.

Article in the Sunday Express newspaper.