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Blazing a trail for women in transport to drive community upliftment

Blazing a trail for women in transport to drive community upliftment

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Johannesburg – Vallery Horing, the managing director of Loading Techniques from the mining town of Postmasburg in the Northern Cape, is paving the way for women in the transport industry after winning a lucrative contract with Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore.

Kumba Iron Ore, which operates primarily in South Africa, is the business unit of Anglo American and the leading supplier of high-quality iron ore to the global steel industry.

Horing started her company, Loading Techniques, in 2017 after searching for a business model that would benefit Postmasburg’s community members.

“The purpose of the company back then was the provision of training within the local community of Postmasburg. Training, unfortunately, did not work out, and we ultimately branched out into transportation and mining supplies,” she said.

When branching into the transport and mining industry, she noticed that it was male-dominated, and therefore the proposals they were submitting were not receiving positive responses until 2021.

Horing said: “Kumba Iron Ore advertised a tender for employee bus transportation services. We went through an extensive process of presentations to the client.”

Blazing a trail for women in transport to drive community upliftment
When branching into the transport and mining industry, Vallery Horing says she noticed it was male-dominated, and therefore the proposals they were submitting were not receiving positive responses until 2021. Picture: Supplied

After the contract was awarded in December 2021, the next challenge she had to deal with was funding the vehicles, as it was a requirement of the contract that new vehicles be introduced.

Anglo American’s enterprise development arm, Zimele, then approached Horing to apply to them for funding. Horing credits much of her success to the mentorship and funding she received from Zimele.

Zimele’s focus is on developing sustainable livelihoods within host communities, and to help create something sustainable for people living around the mines.

Zimele facilitated the loan that allowed Horing to buy four 23-seater buses and a 65-seater bus. Those vehicles transport staff within the Kolomela mine, from pits to sites, within the mine, and from offices to pits.

Loading Techniques operates five buses and employs 30 people, mainly from the community, after winning a multimillion-rand staff transport contract at Kolomela mine.

“This is exactly what was envisioned when the company was established, changing one life at a time, and ultimately impacting a whole community,” Horing said.

In terms of further contributing to the community, they are currently establishing CSI projects in conjunction with Anglo American which will be rolled out in 2023. She said this would be their main drive in terms of community-based projects next year.

When asked how she navigated through this male-dominated industry, she said: “As women, we should never limit ourselves. There are going to be ups and downs, but you have to stay the course. With faith and determination, you will surely reach your goal.”

She further encouraged women to pursue their dreams and focus on excelling in male-dominated spaces to show that women can thrive in any industry.

For Horing, the dream is just beginning. She aims to expand her fleet to include trucks that work within the mining operations in the Postmasburg area, and in so doing create even more job opportunities in the local community.

“There’s so much potential to create a business that really makes a difference to the people. I believe that by giving one person an opportunity you impact a household, and ultimately a community.”

Sunday Independent

Original Article

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