Lamatsamo Holdings

December 2022

Governance is the internal system of practices, controls and procedures a company adopts in order to govern itself and comply with the law. This includes Ethics, Diversity and Inclusion policies.

Fortunate Shongwe set out on an emotionally and physically taxing path, determined to change the narrative in the Carolina community of Mpumalanga. Race and gender should never dictate a person's aptitude or employment preference. For as long as anyone can remember however, that has been the "way of the world". Fortunate "hit it head on," graduating in Industrial Engineering and later founding Lamatsamo Holdings. The diverse company, which she founded solely out of her passion for gender equality, supports the Carolina Business Employment and Training Centre, her non-profit organisation (NPO).

The NPO, the first of its kind in Carolina, has changed the narrative by dismantling barriers imposed by gender exclusion in the workplace. Fortunate acknowledged that neither her success nor that of the NPO's was easy. She has had to deal with several obstinate men, spending many days in court arguing about gender, youth, and race inclusion. The intention is not to imply that these men were knowingly evil, but the lack of inclusive education and age-old barriers resulted in the community of Carolina's mining town being oblivious to the efforts of others in the journey towards achieving an inclusive society.

Fortunate is – as she views herself - a faithful servant and the voice of the voiceless. She insists that others judge her solely on her abilities, as she advocates for black women in the mining industry. In sowing the seed of servanthood, where women have been empowered through the company and NPO, from 2015 – 2020, favour returned in double blessings in 2020, as Lamatsamo was catapulted to play in the big leagues of the mining industry. Lamatsamo has ventured into agriculture to develop its value chain within the Vryheid community. A glimpse into the future reveals the potential of hydroponics and aquaponics farming and Agro Energy, which combines agriculture and energy to produce renewable and sustainable energy from sunflowers. Fortunate hinted at the possibility of dealing in biodiesel. As a short-term goal however, she aims to make coal from the forest on her dairy farm in Mpumalanga as early as February 2023.

Fortunate is the epiphany of a successful entrepreneur; breaking down barriers and laying the groundwork for future entrepreneurs, is a generational mission she has taken on. Fortunate's motivation to always do more, stems from the community's success stories, such as: one of her first students who received a bursary and graduated to become a medical doctor. "Passion Pays." Fortunate's statement rings true as she continues to advocate for women and youth employment, providing training in business as well as entrepreneurial skills and collaborating with mining companies for learner sponsorships.

The allure of the financially driven corporate world is quickly fading as global communities turn to smart investments for the future, with a focus on corporations that prioritise stakeholders. Investing in younger ESG-focused start-up companies can be lucrative. Although adopting a more stakeholder-oriented approach might not yet be profitable, it may possibly deliver significant financial returns and social value in the future. The combining of Environmental, Social and Governance to make ESG is where the "magic" truly happens for organisations.

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