Sometimes in life you just have to take a leap, and as the great Wayne Gretzky once said, 'You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.'
Jomo Khomo and his wife, Kefilwe are a living testimony of that, a leap of faith in business has paid off big time for the Khomo family in John Taolo Gaetsewe municipality in the Northern Cape.
The Khomo's worked abroad for several years and came back with a suitcase full of great ideas - one of those ideas was identifying an opportunity for mining solutions through contract mining. And now their company, KELE Mining Solutions , is an example of what is possible through real empowerment in South Africa's mining industry.
Established just two years ago and through Anglo American's iron ore business, Kumba Iron Ore the 100 percent black owned and operated company has over 3000 percent revenue increase a year and offers opportunities for other local businesses. 'It was hard in the beginning until we started working with Kumba,' Jomo says. 'They were looking for local businesses to provide services and supply products, we saw an opportunity to enter the contract mining space.'
Through Kumba's supplier development programme, they learnt how to run business operations, how to market themselves and other business principles. Khomo says their partnership with Kumba has inspired them to empower smaller businesses as well. 'We give local businesses contracts and help them, so they have the skills we need. We provide them with equipment and knowledge, so they are able to compete.'
The partnership also helped the Khomo's to empower local people through employment opportunities and has allowed them to employ over 150 people. One of those people is Jeminah Soakatsie who has been with the company since March last year. 'The company was very small but now it has grown. We are like a family here. I think that's because it is owned by one of our own people.'
'We believe we've changed the lives of many people here,' Jomo says. 'We're always looking at opportunities to improve safety and productivity to help South Africa's mining industry become globally competitive.'
Their success has been understanding what their customers need and they've since then grew and secured opportunities in Rustenburg in the platinum mining sector and are exploring opportunities in Botswana.
Communications manager at Kumba, Sinah Phochana, says Kumba has earmarked R1billion specifically for local procurement and supplier development.
'Our focus on supplier development is rooted in lending a hand to grow small and medium businesses in our mining communities. KELE Mining is a shining example of this commitment. It is heartwarming to see the multiplier effect their success has had on the surrounding community and other businesses,' Phochana says.
Jomo says their contracts are mostly to move materials and production drilling. KELE Mining has also given birth to KELE Logistics, which does bulk materials transportation.