Charlin Ntuli is on a mission to readdress injustices of South Africa’s past in the economic sector, as well as drive transformation for women and young girls across the country.
Ntuli is the enterprise and supplier development superintendent at Glencore Operations South Africa. There, she is concerned with the development of emerging black-owned enterprises.
Ntuli has always wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. She describes how she has witnessed small, black-owned businesses being taken advantage of within the private sector, often used for fronting (or virtue signalling) purposes. She believes that these businesses deserve an equal chance to excel, as they are just as capable as any other emerging business.
“My role is to unlock opportunities for small black-owned businesses within our supply chain,” says Ntuli. “I also need to ensure that these small businesses are sufficiently capacitated in every way possible. This can be by means of training, procuring assets for them, arranging coaching and mentorship, and providing financial support.”
The goal of developing and mentoring these small businesses is to allow them to not only successfully fulfil contractual obligations, but also provide them with the opportunity to grow and remain sustainable.
Ntuli and the Glencore team have managed to support some of their businesses with equipment valued at R1-million and above, long-term contracts, ad hoc short- to medium-term opportunities and rolling out development programmes in collaboration with the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science to teach business management skills.
The journey of transformation is not a simple one. Resistance to change is a constant internal and external battle. As a black woman in the mining industry, which is heavily dominated by men, Ntuli has learned to remain strong and stand her ground to drive transformation without compromise or fear.
“Each day I battle to ensure we change the status quo,” says Ntuli.
Ntuli is not only concerned with equality in the economic sector, but is also making a difference in providing sufficient access to menstruation products for young girls in South Africa.
“From a young age I knew I could make a difference and had hope that one day I will be in a favourable position to change lives and I will ensure that young girls [receive menstrual care] and do not go through what I went through,” she says.
In July, Ntuli and the Glencore team summited Mount Kilimanjaro in the Trek4Mandela campaign to raise funds for sanitary pads for underprivileged girls in order to keep them in school. “We live in a world with so many inequalities — I believe women and girls should have equal access to sanitary protection.”
“I have learned that ‘impossible’ only exists when there is no purpose, commitment and determination.”