While there have been pockets of transformation in industry, there is still a long way to go, says Bonani Malgas, Procurement Manager at the Republic of Mozambique Pipeline Investments Company (ROMPCO). This is as South Africa celebrates and acknowledges the important role of women in industry, the economy, and in local communities and families on Women’s Day on 9 August.
Commenting on the changes she would like to see materialise, Bonani explains that women bring different leadership skills to the table. Industry should celebrate the value of being different, break any biases and discrimination against women, address the gender gap, and increase the participation of women in top management positions and ensure they are retained.
Bonani’s high-level role sees her attending to customer needs, sourcing the best suppliers, and building strong relationships. Her areas of responsibility include procurement lifecycle optimisation, category and Request for Proposal (RFP) management, supplier selection and management, and procurement data analysis. She is part of a two-person team dealing with all the company’s procurement requirements.
“It has been exciting and challenging at the same time. The company is fairly new, therefore innovation, trying new things, and diversified duties are part of each working day. Working closely with the executives has afforded me the opportunity to learn many facets of the business,” says Bonani. Her career has progressed rapidly as a result, culminating in her role to bolster the procurement function across Mozambique and South Africa.
Bonani has a National Diploma in Logistics Management from Nelson Mandela University, a BTech in Logistics Management, an Advanced Programme in Sourcing and Supply Chain, and a Master’s in Business Leadership, all from Unisa.
ROMPCO recognises that its success relies on having a team of diverse people with extensive perspectives and experiences. The foundation blocks of its diversity and inclusion policy include creating a positive and inclusive working environment for employees and customers, protecting employees from discrimination, ensuring fairness and mutual respect, and creating a culture where diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace are respected and adopted as best practice.
“The goal is to intentionally support transformation and empowerment in the gas distribution industry at a local and multinational level in both South Africa and Mozambique,” highlights Bonani. Her career highlights to date include successfully negotiating and implementing procurement principles for various major projects within the energy sector, drafting and implementing a supply chain policy, and establishing the procurement department.
“Many perceive procurement as only a cost saver, but I see it as a strategic enabler that adds value to the company. It maximises value creation via supplier engagement and boosts competitiveness via supplier collaboration. This excites and drives me. It is also the change I want to see and push for,” comments Bonani.
Her message to young women contemplating a similar career path is to understand the market you currently live in and to take chances. “Do not wait until you are 100% qualified for a job. Do your research, make that call, as uncomfortable as it may be, and apply for that position you have been eyeing. Talk to people in the profession and build networks. Lastly, overcome the pressure to be perfect at all times.” Bonani concludes that, as much as Women’s Day commemorates the 1956 march by women, it also means learning from those women who came before and continuing the good fight for everyone to be equal.