DJ by night, Supply Chain intern by day – The story of Arnot Opco’s Percy Mabhena

It’s the start of the new year and Arnot Opco’s staff members are returning to work. 2021 is a milestone year for the company which is working to restart operations at Arnot Mine and put coal on conveyer belts for delivery. With the country and the world still firmly in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, worker safety is paramount.  As the mine re-opens, South Africa is recording an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in what national health officials have termed the second wave of infections. The effects of the holiday season are being felt in many industries, and mining is no different.

As the old proverb goes, all work and no play makes you a dull person. At Arnot Opco, however, we encourage work-life balance and overall wellness. One person who epitomises this belief is 25-year-old intern Percy Mabhena. The budding young DJ plies his trade in the Supply Chain Unit by day and spins records at night.

Born and bred in Mhluzi, Middleburg, Mabhena is one of the many young people who joined Arnot Opco in 2020. Since the re-opening of Arnot Coal Mine under the vibrant and visionary leadership of Arnot Opco, the mine has provided many opportunities for local residents, in a country where joblessness is crippling the potential of many youths.

Mabhena studied Public Administration and Business Administration. Here is his story:

What do you enjoy about working at Arnot Opco?
The people who work at Arnot Opco have a lot of ubuntu. The company also offers support and care for its workers. I am enjoying the growth and the learning that comes with the work. I also cherish the many opportunities available here.

What do you do in your spare time?
I produce music and do mixtapes for my fans and national radio stations like Ligwalagwala FM and Ukhozi FM. I enjoy being a deejay because it allows me to have fun and also to immerse myself in the music. In my spare time (when there are no COVID-19 lockdown restrictions) I attend gigs and events. I play music to make people happy and have good time.

Once your internship period has ended, what do you hope to have achieved?
Being here has been a great opportunity which I will always cherish. I am hoping that this experience will make me wiser and competent in the Supply Chain field.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself as a Supply Chain Co-ordinator.

What’s the most interesting thing about your job?
Working with a diverse group of people who have varying degrees of experience, I am learning to be pro-active and to become a problem solver.  Part of my work here is to ensure that all workers observe all COVID-19 safety protocols and that they have access to the right Personal Protective Equipment for their specific roles.

Finally, would you encourage more young people to join the mining industry?
Yes, because mining industry has a lot of opportunities for young people. South Africa is rich in minerals and we as the youth need to be the ones at the forefront.

It’s the start of the new year and Arnot Opco’s staff members are returning to work. 2021 is a milestone year for the company which is working to restart operations at Arnot Mine and put coal on conveyer belts for delivery. With the country and the world still firmly in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, worker safety is paramount.  As the mine re-opens, South Africa is recording an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in what national health officials have termed the second wave of infections. The effects of the holiday season are being felt in many industries, and mining is no different.