Implats CFO Meroonisha Kerber feels fortunate to be able to pay staff during lockdown
She says that those in leadership positions must assist government in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
Impala Platinum CFO Meroonisha Kerber is in the fortunate position of being at a mining company that’s been riding the wave of high platinum prices in the last year or so. This has made it possible for Implats to put its mines into care and maintenance, while still paying staff during the 21-day lockdown period – a situation that Meroonisha describes as “fortunate”.
The CFO, who joined the company a year and a half ago, cautions that this is not a sustainable scenario.
“The economic reality is that this cannot be sustained for any prolonged period without putting the group’s financial position and thus the livelihoods of all our employees, at risk. Therefore, it is important for us to get through this period whilst supporting the government and our employees, and to be able to resume normal operations as soon as possible,” she says.
All eyes are on finance as future uncertainty looms, and Meroonisha says that the hard work of the past is another factor that’s supporting their current liquidity.
“It is in times like this, that the flexibility of the company’s balance sheet is put to the test and highlights the importance of companies ensuring that their capital allocation framework prioritises building a strong and resilient balance sheet.”
She is also determined that Implats will support government during this challenging time for business and society as a whole, in whatever way they can, but specifically in contributing to national efforts to reduce the Covid-19 infection rate.
“Given the challenging times we face as a country, I believe it is incumbent on each of us, and especially those of us in leadership positions, to contribute in a meaningful manner to assisting government in fighting this pandemic. Implats is committed to contributing to the extent it can, to supporting the governments’ efforts to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infection rate.”
From a personal perspective, Meroonisha says that she’s finding the lockdown challenging because she has a young son. “My husband and I are trying to balance both of our work commitments whilst still ensuring that Aman is being given all the attention and love that he deserves. It is a stressful time for all of us and at times, I almost feel that the situation that we are in, is surreal as the extent of the pandemic and impact it has on life as we know it, has been profound.”