Charmaine Mabuza, Group CEO of Zamani Holdings on the challenges of navigating a male dominated industry

Zamani Holdings is the official sponsor of the Women in Gaming initiative of ICE Africa. Can you explain why this is important for the organization?
The topic of women in gaming must be examined with great urgency.

Since only 20% of women in the gambling sector play a key role in leadership and a lower proportion of these women are in ownership positions, it is crucial that the industry closely investigate the reasons for this and engage in eliminating gender stereotypes in the gambling sector.

ICE Africa will host an exclusive Women In Gaming breakfast, how important is it to have events like this where women from across the industry can meet, network and share their experiences?

The challenges faced by the African businesswoman are the same: finding her or herself in a male-dominated industry, narrating the ability of women, especially black women, to lead and change successful entities, and the ongoing struggle of the minority the power to open the doors trying to close the faces of competent women. These are challenges we need to solve, and events like this give us the opportunity to explore and share solutions. The challenges of an African businesswoman are the same across Africa and require the same solutions. Depending on the region, different women’s groups have started to face these challenges. It is important for women in gaming to come together from all over the continent and share solutions. Their biggest threat is not that of others, their biggest threat is prejudice against the rise of women in leadership positions.

As a 100% black-owned business with 50% black control, you are already exploring diversity in Africa: where do you see opportunities for other companies to follow your example, and how can this help to make their brands more future-proof?

Corporate giants should not block black women’s doors to lead the gambling industry. They must share the opportunities and not aim to monopolize the industry by excuding women, especially black women.

Zamani is in your eyes the main sponsor of the ITHUBA lottery project. What differentiates lotteries from other forms of play in Africa? Do you think this industry is leading the way for sustainable business growth across the continent?

The mandate of lotteries is not only to provide the players with enriching opportunities, but also to raise funds to improve the socio-economic status of a country. ITHUBA takes this very seriously. In fiscal 2019, ITHUBA contributed R1 6 billion to the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF). In this case, ITHUBA, powered by Zamani, has exceeded the call of duty. Some of the socio-economic initiatives implemented by the Group company include: a Youth Employment Initiative, in which 11 young graduates completed a 12-month internship in various departments of the company; A program to enhance the role of women, which selected 65 women retailers to develop, train and improve their business skills, and a media initiative to raise awareness and awareness of the importance of preventing violence against women, in particular women’s killings.

The philosophy of Zamani Fund, doing good and doing good at the same time is the key to your brand. So how can you achieve the balance between social responsibility and the ability for companies to operate in a competitive environment?

Zamani has set up solid structures and processes to ensure a smooth business. There are also strict measures, including internal audit, which hold the company accountable and ensure that deadlines are met. Due to these processes Zamani does not drop the ball. We continue to be a responsible corporate citizen who operates successfully and competitively.