The President and Council of the Institute invite members, their guests and members of other constituent societies to attend the Annual General Meeting 2009 Thursday, 13 August 2009
The Country Club, Johannesburg, Napier Road, Auckland Park, 2006 at 16:30
2. Confirmation of minutes
4. Honorary Fellow—I.J. Walton (awarded posthumously)
5. Brigadier Stokes Memorial Award
6. Presentation of awards, medals and certificates
7. Presentation of student prizes
8. Annual report of the council and accounts for the year ended 30 June 2009
9. Declaration of election of office bearers and members of council for the year
10. Election of auditors and honorary legal advisors for the year 2009/2010
12. Induction of President—J.C. Ngoma
13. Presidential address
14. Vote of thanks
15. Photographs of all council members
A cocktail party will be held after the meeting (see separate notice)
JOSHUA CHIMAKULA NGOMA
JOSHUA CHIMAKULA NGOMA is a businessman,
and the founding Chief Executive Officer of Tranter
Group of companies.
Joshua was born in Chipata (the then Fort Jameson) in
the Eastern part of Zambia. He did his ‘O’ Levels (Matric
equivalent) at Chizongwe Secondary School, in Chipata,
and his ‘A’ Levels at Mpelembe Secondary School in
He obtained a Bachelor of Engineering degree in
mining engineering in 1988 from Camborne School of
Mines in the Southwest of England, and a Master of
Engineering degree in project management from the
University of Pretoria in 2001.
Joshua has worked all his life in the mining industry.
He started with the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines
on the Copperbelt of Zambia, working from Senior
Assistant Mining Engineer through to Senior Project
Engineer. He also worked briefly in the dimension stone industry between 1990 and 1991,
on secondment, in Carrara and Tivoli in Italy. He then moved to South Africa in 1994, just
before the first democratic elections, to work for Cementation Mining (the then GFC) in
shaft sinking and mechanical drilling. He later joined De Beers in 1997 as the Drilling and
Blasting Engineer, and then Sasol Mining in 1999, as a Senior Project Engineer.
It was just after he had joined Sasol Mining in 1999 that he was approached by Sipho
Nkosi, the current Exxaro CEO, to join the Eyesizwe Consortium that was bidding for the
mining assets that were put together by Anglo American and BHP Billiton for a BEE deal.
After the consortium won the bid and took over business in 2001, Joshua moved to work full
time for Eyesizwe Coal. He formed the Technical and New Business Development
Department, and became the company’s Group Technical and New Business Development
Manager. When New Clydesdale Colliery became a stand-alone operation in 2002, he took
over as the operation’s General Manager. He later became General Manager of Matla
Colliery in 2004. In 2005, he was invited to join Anglo Platinum as the Group Manager: New
Mining Technologies, where he was responsible for the development and implementation of
the Group’s new mining technologies. And then in August 2007, he left Anglo Platinum to
head Tranter, which he has since developed into a group of companies, investing both in
resources and services.
Joshua became a member of the institute in July 1995, and has been actively involved in
the activities of the institute’s Technical Programme Committee ( TPC) Mining since 2001.
He was initially co-opted on the Council in 2004, and officially elected in 2005. He has
served on the Council ever since.
He became a professional engineer with ECSA in May 1997, and has served on the
Professional Advisory Committee on Mining Engineering since 2002. Joshua has also served
on several other professional bodies, including Coaltech, where he was chairperson of the
Coaltech Management Team, CSIR-Miningtek Advisory Board, Minerals Education Trust
Fund, as well as PlatMine and PlatTech.
Joshua is married to Susan, and they have two children, Daliso (17) and Natasha (15).
In his spare time, he enjoys photography, reading, particularly business and world politics
literature, listening to news and current affairs, watching wrestling and boxing, and playing
an occasional game of golf. When he is on break, he also enjoys travelling, and seeing
places. And every year he and his family travel to at least one new place on the planet that
they have never visited before.
SWIMMING WITH THE BLACK SWAN
In his presidential address, Joshua will share the metaphor of Nassim Nicolas Taleb’s Black
Swan, i.e., a highly improbable event with three principle characteristics, which is that it is
unpredictable, carries a massive impact, and after the fact, we concoct an explanation that
makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. He will then look at why
Black Swans are important. To get the audience to understand the concept of the Black Swan
better, he’ll introduce Taleb’s two neologisms of extremistan and mediocristan in which the
two types of randomness reside, discuss the two species of the Black Swan, and give some
examples. By going through the five main factors that arise from our blindness to the Black
Swan, and looking at the implications of the existence of this improbable, high impact event,
he hopes the audience will be able to learn how to escape the tyranny of this black fowl. He
hopes they will learn how to swim with the Black Swan!
SWIMMING WITH THE BLACK SWAN
The idea of the ‘Black Swan’ comes from the fact that prior to the discovery of Australia, it
was assumed by the medieval Europeans that are all swans were white, because no
European at the time had ever seen a black swan, even though these did exist. The sight of
one black swan in Australia by the European explorers invalidated millennia of belief that
all swans were white.
However, in the context of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a brilliant author of the book by the
same name, a Black Swan is a metaphor referring to any event that is rare, has an extreme
impact, and is explainable and predictable, but only in hindsight. Taleb points out to us how
we confidently predict the future based upon our past experiences when in reality we have
no real idea what the future will bring. While we know that Black Swans are hugely
disruptive and can radically alter the course of our future, we still allow them to enter our
waters and disrupt our cosy plans with unexpected and devastating impact. And even though
we can see how these black fowls have affected us and the majority of those living in our
surroundings, whether positively or negatively, we continue to be blinded to their existence.
Black Swans occur when there’s a disjoint between what we know and what we think
we know. This disjoint is fuelled by facets of our human psychology that makes us
overconfident in our pronouncement about the future.
Despite the fact that we cannot forecast the future accurately in a world of Black Swans,
this paper tries to point the reader to the fact that if we endeavour to keep our minds and
eyes wide open, we should be able to identify the generators of Black Swans, and learn to
mitigate their impact. We should be able to swim with the Black Swan!