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The Facilitation Impact Awards (FIA) honours organisations that have used facilitation to achieve a measurable and positive impact as well as the facilitator(s) who worked with them. More about FIA
Gold award
Assmang (Pty) Ltd
Northern Cape province, South Africa

Co-designing the iKhaya housing policy


After a 2-year long journey, the new iKhaya housing policy was launched in March 2020. It now offers all Assmang employees a set of 6 housing benefit options to choose from. This flexibility ensures that employees can choose where they want to live, and how they access support for owning their own home. These changes mean that each of the 5000 Assmang employees is assisted on their journey to become homeowners, ensuring that no one is left behind. Where previously only 60% of employees could access the housing benefit, the new policy is 100% inclusive, fair and sustainable.

The impact of the project doesn’t end here. Apart from becoming a benchmark to the broader mining community dealing with similar problems, the project also introduced new ways of working collaboratively to minimise risk and maximise buy-in. Assmang has since adopted similar co-design processes for other complex challenges it deals with. The trust built during this project between management and trade unions laid a solid foundation.

Through this journey, Assmang and Zutari have become co-creating partners with impact - inspired to connect differently with stakeholders in the world of mining.

That is the impact of facilitation.

Context and challenges

Assmang (Pty) Ltd is a South African mining company, jointly owned by African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) and Assore Limited. This project involved Assmang’s mining operations in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. It included 3 mines - Black Rock, Khumani and Beeshoek – with a total of 5000 permanent employees.

Home ownership and accommodation among mineworkers has historically been an extremely sensitive and controversial issue in South Africa, often resulting in opposing parties locking horns and paralysing production.

The Housing and Living Conditions Standard for the Minerals Industry requires mining rights holders to assist their employees in facilitating homeownership. Yet, finding a way to do this that satisfies both mineworkers and mine owners proved to be a complex challenge.

In 2017, Assmang established the iKhaya Working Committee, consisting of the three trade unions represented at the mine (AMCU, NUM and Solidariteit), Assmang senior management and representatives from Assmang’s major shareholder, African Rainbow Minerals, to drive the housing policy initiative. Taking a collaborative approach to co-design a new housing policy was a very bold step.

Project objectives

When the project started, only 60% of employees could access Assmang’s housing benefit scheme at the time, since 40% of employees prefer to live in tribal areas where they did not qualify for the housing subsidy to purchase a house, as this was limited to the formal towns of Kathu, Postmasburg and Kuruman.

The objective of this project was simple: to create an opportunity for each and every Assmang employee to become a homeowner through an inclusive, sustainable and fair new housing policy.


Zutari was appointed as consultant to assist Assmang with all aspects of this ambitious project.

The project was engineered from the start as a co-design project and leaned heavily on Zutari’s mature facilitation and engagement capabilities. The Zutari project team included a diverse collective of experts: facilitators, stakeholder engagement specialists, communication experts, town and regional planners, information designers, project managers, civil engineers, asset management practitioners and legal and risk advisors.

To unravel the complexity of the problem, the team applied practical tools from the fields of Design Thinking, Systems Thinking and Lean Thinking. This dynamic solution-finding process is known at Zutari as the Impact Framework and guides its approach to co-create impactful solutions.

Impact framework

Assmang saw Zutari’s facilitated co-design approach as a fresh way to bring opposing parties together. It enabled people, irrespective of their role or level, to have an equal opportunity to provide input and be heard, creating a safe environment for potential conflict to be resolved.

Between 2017 and 2019 the iKhaya Working Committee had a total of 16 meetings, all of them designed and executed as highly participative workshop-style engagements.

iKhaya Working Committee at its first 2-day scoping and kick-off workshop in February 2018.

Assmang Chief Executive, with representatives from three trade unions NUM, AMCU and Solidariteit, creating a persona of a housing beneficiary

Representative from trade union NUM writing ideas

Workshop with mineworkers that live in tribal areas, and previously not able to access any housing benefit from Assmang.