CREAMER MEDIA / 12 JUNE 2020 - 17.34 / DONNA SLATER
Powerful and visionary companies in South Africa need to “roll up their sleeves” to invest boldly in their country in its “hour of need”, especially as Youth Day approaches, with an emphasis on businesses leading and investing in the future of the people for the benefit of generations to come, states precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater.
The company states that, in being one such organisation, it is turning these words into decisive action, acting in the belief that the country’s greatest asset is its youth.
When Covid-19 hit, Sibanye donated R9-million to the South African Future Trust Fund to help small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) weather income losses. The company’s board of directors and executive members also sacrificed R2.8-million of their salaries and the company donated an additional R12-million to the Solidarity Fund, which was created to respond to Covid-19 needs by South Africans.
In its day-to-day business, Sibanye states, the company has long supported the people who work hard to create the wealth of the company. A significant proportion of its employees come from communities near where it operates.
Despite challenging times for mining in recent years, Sibanye is also pouring an increasing amount of money into securing jobs by procuring from suppliers in the communities within which it operates, while at the same time promoting and encouraging transformation and empowerment.
In this regard, the company points out that procurement is the key to unlocking wealth around the mines that can be used to promote transformation. In 2018, the miner spent R10.9-billion on procuring goods and services from broad-based black economic empowerment-compliant suppliers - 66% of the company’s procurement spend for the year. Overall, it has increased its procurement spend from R10.6-billion in 2018, to R14.5-billion in 2019.
Moreover, this feat has not always been easy, states Sibanye, explaining that poor delivery can put contracts in jeopardy and has to be managed. When it comes to procurement, from the company’s 900 community-based suppliers, there can also be problems finding the right skills, prices and contract delivery.
Sibanye has found a way to mitigate these challenges by engaging two enterprise development service providers – Phakamani and Black Umbrellas, which coach and develop the skills of South African suppliers to help them build capacity to secure durable contracts through mentoring and training.
In addition, in the gold sector alone in 2019, Phakamani made 66 loans available to help 25 SMMEs. In addition, the company has provided training in everything from financial management and bookkeeping to business planning and proposal writing.
Regarding increasing opportunities for entrepreneurs, in 2019, Sibanye also launched Coupa – a system that streamlines the supplier registration process in an attempt to ease more people into business.
Further, in 2019 the company invested R1.6-billion into socioeconomic development to help set up bankable projects among the youth, women-led startups and SMMEs.
“All of these efforts by private business give one of the most influential economies in Africa a greater fighting chance of emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic with all the strength required for recovery. Efforts like these not only build entrepreneurs, but also move the dial for the youth of South Africa with the precious gift of opportunity and choice,” Sibanye states.
The miner concludes that, as South Africa celebrates the sacrifices of Youth Day, this year the corporates of South Africa should be thinking of not when, but how, they can invest in South Africa’s future.
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER