Ray Ann Sedres | 19 July 2023
The third Sanlam Transformation Gauge, a research report that takes a holistic measurement of economic transformation in SA, has scored SA Inc as a low level three.
The result is based on the average score of the 14,542 companies involved.
A key theme that emerged again was that the broad-based BEE (BBBEE) system is not representative of the state of transformation in the workplace. In fact, this is far behind what scorecards reflect.
Companies pour billions of rand into compliance efforts, but inequality is increasing in SA — which the World Bank already ranks as the most unequal country in the world. We need fast, shared impact at scale. That requires creative thinking and collaboration.
This year, almost all scorecard elements failed to reach their targets, except for socioeconomic development. It's becoming clear we need a system overhaul to address the systemic challenges buried deep in SA’s DNA. The solution doesn’t lie in greater regulation or a bigger compliance burden — we must be audacious.
Now is the time for transformation by deliberate design. We need a big-picture vision that takes a broader view of transformation, with long-term structural change as the goal. We need new ways to measure success by impact, not just input.
As a purpose-led group, Sanlam is committed to empowering all Africans to be financially confident and prosperous. This isn’t possible in a country such as SA that's fractured by deep fault lines of inequality. As such, our notion of transformation goes far beyond compliance. Sanlam has the stature and stability to help change the nation’s narrative, to foster socioeconomic inclusion and drive an agenda of deliberate change.
Sanlam is pushing the boundaries of traditional transformation in four pivotal ways:
1. Adopting a broader view of transformation
Sanlam contributes to sustainable growth, higher investment, job creation, reduced inequalities and deracialised economic activity.
2. Sanlam's impact in Africa
The company touches more than 32-million lives across Africa and more than 22-million in India and Malaysia, with a target of 50-million for Africa by 2025.
It has an opportunity to serve as an inclusivity champion and uplift the previously disadvantaged and excluded members of society — enabling access and participation in financial services.
3. Linking capabilities to furthering socioeconomic transformation:
Sanlam has a huge bank of expertise it can leverage to move the needle. For example, more than 70% of jobs are generated by small, medium and micro enterprises (SMEs) in emerging economies, contributing up to 40% to a country's GDP.
The company has put its might into nurturing the nation’s SMEs through a multifactorial approach, from risk management and employee benefit offerings to enterprise and supplier development contributions of R225m in 2022.
In addition, Sanlam Investments’ Investors’ Legacy Range and Resilient Investment Fund were established to create and preserve jobs — primarily in the small business sector.
Sanlam also runs an enterprise and supplier development programme, which has created and sustained 3,578 jobs since inception. It uses procurement to push the transformation agenda, with R4.4bn spent on SMEs, R4.7bn spent on black-owned suppliers, and R2.6bn on black-women owned suppliers in 2022.
The goal is to unlock opportunities for local procurement in host countries across the continent and Sanlam has only scratched the surface of its potential to do so.
4. We cannot do it alone:
The scale of transformation required calls for hyper-collaboration. With 1.2-million employees globally, and by leveraging its extensive partner network, Sanlam can ignite a catalytic reaction to set change in motion. Let’s act now, together. This is the moment to go beyond box-ticking compliance in a system that isn’t serving us.
Sanlam is committed to fostering greater financial inclusion through accessible insurance and investment solutions across Africa, a sustained focus on job creation and enterprise growth, infrastructure development and trade solutions, and skills and socioeconomic development through inclusive education. It urges corporate SA to come together at this critical juncture in our history.
Let’s make decisions our young people will thank us for.
The findings of the annual report on the progress of economic transformation in SA were unpacked on July 18.
‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.