all-rounder. You need to be very strong in finance, project management and strategy, so I maintain that your life experience and background grooms you for your future roles.
When I joined this development organisation as Chief Investment Officer, I did so because of the wealth of opportunity it would offer me in the development field. It also offered an opportunity for all my skills, because, at the time, I was just going to start an investment entity. The Trust was established in 2006, when Kumba Resources was unbundled to form Kumba Iron Ore and Exxaro Resources, and, in 2010, we celebrated becoming an unencumbered 3% shareholder. In 2010, we consolidated the investment entity. My role advanced in 2011 to implementing the 2030 Vision that I was instrumental in developing. This is when I was appointed the Acting CEO, and, in mid-2012, I was appointed as CEO of the organisation.
Do South African companies do enough to develop their communities?
Most organisations have realised that once-offtype donations are not long-term investments that yield sustainable results. There are many organisations where the leadership appreciates that the sustainability of their CSI initiatives will result in future benefits and improve the bottom line, and are acting accordingly. In terms of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Codes, mining companies are required to spend 1% of their net profits after tax on the upliftment of communities. Employees are no longer interested only in salaries; they want to know what their companies are doing for them, their children, their families, and their broader community.
Moreover, business shows a growing awareness about the importance of sustainability and investment in corporate social responsibility (CSR). In addition to government-monitored codes, we are seeing the emergence of investor-driven initiatives such as those falling within the JSE’s Social Responsibility Investment Index (SRI) and as stated in the King III Code on Governance. Successful modern business leaders understand that they have a responsibility to look beyond the expectations of the shareholders and to understand the needs of stakeholders – thus to ensure that they and their companies leave a sustainable legacy for coming generations. Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore goes beyond CSI with its Social and Labour Plan through Sustainable Development, which aims not only to develop the host communities of its mines, but also its labour-sending communities.
Does the mining industry lend itself to a community development focus, perhaps more so than any other economic sector?
Mines are often the economic drivers in rural communities, so they need to do their utmost to develop those communities. The Mining Charter spells out that mining companies need to develop host communities beyond the life of the mine; hence that is the focus of SIOC-cdt’s mandate, on behalf of our donor, Kumba. I do believe that mining companies should be doing more to develop their communities. They should be considering similar ownership structures that Kumba has successfully completed, because that is the only way to be a leading agent in sustainability. Yes, there is a need for all forms of donations where necessary, but a long-term plan should be the creation of sustainable projects in our community.
In the light of the recent and unfortunate Marikana Massacre, would you say that the platinum companies involved were not doing enough to develop their communities?
Mining houses have Social and Labour Plans which go beyond taking care of workers in the workplace. These plans vary from mining house to mining house. Speaking on behalf of my donor, Kumba Iron Ore, I can say that it has executed its Social and Labour Plan particularly well, providing housing for its workforce and catering to various other needs.
How did you define your programme?
This is a public-benefit organisation. As a publicbenefit organisation, there are activities that underpin what we do. The organisation decided to focus on 6 activities, but we have excluded about 18 others. The six we have taken on include health, education, welfare, environment and animal welfare, enterprise development, and land and housing. When we talk about our Vision 2030, we are talking about our priority areas, which are education, health, enterprise development and the provision of infrastructure, to ensure that, after the life of the mine, we can demonstrate the role we have played in developing our focus areas.
Is your organisation unique in South Africa?
We have often said that we are the best-kept secret. Thanks to the early redemption, we are now an entity with a net asset value of approximately R7.8-billion, and not every trust is in that position. We received a half-a-billion-rand dividend from Kumba in the past year, so that puts us in a stronger position and enables us to implement our projects. There are opportunities for more trusts like us in South Africa, and there is still a lot to be done and growing opportunities for constructive collaboration between the business sector and local municipalities that must be seized and expanded.
South Africa is often considered an African hub in terms of business investing in communities; we have been consulted by other African countries endeavouring to find out more about best practice in the industry and to learn about our success stories. There is dire poverty in the areas in which we operate, and we require more than just one entity to succeed and for our communities to prosper.
How crucial is your partnership with government in your endeavours?
Our organisation is a grant-funding organisation, but we are mindful of the fact that government has also been providing funding for these areas. However, to ensure a hands-on approach to our development, we formed integrated relationships with local Beneficiary Trusts within the areas we operate in. The Beneficiary Trusts ensure the consistent development of projects through the combined efforts with local municipal authorities, community and tribal leaders, nongovernmental organisations and, most importantly, the communities themselves. Currently, we spend 80% of our funding on grants, and 20% on economic development projects, but, in the medium term, we plan to change the picture to play more of an advocacy role and to help government and communities with capacity to implement programmes. This will enable us to focus our spend on economic development projects which will bring that element of sustainability and a multiplier effect.
Identified projects are evaluated and reviewed to determine whether they meet the Super Trust’s mandate and whether they further the interest of our communities and empowerment. A governance framework is drafted for each of the projects and the local board and management oversee the implementation and disbursement of funds. To ensure successful implementation, we have appointed a project management unit with the necessary technical skills to assist with implementation at ground level. We also work with partners in the fields of monitoring and evaluation in order to set criteria before a project starts, and then to measure how many people have benefited from it, and whether the project has met its intended goals and outcomes.
The local boards have included municipality representation in their structures. They assist in making sure that our strategy is aligned with their local integrated development plans (IDPs). Partnerships with local structures assist us with successful implementation.
Looking back at 2012, which of your organisation’s successes stand out for you?
We implemented education projects worth over R100-million. The programme specifically sought to improve outcomes in three target subjects: Life Science, Physical Science and Mathematics. The reality is that the areas in which we operate had results that were below the national average. Limpopo was the second-worst performing in South Africa with a pass rate of 63.9% in 2011. The Northern Cape performed comparatively well. However, its 2011 pass rate of 68,8% was below the national average, and our areas of operation, in particular (JTG ), contributed to the decline. This programme is not being implemented in a vacuum. It took place in our communities which are hamstrung by significant and systematic socioeconomic constraints, as highlighted by our monitoring and evaluation team. Over the past three years, we have implemented over 128 projects just in our areas of operation. The education sponsorship was considered not only for improving the marks of the current Grade 12 learners, but also the marks of learners within the pipeline of Grade 10 and 11. We understand we will not achieve immediate results, but that this is a long-term investment in education which is expected to yield results over time.
Bigger companies are probably better capacitated to roll out community development programmes. What advice do you have for small to mid-sized companies wanting to have a positive impact on their communities?
Partnerships are key. In communities, there are often existing structures with established best practices, and, if anyone wants to get involved, they should look at synergies and be willing to build capacity and support these existing programmes. The need within our communities is vast, so there is a role for each and every organisation, no matter how small. The main opportunity, to my mind, is to open up procurement opportunities for community-based enterprises. The number-one reason for the failure of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) is access to markets. There are always companies with procurement needs, and, if they could offer these companies opportunities to participate in their supply chains, that would make our investments all the more meaningful for these communities. We are very involved with trying to open up opportunities for our investment projects so that the projects can become self-sustaining and sustainable. In the field of construction, for example, we subcontract local SMMEs with less experience with larger companies so that they can share opportunities and skills for growth and future opportunities.
What is top of your to-do list for the year ahead?
Number one for me is capacity building, and that goes back to why we initially set up offices in Gauteng – we had to first build capacity at a local level. That capacity is not only in terms of staff members who work with the Beneficiary Trusts, but also when requested that we extend that to our service providers and government. My second area of focus is the roll-out and implementation of our long-term strategy, our Vision 2030. We have identified our short-, medium- and long-term strategy, have set milestones, and have outlined which stakeholders in our areas of operation we will partner with for successful implementation. Governance is also one of the issues top of my mind.
Your parting message for the readers of Titans?
When I talk to my team and all our partners in development, I always remind them that we are the voice of the voiceless. As the Trust, we represent the interests of over 360 000 beneficiaries in our host communities, and we need to make sure that we do so with honesty and integrity. More importantly, we need to make sure that we never let our beneficiaries down. People out there depend on us to provide opportunities and better their lives. It is our responsibility, and one which we must undertake to the best of our ability. Our communities are counting on us to get it right. Business needs to understand that development is fundamental for business success. I am always most inspired by the phone calls I get from community members thanking us for the work we have done; that is my purpose and that of SIOCcdt. If more companies could just come on board and partner with their communities to make a difference in their future, it would change the face of Africa, and not just South Africa.
You’re a respected businesswoman from the finance, banking and public sectors. What inspired your decision to lead an organisation focused solely on corporate social investment (CSI) and community development?
It was a conscious move, because development has always been my passion. Even while at my previous employer, Nedbank, I was quite involved in women development. In fact, about seven years back, I told my mentor that I wanted to move from finance to CSI, and she advised me: “Keep your day job and find something that you are passionate about within the field of development,” and I’m pleased to say that, today, that is exactly what I am doing. I’m applying my financial expertise to a field that I am passionate about: development. As the CEO of an organisation, you need to be that
THE LEADING EDGE | Developing Communities for the Future