Review from the chairperson of the SED committee
of budget was spent on education
and skills development
Many communities in South Africa and in the rest of Africa are subject to extreme poverty.
Group Five remains committed to effective socio-economic development as a means
to contribute to the upliftment of disadvantaged communities through structured programmes.
Group Five’s business model, as outlined on page 4, places
sustainability issues at the centre of the business’ strategy and ensures
an integrated approach to manage these aspects. To be successful and
sustainable, our work in socio-economic development must be both
relevant to Group Five and contribute meaningfully to the advancement
of the societies in which we operate.
The role of the socio-economic development (SED) committee of the
board is to guide the group’s social responsibility activities to ensure
their continuing success against both of these parameters. The
committee provides strategic direction to management in terms of SED.
It formulates and implements policy, approves the budget, evaluates
the effectiveness of interventions and ensures centralised reporting.
Within our SED framework, we seek to allocate 55% of spend to
education and skills development, 35% to economic development and
10% to social grants and programmes. Even in these difficult economic
times, during the year we spent R6,1 million, which is more than
the 1% spend of net profit after tax required by the dti Code of
To ensure effective impact, we analyse community needs and the
potential involvement of key stakeholders before investing in initiatives.
Our charter is to focus on education and the transfer of skills which
empower beneficiaries to take control of their future.
Achieving our objective of creating programmes which have a sustainable
impact requires more intervention than simply providing once-off grants or donations. It requires us to partner with beneficiaries to strengthen
governance and increase capacity in grass roots organisations which are
often informally structured to ensure they report back to the board
regularly on progress through the SED committee. It also requires us to
monitor beneficiaries to ensure that resources are not concentrated in
selected projects separately funded by multiple organisations.
However, due to economic challenges in South Africa following
the global downturn, the group received a significant increase in
applications for emergency social grants. Although we believe
that social grants do not create sustainability in the long term, due
to the pressure during this time on the most vulnerable of society,
we made a conscious decision to temporarily veer away from our
long term SED strategy to provide urgent, short term relief to a
number of charities. The group also launched an employee assistance
programme to support the group’s HIV/Aids programme. These
programmes were both funded as social spend under the SED
programme in line with the dti Code of Good Practice and the
Construction Charter. This led to a 38% spend on social grants
compared to the 10% target.
We remain committed to our strategy of creating meaningful impact
and long term sustainability. In the new year we will therefore strongly
drive alignment to meet this target.
Over the past year, the group has progressed in terms of involving a
broader base of employees in the group’s SED initiatives. Employee
engagement was encouraged in a number of ways, including:
||Allowing employees time during their normal working hours to be
involved in various group community programmes
||Promoting skills transfer and mentoring of community
organisations and emerging enterprises
In line with increasing our focus on employee engagement, we have
improved our communication of SED programmes to stakeholders.
Our website was significantly upgraded with disclosure on community
investment and we have worked on raising awareness about the
group’s programmes to all stakeholders. However, we have a lot
more to do around this.
As Group Five’s expansion continues beyond South Africa into the rest
of Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, we will operate in
regions with diverse development priorities. Our SED programmes are
a vital offering with this expansion. To remain relevant, our socioeconomic
development will adapt to local requirements and
sustainability objectives. We have a clear strategy in place for this.
During the year, we achieved a number of impacts in the three areas of
our SED focus.
Education and skills development programmes
Supporting skills in mathematics and science
The lack of essential maths and science skills is one of the major
obstacles to economic growth in South Africa. As such, Group Five has
responded to the request by the South African government to industry
to support the New Economic Growth Path (NEGP). The NEGP was
launched in November 2010 and aims to develop at least 30 000
additional technicians/engineers by 2014 and 50 000 new artisans by
2015. Support for the NEGP is critical in underpinning future growth for
Group Five as the skills targeted through the programme are essential
for the successful development of our industry.
Projects undertaken by the group in this area include:
||Sponsorship of TRAC mobile science laboratories. These have
supported over ten schools with no access to traditional
laboratories or basic equipment
||Assistance in maths and education support to over 500 learners in
five schools through the Dinaledi schools programme
||Financial and curriculum improvement support to two further
education and training (FET) colleges in Gauteng and Western Cape
||The sponsorship of technical laboratories at the University of the
||The sponsorship of the Women in Engineering and the Built
Environment programme at the University of Johannesburg.
Through this initiative the university has seen a marked increase
of young women enrolling in engineering and construction-related
People at the Gate
Unemployment and lack of skills continue to plague many
communities. The group launched a unique industry initiative in
2006 called “People at the Gate” with the aim of training unskilled
people arriving at construction sites in search of employment. The
programme has been very successful, with over 90% of individuals
trained attaining employment.
Our long term aim in this area is to drive independence in communities
through skills transfer and creation of sustainable employment,
particularly for women and the youth. As outlined, the group over-spent
on its social grant component of the budget, which affected our
economic spend during the year. This led to a 9% actual economic
spend versus a 35% target. This will receive urgent attention in F2012.
As outlined, a huge increase in requests for emergency grants
was seen during the year. The business units and the group felt it
necessary to assist a number of worthy causes. Refer to page 65 on
the CD contained within this integrated report for more information.
A key impact in terms of our social support is our employee HIV/Aids
programme. Over the last two years, the group rolled out awareness
counselling and testing (ACT) programmes to ensure that at least 80%
of our employees in South Africa know their HIV status over a two-year
period and can take the necessary measures to combat this disease.
The group’s employee assistance programme also extends to victims of
HIV/Aids in various communities, which will make a big difference to
employees and family members living with HIV and Aids.
I thank all the members of the SED committee of Group Five for their
guidance and assistance in achieving these vital goals and to all the
employees of Group Five for their continuing involvement in these efforts.
A great deal still has to be done to continue to work meaningfully with
the communities in our areas of operations. I look forward to enabling
further changes through our SED implementation during the
Baroness L (Lynda) Chalker
Non-executive chairperson of the SED committee
5 August 2011