Khanyisile Kweyama talks BEE

CSI is business imperative

Khanyisile Kweyama: Executive Director Anglo American
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Enterprise development is widely recognised as an essential factor in South Africa’s economic and transformation aspirations. In particular, the wide scale development and emergence of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) sector is regarded as a perfect tonic to the current economic downturn, with the local economy having not created a significant amount of new jobs in the recent past.

The assertion that the SMME sector can positively shift the current economic status quo and create numerous new jobs is validated by the fact that this sector is a significant employer. In fact, the 2011 Pastel SME Business Survey reveals that an estimated 1.5 million Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) employ around 60% of South Africa’s labour force.

Further, this sector is expected to create numerous more jobs in the next few years, following the recent decision by the World Bank’s private-sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation, to commit approximately $1 billion (R7.2 billion) to projects reaching SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa.

Beyond the obvious potential with regards to job creation, supporting SMEs and entrepreneurial candidates, will also benefit our country in several other respects including skills development, economic growth, and poverty alleviation. However, many companies have still not recognised the importance of this issue, and this was the catalyst for the recent announcement by Minister Davies regarding the need for companies to commit to enterprise, supplier, and skills development, or risk losing BEE points. 

Companies should not view this latest development as a legal burden or hindrance to business aspirations, but rather as a golden opportunity to contribute valuably to South Africa’s development, as well as the prosperity of one’s own company.   

By empowering entrepreneurs to operate in the mainstream economy, numerous jobs will be created, and the country’s talented business people will acquire the skills required to maintain and sustain viable and thriving enterprises. 

In turn, this enhances a company’s social licence to operate, as their activities are not confined to immediate business concerns, but incorporate the wider socio-economic implication of society.

This course of action will also directly improve the operations of corporate companies, as they will be able to procure from local enterprises into their business. Subsequently, they will have readily available access to an increased number of sustainable and world-class suppliers.

Since forming Zimele in 1989, we have witnessed first-hand the immensely positive results that can be made through funding, training and mentoring entrepreneurs in emerging black businesses in mining communities.

This much is evident in our impressive statistics from 2008 to the end of 2011, relating to our four funds, namely, the Anglo American Khula Mining Fund, the Supply Chain Fund, the Community Fund, and the Green Fund.

Collectively, these funds have provided R567 million in funding, supported 1,085 companies, and completed 1,481 loan transactions. Further, these businesses employ 19,575 people, and achieved a collective annual turnover of R2.4 billion.

As such, it is immediately apparent that Zimele has truly become leaders in corporate enterprise development, and has been a catalyst for sustainable job creation and socio-economic development in rural and peri-urban mining communities.

Committing to enterprise development has also allowed Anglo American to strengthen our supply chain, and during 2011, our total BEE procurement spend by managed and independently managed businesses and enterprise development was R25.8 billion. 

Anglo American’s notable commitment to the enterprise development arena also aligns consistently with government’s prioritisation of entrepreneurship and the advancement of SMME as a catalyst to achieving economic growth and development. 

Further, we have made significant strides in providing financial and non-financial assistance to the SME sector, which supports the various SMME-related policies implemented by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

In conclusion, Anglo American urges all companies to embrace the opportunity to initiate an enterprise development programme into their operations. Companies committing to this programme will not only ensure that they are able to benefit directly and maintain their BEE status, but will also substantively further South Africa’s development as a country. 

 

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