May 27, 2017

Care for iMali project- an example of well-orchestrated CSR initiative

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can contribute towards more inclusive development and alleviation of poverty- Sibanye Gold’s initiatives are a perfect example of the power of a well-planned CSR programme. The company’s initiatives are premised on three key pillars that include agriculture, socio-economic infrastructure development (building of schools, clinics and employee housing) as well as skills development.

The agenda of these initiatives is informed and guided by the company’ Sustaining the Social Licence to Operate Committee (SSLOC) which is a sub-committee of the main Executive Committee which reports directly to the Board of Directors of the Company but is informed by the economic needs of the region in which we operate, elaborates Phillip Jacobs, VP Corporate Affairs for Sibanye Gold.

The entire rationale of the Social and Labour Plan (SLPs), the approval and compliance of which is conditional on the company retaining its Mining Right, is to create sustainable projects and an alternate or parallel economy that is not reliant on mining, which will prevent the advent of ‘Ghost towns’ once mining activities are over. The company is building towards high impact regional projects throughout its operational areas that will be sustainable without continued funding from the mine and hence the focus on agriculture projects, where land and water owned by the mine are abundant in the area, as well as infrastructure development to supplement the housing programmes of local and national government.

These initiatives have created employment for the host and neighbouring communities as well as access to affordable home ownership for employees. In addition, socio-economic development has had far reaching impact on communities in terms of access to convenient and safe services within the communities, such as the clinics, schools and TVET College, adds Phillip Jacobs.

Delivering value to employees – and improving personal financial management

What is emerging from one of Sibanye’s CSR initiatives – the Care for iMali Project – is that mining companies should think more critically about the relevance of their CSR practice to their business including the well-being of their employees and the host community – as well as working with all the stakeholders to ascertain the immediate needs and challenges, whilst coming up with specific diagnoses.

The “Care for iMali” initiative was borne out of the need to address the issue of some employees not receiving their full take home pay due to unfair credit practices and lack of knowledge of credit terms that resulted in more garnishee orders and minimal take home pay. Employees were also susceptible to loan sharks and mismanagement of money due to lack of education.

 The Care for iMali project focuses on:

  • Empowering Sibanye employees to manage their finances through financial awareness training
  • Making follow-up coaching (and budgeting) support and education available
  • Adjusting the context within which employees manage their personal finance by:
  • Investigating and validating garnishee orders
  • Managing existing and new garnishee orders.
  • Developing debt management process to inform employees of garnishee orders received by SG
  • Supporting employees with a debt consolidation option
  • Loan Sharks operating within SG surrounds are managed/removed by Protection Services Team
  • ‘No/Limited deductions’ are implemented at Recreational Clubs/Hostel Shops

The project has changed lives and thus has benefitted over 22 000 employees and community members, as well as decreasing garnishee orders by 49% and increasing the take home amount.

The project shows that collaboration and the forging of partnerships that encourage the sharing of different sets of expertise and other resources is critical, as it reduces fragmented development, and the impact will be higher with partners that bring technical resources and funding to the table.

Sibanye has moved away from the old mining house practice of CSR for compliance, or “tick-the-box” approach where expenditures were committed for the sake of compliance to a more impactful approach that will make a difference in the hearts and minds of communities in which we operate, concludes Phillip Jacobs.

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