Vodacom Group’s efforts geared towards ensuring that the local economy is structured and transformed to enable the meaningful participation of the majority of South African citizens have yielded positive results. Today, Vodacom Group Ltd announces that it has achieved the highest BEE contributor score of Level 1.
Vodacom Group Ltd earned the Level 1 BBBEE status as a result of its local subsidiaries accelerating a concerted transformation strategy, ensuring that the Group exceeds its financial year 2019/20 targets against all the five components of the BBBEE scorecard. Subsidiaries, Vodacom SA and Nexio retained the previous year’s rating of Level 1 with X-Link improving from Level 2 to Level 1.
Commenting on the occasion of achieving Level 1 BBBEE status, Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub, said: “For Vodacom, a company with strong local roots, this is an exciting achievement. These results are a full demonstration of our commitment to supporting government’s national imperative goals involving the support of black SMMEs, Youth Employment, Skills Development and uplifting local communities still trapped in abject poverty.”
Some of the contributors to the new score of Level 1 BBBEE status include:
On procurement, Vodacom spent R35,9 billion on BEE status companies with Level 4 and above. Of this spend, Vodacom spent R13 billion with >51% blacked-owned suppliers and R15 billion was spent procuring services from >30% black woman-owned suppliers. The company also procured services to the tune of R3.3 billion from black owned Qualifying Small Enterprises, R2.3 billion on black suppliers from designated groups, while R1.3 billion was spent on acquiring services from black owned Exempt Micro Enterprises.
A focus on enterprise creation and development is key to the ICT sector. Vodacom spent R243 million on supplier development and R407 million on SMME development across seven provinces. Crucially, the Group paid R981 million to black owned SMME suppliers in three days or less from time of invoice. This is important as local research shows that the majority of SMME fail because of the failure by local companies to honour invoice payments for service rendered.
As part of Vodacom’s commitment to continuous employment skills development of its employees, the company invested a total of R363 million in skills development of which 76% was skills spend to black people including black employees. The investment takes into consideration internal and external bursaries, training of staff members, graduate and learnership programmes, training of youth across the country through the Youth Academy, among other costs.
For instance, the company spent R275 million training black people; R15 million was spent on training black people with disabilities. As a result of this spend, 1 379 unemployed black people participated in training specified in the Codes, 808 black youth were placed in learnership programmes and 400 black youth were placed in IT development programs, whilst 135 received bursaries to the tune of R14 million.
As a responsible corporate citizen that works across emerging markets in Africa, the Group recognises that it has both a particular responsibility and a profound opportunity to provide societal value through its core business activities. In the past financial year, Vodacom spent R87,5 million providing its mobile Education programme, e-School platform, ICT Computer Centres and training teachers in digital literacy. Vodacom also spent just over R21 million in community upliftment through initiatives such as Youth Development, Gender Based Violence, NPO partnerships and Change the World. The result is that 100 000 black teachers were trained in digital literacy, 866 452 black learners accessed Vodacom e-School, 92 teacher centres and 12 schools of excellence were supported and 110 special needs schools were connected and provided with ICT tools.
“These positive results show that at Vodacom we are serious about the transformation agenda and the development of South Africa. We view Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment as an important policy intervention to deal with SA’s inequality. It is my view that no economy can grow by excluding a section of its population but the economy needs to grow to drive inclusion and this is an area we will continue to support the government,” concluded Joosub.