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Corporate Social Investment

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The Altron group has a rich history of community upliftment through socio-economic development (SED) within the communities in which it operates. SED incorporates corporate social investment (CSI) and non-monetary contributions to beneficiaries that facilitate sustainable access to the economy. It also forms an integral part of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) and is a key component of Altron’s stated objectives. While it is not a material business issue, corporate social investment is an important issue closely connected to our company values and directly linked to our social licence to operate.

The Altron group’s CSI policy guides the group companies in implementing their SED programmes. The operating companies adapt the policy to suit their geographic, sector and community needs, but ensure their CSI expenditure is regulated and monitored in accordance with the guidelines provided by the group CSI policy.

Despite the financial poor performance of the group, Altron continued its investment into SED projects, spending R10,7 million (2014: R12,9 million) on a variety of projects, with a specific focus on large-scale, high-impact initiatives that offer scope for public-private partnerships.

Altron TMT and Altron Power run their own community development and engagement projects through its corporate social investment committees. Although there is a strong move towards greater consolidation of group-wide SED spend and its investment in long-term projects that deliver ongoing, measurable impact to the broadest group of beneficiaries possible, each sub-holding company still has the final say on where money is invested. This SED spend is, however, controlled and monitored via Altron’s social and ethics committee.

Group companies usually contribute between 1% and 1,5% of net profit after tax (NPAT) to socio-economic development. We have score the full five points for this element of the B-BBEE scorecard.

None of our operations has been identified as having the potential to negatively impact local communities.

We are guided by the needs of local communities, the country’s socio-economic development imperatives and core business-alignment considerations in selecting community projects in which to invest. These have informed our CSI focus areas, outlined below:

Education and training, incorporating: general education in technology and IT, electronics/multimedia, engineering, maths and science; school infrastructural development, outreach programmes and Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET); and skills development programmes aimed at improving skills levels in communities which enable people to earn a living and become self-sustainable.

Job creation outside the company value chain, including: support for job creation projects that are external to the workplace and aimed at creating self-sustainability for organisations qualifying for SED/CSI support. This does not include incorporate projects, which qualify under enterprise development/preferential procurement as part of the group’s supply chain.

Community development and support, incorporating: health and social welfare in medical, primary healthcare and welfare projects within communities in which the group operates; community AIDS awareness programmes aligned to government programmes; and support for security and public safety programmes (such as training of volunteers working at police stations, provision of equipment or outreach programmes).

Conservation and environment, including: environmental awareness and projects; support of conservation initiatives and programmes; and involvement in disaster relief programmes.

Arts, culture and sports, including: support of developmental programmes, training of new talent and the development of historically disadvantaged individuals or teams.

Some projects included:

  • Altech Multimedia (AMM) has established two learning centres in Tongaat and KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal and was delighted when both centres had a 100% pass rate in matric and did well in science and maths. Also, every year for the past five years AMM has sponsored a year long end-user computing course for 50 school leavers in KwaMashu. This year Bytes People Solutions (BPS) managed this project on behalf of AMM.
  • The Bytes Document Solutions (BDS) Supplier Development Programme established three small black owned courier companies who have contracts with BDS to deliver Xerox devices, paper and consumables. To ensure these businesses do not fail in their incubation period BDS has undertaken to pay their vehicle costs even if BDS does not make use of their services. BDS has also established black-owned service partners to service Xerox multifunction devices. People previously employed by BDS head up these businesses. To support them until they become established BDS provides ongoing training of their technicians free of charge.
  • When BMS is contracted to take a customer through a technology refresh it works with the customer to repurpose devices and donate them to schools or learning centres that have a requirement. This is something BMS does every day. Microsoft is supportive of this process, providing free software licences for the machines.
  • Powertech Transformers supports maths and science education for school learners in both Cape Town and Pretoria. It also provides students with bursaries.
  • Powertech System Integrators (PTSI) chose the Thuthuka Primary in Tembisa, Gauteng, as its beneficiary. It has improved facilities at the school and comfort in the preschool classrooms.
  • Crabtree, as part of its social responsibility takes school children on tours of its factory and educates them on the dangers of electricity and how to keep safe when using electricity.