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D E V E L O P I N G   P E O P L E
Reunert is committed to furthering the social empowerment of the people of South Africa and to cultivating the expertise needed in its group of companies to compete in a world-class environment.
Accordingly, the group's social responsibility programmes focus on adding value in the fields of education and job creation. While we make monetary contributions to suitable projects, we firmly believe the capacity for development in the group should be shared with institutions and their communities. Leaders in our companies are actively engaged in forums and bodies that influence, and contribute to, the social and economic upliftment of South African society.
R E U N E R T   C O L L E G E
South Africa's growing shortage of skills is a serious obstacle to the competitiveness of industry. The Reunert College was established in 1993 as part of Reunert's contribution to turning this tide around. Since then, 378 previously disadvantaged students have participated in academic advancement courses to improve their mathematics, science and English matriculation symbols. This allows them access to tertiary education, specifically in the engineering field. With an average pass rate of above 95%, compared with less than 14% in national schools, this initiative is highly successful in addressing the skills shortage and is also playing a major role in promoting employment equity in the workplace.
Social empowerment is a national priority and the responsibility of all. Reunert is committed to furthering this.
Last year, the 42 students writing final exams obtained a 100% pass rate, with four distinctions in mathematics and two distinctions in science. Due to an overwhelming interest from hopeful students, an independent study group was established. These students only receive training once a week from a facilitator, and courses such as life skills, communication, computer skills and technical drawing are included.
A record 810 applications were received for the year 2000, with 40 full-time students being selected and an independent group of 27 established. To improve the electronic skills of students, a technolab course, developed by the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), was introduced in April. For the first time this year, students also wrote accounting as a matriculation
Since 1993, 378 students have benefited from courses offered by Reunert College preparing the road to tertiary education.
Various other training initiatives are linked to the college and form part of Reunert's core strategy to promote employment equity in the workplace. The Reunert Bursary Fund is an essential part of the college and some 200 bursaries have been awarded since its inception. Many of these students have subsequently been employed in our group, either as part of their practical or experiential training or as permanent employees.
In addition to this initiative, various companies in the group also support a range of social responsibility programmes in their own capacity. These include bursaries to previously disadvantaged groups, bursaries to employees' children, adult basic education programmes and financial support to schools and learning institutions.
  • Since 1994, African Cables, in co-operation with Riverside High School in Vereeniging, has assisted 407 children with supplementary and remedial English, mathematics and science classes.

  • CBI has been involved in a job-shadowing programme for grade 11 students, but will narrow the focus to students interested in engineering.

  • CBI also has ten employees currently undergoing further education and coaching through REFA, a non-profit organisation for work design, business organisation and enterprise development. REFA is Europe's largest private institution for further education.

  • ATC, in partnership with Telkom, RAU and Wits Technikon, is developing a Centre of Excellence in Optical Communications.

S O C I A L   R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y
The Community Growth Fund (CGF), which includes in its investment criteria an analysis of a company's labour practices; its health, security and environmental issues; its employee training and economic empowerment; and its level of social responsibility, approved Reunert as a suitable investment this year. Reunert is pleased that its efforts in these areas have been recognised.

Reunert supports the Business Trust in its vision to work together with the government in developing the people of South Africa and creating jobs. The Business Trust, now in its second year, has drafted business plans for eight primary programmes that focus on tourism, schooling and the reduction of crime.

Nashua, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Knights, is assisting in erecting classrooms at the St Ansgars Farm School and Witkoppen Farm School, while Panasonic has supported the Twilight Children project since 1994. Panasonic is establishing a Twilight Children Trust, which will provide funding for the implementation of a mentoring programme.
E C O N O M I C   E M P O W E R M E N T
The black business empowerment group, Kgorong Investment Holdings, has acquired equity stakes in Reunert Defence Logistics and Reutech Radar Systems, the latter of which was awarded a major contract to supply multimillion rand radar tracking systems for the government's four new German-manufactured naval patrol corvettes.
Various outreach initiatives have been implemented in the group. Panasonic's first empowerment franchise, Office Solutions Empowerment Company (OSEC), was appointed more than a year ago and is operating profitably. Zimele Broadcasting Services has already been instrumental in the procurement and conclusion of a lucrative contract with the SABC for the supply of DVCPRO broadcasting equipment. Another initiative reaping benefits from an initial investment, is Nashua Kopano, a 100% black-owned Nashua franchisee based in Midrand.
Extensive efforts are made to identify and use service providers from previously disadvantaged groups in awarding contracts for maintenance, canteen services and security. To date, most of these services have been outsourced, reducing fixed costs for the group and building viable businesses for service providers.
Reunert Exchange Products, a company specialising in engine refurbishment, was sold last year to a consortium in which two black trade unions held a 20% stake. As part of its social contribution, Reunert closed the deal at a discount of 50% of net asset value of the business.
E M P L O Y M E N T   E Q U I T Y
As part of the drive to expand social equity and fair labour standards, Reunert has incorporated the principles of employment equity into the strategic business plans of group companies. The necessary employment equity plans have been prepared and filed with the Department of Labour. These plans form part of the transformation processes to introduce world-class practices and standards into the workplace, acknowledging that effective performance is a critical key to sustainable success for organisations.
A cross-section of employees was consulted to gain input and understanding of the barriers to equality and parity in the workplace. Following these discrimination audits, the necessary actions have been implemented to eliminate such practices. In some areas, provision has been made for new positions to accommodate people from designated groups.
The Reunert Skills Development Forum plays a vital role in implementing the Skills Development Act of 1998. Members of this forum are nominated from the different companies and are widely exposed to the activities of the different sectoral education and training authorities (SETAs). The companies in the group belong to the manufacturing, engineering and related services education and training authority or to the information systems, electronics and telecommunication technologies SETA.
P E N S I O N   F U N D
Individual member choice was introduced to the fund at the end of 1999, allowing members to switch portfolios every quarter. Feedback on the fund's investment performance is communicated to members every three months.
H I V   /   A I D S
So far, HIV/Aids has not had a significant impact on the group's businesses. The group follows a non-discriminatory policy and companies are implementing various programmes to educate their people in preventing the disease. Most group medical schemes provide assistance to Aids sufferers, including hospital benefits, prophylaxis for rape victims and pregnant women, as well as a savings account which allows people to apply their discretionary savings towards their own care.

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Copyright - Reunert - 2003