Transformation, sustainability and people

Gillian McMahon, transformation director, "Bidvest continues to position and drive transformation as a commercial imperative and as one of the biggest determinants for our growth, prosperity and continuity in South Africa."

As a committed corporate citizen and one of the largest employers in South Africa, we continue to support and empower the individuals, businesses and communities we serve. We acknowledge that transformation is key to long-term growth and sustainability and while scorecards and good B-BBEE ratings play a vital role in accessing opportunities it remains only a benchmark and measurement for change that happens beyond the tick-box framework.

The past year has seen proposed and implemented amendments to B-BBEE regulations and legislation. The amended Preferential Procurement Regulations (2017), the proposed changes to the Mining Charter as well as the new reporting requirements for JSE listed companies and the B-BBEE Commission are in full force. These new and proposed changes will influence how we engage as business in South Africa and ensure our compliance as a listed entity.

We are cognisant of the fact that If we are going to achieve transformation in a way that strengthens our businesses rather than burden it with legislation, there has to be a more collaborative and inclusive approach between the private sector and government.

As a leader in business we will continue to be proactive and lead by example. We are clear on the fact that our success in securing business growth and sustainability hinges on our ability to critically assess and overcome the current challenges by identifying different ways of doing business. We view our relationships with customers and suppliers as key and a platform for more strategic solutions and partnerships alike.

While the economic outlook is not as favourable as it was a few years ago, we will continue to advance in transforming our status and impact as a corporate citizen. In line with the decentralised operating model of the Group, every subsidiary business acquires its own B-BBEE rating that it uses to operate and trade. So, while the Bidvest Group achieved a commendable level 4 B-BBEE contributor status, at least 75% of the individual subsidiary businesses achieved between a level 1 and a level 4 rating. Our objective is not only to improve on this in the year ahead but also to focus on long-term, scalable and sustainable solutions for social and economic transformation.

Bidvest's B-BBEE certificate can be found in the Annual Governance report, page 28.

Management diversity remains top of mind to encourage inclusivity and different ways of thinking. We know that a diverse leadership team and employee base will foster innovation and stimulate an environment within which everyone can thrive. Various leadership interventions across the Group, for example the Bidvest Academy and Executive Development Programmes, bode well to prepare young, diverse leaders for the future.

Tackling the challenge of youth unemployment, currently estimated at 57%, remains high on our agenda and is addressed via increased investment in skills development, learnerships and internships and where possible, the absorption of such individuals into our businesses and the industry in general. Building capacity in technical skills is high on the agenda for all businesses. Many of our existing facilities have been ramped up to accommodate this need.

Transforming our supply chain is crucial, although challenged, by a burdensome legislative environment that impedes the development of SMMEs. Sourcing suitable black-owned SMMEs is a priority. Efforts in this regard have been ramped up significantly.

Code practices are not aligned with business practicalities. Bidvest has long since acknowledged that long-term, strategic solutions are required to gain substantive change.

Transformation, sustainability and people

The Bidvest Village


Situated near the Hartebeespoort Dam in the North West Province, the Bidvest Village is an ambitious project that aims to address the broader social and economic challenges faced by local communities. It is established as a community and home for orphaned children and the foster mothers who will care for them. The objective is to provide an environment in which the children and mothers will thrive and be empowered to become educated and economically self-sufficient. The village is designed not only to provide essential services such as health, security, education and housing but also to stimulate commerce with income generating activities, to ultimately break the reliance on charity.

The Bidvest Village

Conducting business in a sustainable manner is integrated in our day-to-day activities. Given the decentralised and varied nature of the businesses, sustainability is managed at business level. From a Group perspective, we identified a set of material issues that are common and present risks and opportunities.

  • Doing business in an environmentally friendly manner. We focus on energy and water efficiency, responsible waste management and offering innovative solutions to aid customer sustainability. In FY18 we will continue our initiatives to improve water use; and accelerate renewable energy installations and responsible waste management.
  • Drive positive social change. We are involved in community development that enhance education, health, economic inclusion and diversity. Investing in communities and human capital, afford us the opportunity to operate, do business in and draw skills from the communities where we operate.
  • Caring for the Bidvest family. We aim to provide a safe and healthy workplace with equal opportunities which is conducive to learning and personal development. We want our employees to be proud Bidvest ambassadors.

Examples of SMME development within Bidvest divisions:

Namisile Truck Washing Services (NTWS)

Bidvest Panalpina Logistics (BPL) embarked on a project to outsource its fleet washing services to a suitable enterprise development company. The process of finding the suitable candidate to lead the truck wash company took a few months. After a few rounds of interviewing and screening NTWS was appointed. BPL assisted the owner, Namisile Gumede, in starting the company together with on-the-job training.

To date, BPL has assisted with investment in modern wash bay equipment, IT setup, a vehicle for transporting staff, equipment and consumables. BPL is actively involved in the operational and financial support of NTWS and pleased with the financial performance together with the service NTWS offers.

Mobile washing units will be acquired in the new year for NTWS to expand its service offering to include off-site vehicle cleaning. Phase two of the growth strategy includes offering fleet cleaning services to other corporate companies. BPL will continue to support NTWS's growth strategy.

Bidvest McCarthy runs an owner/driver scheme

to deliver parts to customers in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Bidvest McCarthy runs an owner/driver scheme

JMS Technical Solutions

The prepacking and assembly of Voltex products was previously outsourced to a company which did not meet the stipulated B-BBEE requirements. To meet the market demands in terms of B-BBEE, management decided to shift this strategic element of our value chain to a black-owned entity. We support this entity financially, and otherwise, to ensure the relationship is a success.

In addition to the financial assistance offered to JMS Technical Solutions, key Voltex personnel continue to offer support and skills transfer to personnel of the entity. This relationship has been running smoothly for more than two years. JMS Technical Solutions is 100% black-owned, 33% black women-owned and currently has a staff complement of 23, of which 61% are black females.

JMS Technical Solutions

Bidvest Bank's CSI partnership is with Modlin Mobile Education. Modlin's unique approach is in teaching critical subjects to communities in buses, fitted out as mobile classrooms, fully equipped with computers and interactive software. Trained educators travel in these buses to upskill teachers in accounting, maths and physical science. They also provide supporting learning material in these subjects, for learners.

Bidvest Bank advanced a low-interest bearing loan to SMME partner, Fleetmatix, with whom they tender on major public sector contracts. Fleetmatix manages the fleets.