Oceana shows it’s commitment to the needy

By: Thandisizwe Mgudlwa – AfricanBrains

At a time when community based organisations are battling to survive, the Oceana Group is spreading its wings over those most in need.

In what can be classified as a philanthropic model to be followed by other corporates the new funding arrangement is set to make huge changes in the lives of many in South Africa.

This week Oceana Group proudly launched the Oceana Foundation in which all future funding for corporate social investment (CSI) projects will be directed.

The Foundation was formed following an extensive review of the impact the group was making in terms of its CSI spend.

Commenting on this new initiative Oceana Group CEO, Francois Kuttel said: “When we examined our CSI expenditure during 2010 it became apparent that our contributions toward projects was taking place in a rather fragmented manner given our decentralised operating structure and, as a result, the impact of our expenditure within communities was reduced. In addition, despite exceeding the required investment by government in CSI and socio economic development (SED) projects, our stakeholders were not aware of our commitment towards, and support provided to, local communities.”

For the past six years, the group has invested R17.4 million in community projects inSouth Africa. Since the implementation of the broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) scorecard in 2007, Oceana has achieved maximum points for the SED element. The group’s empowerment credentials are verified by independent accredited rating agency, Empowerdex. In 2011, Oceana achieved a black-owned level 2 B-BBEE status.

BBBEE is a South African government’s economic development programme geared toward the historically disenfranchised groups who suffered because of the evil oppressive apartheid regime which ended in 1994 when a democratically elected government led by the African National Congress (ANC) came to power.

Some recent CSI investments included continued support for the 8th successive year for the TSIBA University in Cape Town; upgrading school buildings at the St Helena Bay Primary School in Laingville; the handover of five digital smart boards to schools in Hout Bay, St Helena Bay and Lamberts Bay; donation of air conditioners to the Steenberg Cove Primary School in St Helena Bay and furniture to Sentinel Primary School in Hout Bay; as well as funding for, and the packing of 16,200 food parcels by employees for the Stop Hunger campaign.

The Foundation will in future consolidate Oceana’s CSI and SED spend under one banner. Within the context of two of the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) for South Africa, being to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (MDG 1) and achieve universal primary education (MDG 2), a decision was taken that the focus areas will be education and food security. Annually a target of 1.1% of Net Profit after Tax will be directed towards CSI initiatives, which includes socio-economic projects identified in line with the B-BBEE scorecard.

Other plans include communities along the Cape West Coast, Eastern Cape coastal communities andWalvis Baywhich have been identified as areas that will be targeted.