Reaping the benefits of its emphasis on sustainability as a business strategy has spurred the Tsebo Outsourcing Group on to continue setting the pace as one of the country’s leading transformation companies.
“Transformation needs to impact all levels of our organisation,” says Tsebo Outsourcing Group CEO Clive Smith. “The continual promotion of BBBEE is part of Tsebo’s business strategy and not merely a compliance requirement.” In fact, Tsebo view BBBEE as a source of competitive advantage, both externally in the competition for contracts, and internally in the development of skills and the next generation of management.
Vital to the success of the strategy is defining initiatives within each of the seven pillars of BEE. In fulfilling its commitment to all aspects of the empowerment strategy, Tsebo’s activities have had a vital impact on other businesses and communities, especially in the area of enterprise development.
“In practice, enterprise development requires identifying community needs and forming sustainable partnerships that enable all participants to raise their skills levels; not only to generate an immediate income, but to provide a valuable service into the future,” Smith says.
“In all business initiatives and contracts we look to identify opportunities for uplifting communities through the use of local suppliers or the implementation of training programmes,” he says. Having won a key contract with Eskom the Medupi Power station, the two companies worked towards finding areas where sustainable enterprise could be developed. Lephalale Site Services, a Joint Venture between Tsebo Outsourcing and Mooncloud Investments, the catering sector company of Lephalale Black Business Forum (LBBF for Short) was then established.
Professor Mathenjwa, of Siyakha Consulting who work closely with Tsebo Outsourcing on their Enterprise Development Project says: “We set out to identify approximately 150 small businesses that could be developed into sustainable operational entities which would be able to supply Lephalale Site Services with their specific needs,”
“For example, one of the small businesses we identified is a group of four ladies who each have a sewing machine and make clothes for members of their community. Called Ikageng Arts and Crafts, these talented women were struggling to run their operation as a sustainable business or generate profits.”
Sibusiso Nhlozi of Siyakha Consulting, as well as Martha Mahlafunya of Lephalale Site Services worked with the group to create business plans with a clear vision and mission, as well as marketing strategies and financials to support the business plans. “These could then be presented to Lephalale Site Services in a bid to have the company assist the group with clothing materials,” says Sibusiso Nhlozi.
“Ikageng’s application was successful and that lead to Lephalale Site Services awarding the group a contract as sole supplier of staff uniforms.”
The initial contract is for the design and supply of 200 Lephalele uniforms. “This is a huge achievement for all concerned,” says Smith, “and an example of successful enterprise development on behalf of Tsebo and Lephalale Site Services. Not only does it create a sustainable business operation, it enables financial upliftment in the Limpopo community.”
The Tsebo Outsourcing Group believes that the key issue around B-BBEE is for the principles to become part of the company’s organisational strategy. “Businesses often view their B-BBEE strategy as a peripheral, without understanding the details of the process.”
As early as 1984, the Group addressed the need to empower its staff through the implementation of an effective affirmative action programme. Tsebo has continued to be both pioneer and role model in of empowerment, and is considered a leader in its area of business. The Tsebo Outsourcing Group holds a broad Level 2 B-BBEE contributor status according to the DTI Scorecard and has received accolades for implementing strategies that have been meaningful and rewarding for shareholders, employees and partners in enterprise development.
“In working within the parameters of the seven pillars of B-BBEE, we have focused strongly on enterprise development, believing that the upgrading of skills both within our company and in partnerships to be a truly effective way of enabling communities to develop and grow. The Lephalale project shows how valuable the passing on of skills and knowledge can be in transformation and development,” Smith concludes.