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KT CEO Mankodi Moitse: Using 30 years of wisdom to overcome poverty

1. Why did Kagiso Trust have a year-long celebration for its 30th anniversary?
Kagiso Trust was founded in 1985 but officially registered in 1986. Because the organization is celebrating 30 years, a momentous occasion, we decided to utilize a year in making the most of our 30th Anniversary. The theme we have chosen is “Pearls of Wisdom”, as it represents wisdom gathered over time and is symbolic of the traditional 30 year marriage gift. We have been engaging in a number of wisdom gathering events in and around South Africa aimed at our beneficiaries and stakeholders, inviting insight and debate, and encouraging all to share knowledge gained within their communities over the years.


2. What key highlights stood out from the 30th anniversary celebration?

With the blessing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kagiso Trust embarked on a national campaign of a collection of odes, poems and letters to the Archbishop. During the months of September and October 2015, we collected odes from the public. Submissions came from hundreds of South Africans through our social media platforms, emails and posts to our websites. We also partnered with the SABC Foundation and Kagiso Media in furthering the reach of the campaign. With the odes consolidated, in January of this year Kagiso Trust chairperson, Reverend Frank Chikane and I presented the Odes to Arch book to the Archbishop in Cape Town.
Panel Discussions
As part of our celebration, we hosted a series of nation-wide university panel discussions in partnership with a number of universities in the country. The discussions encouraged leading figures in the academic, government, civil and private sector to share wisdoms and lessons learned with the broader South African public in a year-long knowledge sharing campaign.
Four strands were identified:
› Innovation
› Sustainability
› Collaboration
› Development

We are pleased that leaders and experts such as former President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Thabo Mbeki; CEO of Thebe Foundation, Mr Mokhethi Tshabalala; Free State Education MEC, Mr Tate Makgoe; Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies; and Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr Gugile Nkwinti. Pearls of Wisdom Editorials Alongside the campaign we have been running a series of monthly editorial features in the Sunday Times Business Times from July 2015 until now. We have invited key figures and leaders across corporate, civil, public and media society in South Africa to share their own pearls of wisdom gathered over the years in their respective roles and the knowledge topics will be based on four identified areas and development agenda, namely: development, innovation, collaboration and sustainability. The caliber of contributors and quality of their contributions has been overwhelming.

Pearls of Wisdom Editorials
Alongside the campaign we have been running a series of monthly editorial features in the Sunday Times Business Times from July 2015 until now. We have invited key figures and leaders across corporate, civil, public and media society in South Africa to share their own pearls of wisdom gathered over the years in their respective roles and the knowledge topics will be based on four identified areas and development agenda, namely: development, innovation, collaboration and sustainability. The caliber of contributors and quality of their contributions has been overwhelming.


3. Why was it important to honour Archbishop Desmond Tutu during the celebration?

When we conceptualized the #OdeToArch in 2014, it came at a time when the Archbishop was celebrating 30 years of having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and as one of Kagiso Trust’s founding fathers, we found it important to honour him while we still had the chance. This is something the organization has undertaken to do with those who helped build Kagiso Trust to the success story it is today: to honour them while we still can. During our 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner we presented our patrons and key individuals, including the Archbishop, with the Kagiso Trust Lifetime Achievement Award.


4. What lessons has Kagiso Trust learnt from the pearls shared during this celebration and how will these be applied in the Trust’s programmes?

We have gathered demonstrable achievements over the years. And with those came key learnings for programme implementation and financial sustainability, such as:
>> Being relevant: in that we need to be responsive to people’s challenges and address real needs in our programmes
>> To be impactful: we need to build competencies and focus on doing what we know best
>> A life-cycle approach: which will enable us to align and synergize our activities and achieve more meaningful impact
>> To be sustainable: Kagiso Trust needs to generate its own income through strategic investments and development of partnerships, and surround ourselves with like-minded people and institutions that enhance the outcomes of our activities.


5. Why has Kagiso Trust decided to devise a new business strategy going forward?

Kagiso Trust pursues an organisational development strategy that seeks to maximize its unique strength of relating to ordinary people, as well as our considerable experience in development facilitation, to identify sustainable solutions towards poverty eradication. We continue to have an ambitious vision of creating ‘a prosperous, peaceful and just society’. It is our intention to do this through our mission which is ‘to contribute to development through sustainable funding, with like-minded partnerships and innovative scalable development models’.
To achieve this, our strategic focus will continue to be in education, socio-economic development and institutional capacity development. To achieve this, we need to ensure financial sustainability of the Trust. Our new strategic focus has been established to ensure the most effective way to accomplish our vision.


6. Kagiso Trust has evolved its brand identity to take it to the next 30 years. Why is this important to move the brand forward?

Kagiso Trust has had the same brand identity for the past 30 years. We have retained the dove, paying homage to our past. The modern logo is made up of three parts which is symbolic of our staunch belief in partnerships as we implement our programmes in disadvantaged communities and throughout the country. In addition, we introduced earthy African colours such as the deep oranges and olive green, a commitment to continue with our bottom up approach which values input and learnings from a grass roots level.


7. Why is it important that the Trust’s work and programmes be aligned with Vision 2030 outlined in the National Development Plan in relation to education and socio-economic development?

The government, through the National Development Plan (NDP), envisages a significant role of small businesses and expects them to create 90% of the targeted 11 million jobs by 2030. This implies that small business will have to contribute roughly 800 000 jobs per year until 2030. While government is driving several strategic initiatives to support small enterprise development, like the launch of National Gazelles etc., there is extensive scope for NGO’s like KT to support economic development.
KT, through Kagiso Enterprises Rural Private Equity Fund (KERPEF) has already been engaged in enterprise development since 2002. However, in addition to developmental imperatives outlined above, there are several other compelling reasons for KT to increase its efforts in the area of enterprise development:
• Enterprise development will lead to job creation which is key from KT’s social impact perspective: Job creation, especially for youth, is critical for KT’s social impact. Small and medium sized businesses are the fastest growing creators of employment and are a strong platform for KT.
• KT has strong expertise and experience in the field of enterprise development: Through KERPEF, KT has developed expertise in small business sourcing, funding as well financial management. The hands-on experience has shed several insights on developing businesses, allowed KT to develop a deep understanding of SME issues and challenges as well as highlighted several operational challenges while providing SME support.
• Enterprise and supplier development (ESD) presents a strong market opportunity: ESD is a growing area and opportunities exist to partner with medium to large sized companies as their outsourced ESD provider. KT is in a strong position to leverage its credibility to source ESD clients and open up market access opportunities for enterprises.
  • Availability of KT controlled funds for entrepreneurship: KT has the ability to offer seed funding to the entrepreneurs and can tap into own funds and large asset bases.

By 2030, the NDP envisages an education system that has the follow attributes:

  • High quality early childhood education, with access rates that exceed 90%;

  •  Quality school education with literacy and numeracy at globally competitive standards;

  •  Higher Education and Further Education Training (FET), that provides people with real opportunities to reach their full potential;

  • an expanding higher education sector that is able to contribute towards rising incomes, higher productivity and the move towards a more knowledge-intensive economy; and

  • a wider system of innovation that links key public institutions with areas of the economy consistent with our economic priorities In reviewing the opportunities, we have explored the reasons why the Trust should continue to be involved in this sector further to the interventions we have looked at to date.

In review, we have found that there are a number of critical reasons for our need to continue to work in this sector. These include:
  • Our recognition of the role education places in achieving economic development. We continue to believe that education is critical to the eradication of poverty in South Africa, as is true for the world. For the beneficiary of our education programmes, we not only provide essential skills necessary to function in adulthood but the economy, we believe that we provide a ‘gift of a lifetime’. We still have further work to do in not just ensuring access but also to address the quality and relevance of education in the education institutions we will work with.
  • Our depth of expertise and experience places us as a key stakeholder in defining and executing education models and interventions. Further to this, we recognise that there are many areas that we have yet to impact to deal with issues along the education value chain and address issues in the pipeline, like early childhood development and the skills levels in technical skills and colleges.
  • We are keen to address some unexplored opportunities in education that will allow for continued impact. There still remain unexplored opportunities in terms of depth – deepening understanding on issues that affect education – influencing education beyond the three districts in the Free State. Some of these opportunities include our need to pursue other collaborations to establish national footprint and work in other phases of the education value chain. Along with this, it is the Trust’s desire to ensure sustainability of our programme, beyond our intervention stages, through measuring or monitoring the success of interventions once we exit districts
  • We believe that where we are able to leverage our collaborative approach, we will make a greater impact in the education sector. Over and above partnership and collaboration with government, we strongly believe that leveraging other partnerships will allow us to strengthen alongside potential partners strengths, to pursue impact outcomes where market gaps exist
  • Our ability to continue to be self-funded will allow us to continue to be part of the solution as funding continues to be a challenge in this sector. We believe that our ability to inject capital into the sector enables us to influence the sector as we are not driven by donor desires but focused on providing what we believe to be impactful. As a result, the Trust is keen to broaden our effort in education to be able to have a greater impact. We have defined the strategic goals we believe important for our education focus:

– To deepen the quality and focus of education, particularly in the rural and township schools

– To foster and create functional, vibrant, healthy, accountable and sustainable school communities

– To broaden our education reach nationally and regionally across the education spectrum

– To provide traditional and innovative exit options for our learners.


8. The Trust has been self-sustainable over the years, how will Trust ensure that it continues on this path and how do you plan to amplify and replicate your programme models?

Our financial sustainability framework is intended on ensuring a continual balance between asset growth and programme spend. This is critically important for us as we want to ensure that we can fund the programmes we have planned. Our investments, managed by our investment companies, are important and we watch these closely. Kagiso Capital was established in 2015 to house all our investments under one roof and its main mandate is to ensure that the company generates dividends for the sole purpose of realizing Kagiso Trust’s sustainability for the next years and beyond.


9. Many stakeholders have played role in the success of the yearlong celebration, what message do you have for them?

In the words of former Kagiso Trust CEO, the late Eric Molobi: “We have a purpose, and that is that Kagiso has to outgrow us as individuals. Years from now when we are qualified ancestors, it must still be here. It must still be serving the people”.


I would like to extend a warm thanks to our trustees for the vision and commitment to the organisation. We appreciate their contribution and the roots they have planted for us. A special thanks to our partners as well, for aiding us in achieving our mandate over the years. Going forward, Kagiso Trust will still be serving the people.


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Pearls of Wisdom from Advocate Thuli Madonsela

Strand: Innovative Leadership

  1. What makes an innovative leader and why is innovation important to a leader?

An innovative leader is a leader who employs situational leadership practices to influence others to generate and deploy innovative solutions to challenges and take an organization or society forward. An innovative leader is not only one with creative solutions but one who recognizes and embraces creative solutions from his/her team while creating an environment that encourages creativity.

  1. What role does the Public Protector play in South Africa?

The Public Protector supports, strengthens constitutional democracy by repairing broken dialogue between the people and those they have entrusted with public power and resources. The office is an administrative watchdog of last resort, which principally fosters accountability and good governance in state affairs while ensuring justice for persons that have been wronged by the state. The thinking behind the office is to have a relatively informal administrative watchdog or safety valve that scrutinizes the acts of state actors and remedies state wrongs in thus closing gaps left by judicial accountability, political accountability and internal accountability mechanisms within organs of state. Operating like the Venda Makhadzi, the Public Protector ensures that disaffected persons and communities do not resort to public protest and ultimately violence to exact accountability or remedies for perceived injustice or service failure.

  1. Why is it important for Chapter 9 institutions to be protected by the constitution?

It is important for Chapter 9 institutions to be protected by the Constitution to ensure that they optimally perform their functions regarding supporting, strengthening democracy independently without fear, favour and prejudice.

  1. 21 years into our young democracy we face a new struggle of economic transformation and growth; does maladministration have an impact on South Africa’s growth?

Maladministration has a definite impact on economic growth and development. In fact, maladministration retards and derails economic growth and development in that services that have to be provided to support economic growth and development are often not provided due to bad planning, poor choice of private sector implementation partners or plain corruption. An example in this regard are the deficiencies at Eskom that have led to systemic service failure regarding the provision of electricity with the impact of crippling productivity and commerce and in some cases resulting in liquidation of small businesses.

Maladministration involving regulatory failure is contributing to the flooding of the market with counterfeit goods with the effect of hurting legitimate business. Maladministration is involving failure to adhere to municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDP) is one of the key factors behind poor progress in the rolling out of infrastructure such as roads. The absence of infrastructure is a factor in undermining economic growth. Regarding corruption, a good example is RDP housing where millions of Rands have had to be reinvested to fix shoddily built houses that were fully paid for. Corruption also discourages genuine entrepreneurship as some entrepreneurs fear that they may invest in projects only to find that their participation can be corruptly curtailed or terminated arbitrarily.

The good thing is that the National Development Plan (NDP) is alive to the growing challenge of corruption and commit to the deployment of appropriate resources, including capacitation of the Public Protector and others to reinforce the war against corruption.

  1. What challenges are facing the government in relation to service delivery and accountability?

While today is better than yesterday regarding inclusive service delivery by government machinery. One of the key achievements has been the acceptance of equality of and the human dignity of all persons and communities. However, maladministration, corruption and ethical violations such as conflict of interest and other lapses regarding putting people first , are undermining the state’s effectiveness as a regulator and as an authority delivering important basic services.

Lack of adequate skills and leadership primarily due to a high turnover of experienced politicians and public sector mangers, are some of the principle problems. Inequality and related social injustice have also grown despite a constitutional commitment to the achievement of equality. It is my considered view that failure to fully implement some of the laws and policies is responsible for growing inequality and calls for social justice. An example in this regard is the Equality Act, whose chapter five (5) is yet to be implemented, more than 15 into its enactment. The NDP is another example, two years into its wholesale adoption by Parliament; it is not yet the basis of government strategies and allocation of resources.

  1. How can the private sector, government, unions and civil society work together to eradicate corruption and maladministration?

The private sector can play a meaningful part in ending corruption by firstly not participating in corrupt practices both when acting privately and in its dealings with organs of state. The private sector, government, unions and civil society can work together to raise awareness on corruption and to use peer pressure to act against those found to have been involved in corrupting. Collectively, these organs of society can encourage and provide support to whistle-blowers and administrative watchdogs responsible for combating corruption. Part of the onslaught against corruption, should target the institutionalization of values that promote integrity, fairness and human solidarity.

  1. Why is it important for South Africans to be active citizens and hold their government officials to account?

It is important for South Africans to be active citizens as they are in the same boat with the government with their fate impacted by all that governments does and fails to do.  It is also important to understand that democracy is not limited to engagement through political parties. It is an ongoing dialogue between the people and those entrusted with public power (state actors) through various constitutionally provided avenues. This is to ensure that state action is informed by and serves all communities and groups.

Who are some of the South Africans that have inspired you and why?

Mama Albertina Sisulu inspired me with her resolute integrity, quiet dignity, courage, selfless sense of service and compassion for others.  I’ve also be inspired by iconic global citizen Nelson Mandela principally because of his commitment to social justice, human dignity, the rule of law and peace. I have also been inspired by courageous and selfless actions of persons such as Olive Schreiner, Charlotte Maxeke, Shullamith Muller, Priscilla Jana, Cissie Gool, Cathy Satchwell, Victoria Mxenge and many others.

  1. How can NGOs like Kagiso Trust contribute to the development of our country?

NGOs such as Kagiso Trust can contribute through supporting quality education and the expansion of access to education to all, particularly those needing funding for tertiary education. Kagiso Trust can also contribute towards values education and leadership development from pre-school to working life. I believe Kagiso Trust has been contributing along the same lines and simple needs to expand its footprint this regard.

  1. What message do you have for Kagiso Trust as they celebrate their 30th anniversary?

Happy 30th Anniversary. It takes vision, resilience, innovation and purpose driven leadership to stay afloat and keep growing 30 years on. We trust you to play your part in keeping our beloved country, South Africa, on track as it navigates difficult storms on its journey towards an inclusive prosperous constitutional democracy. As South Africa continues into its third decade of constitutional democracy, Kagiso Trust and others should gallantly play their part in providing both support and constructive criticism to ensure we are not headed for a cliff as a democracy because of poor leadership or taking our eyes off our roadmap, the Constitution.


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NEF Lights the Black Economic Empowerment Path

The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) is positioned as a critical agent of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). NEF CEO, Ms Philisiwe Mthethwa, shares her thoughts about economic transformation.

What is the role of the NEF and how does it differ from other development finance institutions (DFIs)?

The NEF is an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry and is the only development financier that is exclusively mandated by legislation to promote black economic participation in South Africa. This is done through the provision of financial and non-financial support to black enterprises through a diverse range of finance products from R250 000 up to R75 million across all sectors of the economy. The second leg speaks to promoting a culture of savings and investment among black people, which includes the investor education seminars that have reached well over 30 000 people in villages and townships countrywide, among other milestones.

To date how much has the NEF approved and how many decent jobs have been created or supported?

Since the launch of operations in 2004 the NEF has approved over R7.1 billion of funding for black entrepreneurs across virtually all sectors of the economy. This funding has benefited more than 730 black entrepreneurs nationally, in investments that have supported in excess of 84 000 jobs countrywide. In the 2015/16 financial year alone the NEF approved R1.07 billion for black entrepreneurs countrywide.

While the NEF places importance on commercial viability, our mandate also focuses on softer measures in assessing applications for funding. These include development indicators such as black ownership, job creation, skills development, community development and participation, geographical location and black women empowerment.

What is the role of the NEF within the country’s broader economic development framework?

The NEF was born out of a constitutional imperative to redress the racially-based economic imbalances caused during the apartheid era. As a direct consequence of this history, today black people own only 3% direct equity in the economy, if you use the JSE as a proxy given the availability of information published by the JSE. What is instructive about this statistic is that the NEF measures the “direct ownership” by black people, which is defined in the Codes of Good Practice as equity held directly by black companies or individuals, broad-based groups or community trusts, or by an employee share ownership scheme. The other measure of BEE transformation uses the “indirect ownership” or “Mandated Investments” principle as defined in the Codes of Good Practice, where the beneficiaries of the equity do not play any part in the voting rights attached to the equity and where the shares are managed by third parties such as asset managers or banks on behalf of pension funds, insurance policy holders and unit trusts. Our interest, therefore, in understanding the true extent of black economic participation, examines direct voting rights, the management of the company and its cash flow, by black shareholders.

Until the economy is transformed to mirror national population demographics, B-BBEE, in our view, will and must remain the strategic imperative that will guide the quest for inclusive growth.

The economic exclusion of black people, of course, limits the country’s growth potential. By mobilising black people into a productive economic force also helps to grow the country’s consumer base, which in turn benefits many business sectors, and it is for this reason that transformation is inclusive growth.

How is the NEF contributing towards the empowerment of black women and why is this an important area of focus?

Our emphasis on black women economic empowerment is informed by the understanding that black women suffered the most from the crushing force of the apartheid order and its continued legacies. It is no coincidence that black women remain at the bottom of the pyramid of economic inequality. To address this imperative we can point to the NEF’s above-target performance in terms of the disbursements to companies that are owned and managed by black women entrepreneurs having reached 60% against a target of 40% in the past year, and this amounts to R410 million. Our Women Empowerment Fund, supported by the NEF’s enterprise-wide focus on this strategic objective, has given depth and vigour to the assertion that a black woman’s place is at the forefront of the economy.

Which sectors of the economy does the NEF emphasise?

The NEF is designed to fund black entrepreneurs with viable business plans across all sectors of the economy. The NEF’s portfolio of funded enterprises shows a wide exposure that includes key sectors like manufacturing, retail, agri-processing, ICT, minerals beneficiation, energy, automotive, construction, engineering, tourism, property, media and healthcare, among others.  In doing so, the NEF specifically supports the initiatives of the DTI, including the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP), and more broadly the National Development Plan, by championing and funding the advancement of emerging entrepreneurs into black industrialists.

What type of BEE transaction does the NEF do?

Our funding is diverse and comprehensive because it has to respond to the needs of a complex economy and the demands of a target market that pursues different opportunities of different sizes. Inclusive growth has to be driven from all avenues of the economic spectrum.  We therefore fund startups, expansion, equity transformation, capital markets, franchising, rural and community development and industrialisation, among others. The latter is particularly historic and refers to what Government calls the development of black industrialists.

The key principle permeating throughout all these is the requirement for funded enterprises to have meaningful black ownership and direct operational involvement.

The Department of Trade and Industry recently launched the Black Industrialist Programme. What is a Black Industrialist and how does the NEF contribute towards this programme?

The regulations passed by the DTI come with a formal description of a Black Industrialist, and refers to a black person directly involved in the origination, creation, significant ownership, management and operation of industrial enterprises that derive value from the manufacturing of goods and provision of services on a large scale.

The NEF is positioned as a critical delivery agent of the Black Industrialist Policy. In 2007, before the concept became policy, the NEF launched a unit we call the Strategic Projects Fund (SPF) in order to seek competitive opportunity for the South African economy and for the inclusion of black participation in big economic opportunities at the outset of projects, as opposed to doing so during equity closure. SPF supports new industrial ventures from conception through to feasibility stages and into commercial activation, and was designed to plug the venture capitalist hole within the South African industrial financing market. In partnership with local and international partners the NEF has developed 26 strategic and industrial projects worth R27 billion, with the potential to support over 80 000 new jobs. To date the NEF has approved over R860 million for these projects, which has leveraged R4 billion in external funding, and 78% of the projects are at financial close, construction or operational stages.

South Africa is going through a difficult economic phase that will squeeze many emerging enterprises. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs during these challenging economic times?

The first and most important course of action when a business is in distress is to seek relief from one’s creditors and to secure better terms from your debtors.  This could include negotiating debt repayment holidays from creditors and shorter payment cycles from debtors. These are some of the innovative measures which the NEF provides to its investees.

In addition to providing entrepreneurial training and incubation support, the NEF also has a dynamic mentorship solution which helps entrepreneurs to be better prepared for downturns. Our partnership with enterprise development funders enables us to reduce the blow of increasing lending interest rates through the provision of concessionary loans, and the more businesses do this, the better for emerging enterprises.

What this calls for is a reform of South Africa’s lending culture to become more attuned with the needs of small to medium businesses that typically have to contend with challenges such as inadequate access to affordable capital, lack of access to local and international markets, limited management skills, lower bargaining power and strong competition from established businesses with entrenched market dominance, among others. For their part, commercial banks could look at extending loan tenures to SMEs in order to lessen cashflow constrains.  This way the banks improve the ability to recover invested capital. I believe that it is especially important during harsh economic times for financiers in particular to take a long-term view.

Equally important, government and the private sector have to absolutely adopt a demonstrable and deliberate strategy to pay SMEs earlier for services rendered, as opposed to the trend where SMEs are paid over a period of 60 or 90 days.  A rand today is better than a rand tomorrow.

What message do you have for Kagiso Trust as they celebrate their 30th anniversary?

Kagiso Trust has played a pivotal role in shaping the country’s economic transformation framework. Among other breakthroughs KTI has stood gallantly for grassroots empowerment. It is therefore an institution of exceptional esteem and importance, a pillar on whose vision and courage the transformation story is anchored. Having laid the foundations for the first wave of economic transformation, KTI could inspire South Africa’s ambition for supremacy in global commerce.  They have the mettle, the merit and the pedigree.

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Reverend Frank Chikane: The miracle that is Kagiso Trust

I was fortunate to be one of the founding members of Kagiso Trust back in 1985. At the time, we were fighting for sanctions against apartheid South Africa and lobbying for this in many European countries. Our message then was ‘give us the money and we will spend it on education‘.

The formation of Kagiso Trust was to raise money to create a developmental agency. We managed to collect R1-billion before South Africa‘s first democratic election in 1994, which we used to help South Africans survive under apartheid.

Even then, Kagiso Trust focused on sustainability. We knew there would be a need for us after democracy – and we also knew that donors were starting to withdraw funds. It was around 1993 that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) started to collapse for this reason and many NGOs faded away after 1994.

This was when innovation came into play. With the little money that we had at the time, we at Kagiso Trust decided to start an investment company, to take advantage of the empowerment wave – and to never depend on a donor again. We formed Kagiso Trust Investments (KTI), which then merged with Tiso Group to form Kagiso Tiso Holdings (KTH). Just 16 years later, we have a stable investment company that provides dividends that enable us to do what we are supposed to do: help South Africans out of poverty.

In 2001 we started with a net asset value of R26 million, which is valued at R7.2 billion in 2015. In future, we aim to make available more funds to help our communities overcome the deep-seated and dehumanising effects of ingrained poverty.

This innovative investment model has no match in the non-governmental sector. NGOs generally rely on endowment funds and need to start looking for innovative ways of being financially sustainable. At Kagiso Trust, we are now able to develop long-term district-wide initiatives without such constraints.

This model enables us to channel our energy on solutions, how to change society to end poverty and allow people to live a good life. Kagiso Trust believes the answer to this complex problem is education.

An amazing example of this is our Beyers Naudé Schools Development Programme, named after one of our founding members, in partnership with the Free State Department of Education. This model has yielded positive academic results and we are ready to roll it out nationally.

We realised that without collaboration we wouldn‘t succeed. So we came to an agreement with the Department of Education in the Free State, whereby Kagiso Trust would contribute R100 million and the government would contribute an equal amount for the pilot project. It is through this type of cooperation that we were able to assist the worst performing schools in the Thabo Mofutsanyana district to significantly improve their matric results.

Now, with a successful pilot education model behind us, we can honestly say that if you give us a school, that school will flourish in just three years’ time. The reason we are able to do this is because our approach is different to government and corporate social investment programmes.

In the Free State, we build a school at one third the cost of a government-built school by using skills in the community and involving parents. With this model all stakeholders have a sense of ownership; costs are kept under control and the assets — whether an ablution block or classrooms — are cared for. Once the basics are in place and the school reaches an 80% pass rate, we then provide a science laboratory and library. This has worked extremely well.

Traditionally, government and the private sector would choose a school, build a science laboratory and walk away. Kagiso Trust believes that this type of approach is helpful – but is not a transformative.

Kagiso Trust was born in the trenches of our struggle for a democratic and free South Africa, we do not have to be educated about poverty – we know it and have experienced it. But we do not know why over 20 years into democracy, hungry children are still walking long distances to schools. We know money is not the problem. The national department of education is allocated over R190-billion and companies spend 49% of their total corporate social investment funds on education.

South Africa needs programmes that change people‘s lives. Government can do its best, but we need the whole of society to be involved. We need to create a South African society in which history does not determine the life, career or income of the child.

As one of the founders of this extraordinary organisation, I do not think that it can be characterised as a non-governmental institution. Rather it is a collaboration with sectors of government that are willing to uplift communities out of poverty and the private sector that wants to make an investment in the future of the country underpinned by a common understanding that our children – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds – need to be educated.

It is this commitment and proactive manner of addressing challenges that has given the Kagiso Trust of today the opportunity to look to the next 30 years with hope and optimism.


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Mr. Mohlolo Selala: Kagiso Enterprises Rural Private Equity Fund

Mr. Mohlolo Selala is the ESD Business Support and Fund Manager of the KT programme Kagiso Enterprises Rural Private Equity Fund (KERPEF).

  1. Why did Kagiso Trust (KT) through the KERPEF Programme decide to fund rural and small businesses, and how does the KERPEF differ from government development finance institutions that fund entrepreneurs?

Globally there is a consensus that small businesses are the heartbeat for economic growth and development. Currently in the country, it is estimated that about 60 percent of jobs are created by small businesses. As such, to help curb unemployment, inequality and poverty, KERPEF seeks to invest and promote black and rural businesses. Government is to create an enabling environment for small businesses to thrive, however given the magnitude of the challenges faced by the country, a combination of different solutions to help, in addition to DFI’s, is required.

  1. In your experience what are the three main factors that determine economic sustainability or development?

Although these are not exhaustive, I think that development of human capital through appropriate education and skills is critical as this allows for the creation and exploitation of opportunities. Secondly, an entrepreneurship culture allows for innovation in different spheres of the economy and lastly, social capital is important in keeping together the fundamental economic activities across different levels of society.

  1. How can the development and support of small businesses contribute towards economic growth and job creation?

Support of small businesses contributes towards economic growth in that, in their nature, small businesses exist to take advantage of an opportunity to solve current problems, as such this process results in economic activities.

  1. To date how much has KERPEF invested and how many decent jobs have been created or supported?

To date KERPEF has invested over R50 million in the creation and support of small businesses and has in the period of 2014 to date created more than 130 jobs.

  1. With the economic downturn, downgrades from International rating agencies, the raise interest rate by 50 basis points as well as South Africa’s economic growth only expected to grow by 0.9% this year, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs during these challenging economic times?

The current economic environment negatively affects business, especially small businesses. However hard economic times, although not palatable, have an element of taking the best out of entrepreneurs to force them to come up with lasting and efficient solutions. At this time of squeezed margins, entrepreneurs must single out costs, which they can control to balance out the negative impact of exogenous costs.

  1. How is KERPEF contributing towards the empowerment of female entrepreneurs?

Lack of women participation in the economy is blamed to what is termed ‘double barrel’ exclusion in that women have been marginalized by political systems and market forces, and in addition discriminated against based on gender. We seek to invest into businesses with bias to women ownership and employment.

  1. Does KERPEF fund social entrepreneurship?

As a subsidiary of Kagiso Trust, KERPEF strictly finances for profit businesses, however KT looks to promote initiatives which attend to solutions sustainably.

  1. Since KERPEF’s inception, which sectors of the KERPEF’s investment portfolio have seen significant growth with regards to black ownership?

Investments have been across the economic sectors in the country, although there are pockets of excellence, there is still a long way in realizing meaningful black participation in the economy. Our role, although small, in a meaningful way contributes towards this end through a balance portfolio.

  1. Why is the National Development Plan such an important document to achieve the country’s vision 2030? And how can the private sector, government, civil society and labour work together to achieve the vision and begin to address the “triple challenge” of unemployment, poverty and inequality?

The NDP, as a vision for South Africa, focuses efforts and forms the base for strategic initiatives by all stakeholders in addressing the “triple curse” of unemployment, poverty and inequality. The success however depends on coordinated relationship between government, private sector and civil society from policy formation to implementation. The lack of coordination and defined roles lead to duplications, which steal from already limited resources.

  1. Tell us more about KERPEF’s partnership with the South African Franchise Warehouse (SAFW) and the progress thus far. Lessons learnt and highlights.

KERPEF partnered with the South African Franchise Warehouse (SAFW) to help identify potential black franchisees to be funded in the franchise sector. The partnership allows first time entrepreneurs a soft landing in the franchise sector. To date KERPEF has invested R11. 5 million in funding and supporting franchise opportunities for black entrepreneurs. SAFW and its networks provide support to the franchisees so as to maximize their chances of success. Franchisees going through the SAFW training program are protected from illegitimate franchisors. Given the current difficult economic environment, SAFW is a link between the franchisors and franchisees and when problems arise in the business, franchisees and franchisors are drawn to find solutions beneficial to all parties.

Although the franchise model is a proven model, running the actual business requires the same amount of dedication and hard work. As such, businesses of those who are not putting an effort face more challenges.

As the partnership between SAFW is maturing, KERPEF is gathering lessons on how best to increase black participation in the franchise sector.

  1. Which KERPEF beneficiary stands out for you?  

Thembeka Sales and Logistics; 30 jobs created; the business was a start up set up in 2012 and has to date grown by 30 percent in turnover with a target to grow by 50 percent by 2017. There has been a growing interest from other manufacturers who are approaching Thembeka with an interest to distribute their products. At the beginning of 2016, KERPEF helped the business to put shelves in the business, which helped to maximize the storage space and make the warehouse presentable.


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Pearls of Wisdom: CEO of the IDC, Mr. Geoffrey Qhena

1. What does your role entail at the Industrial Development Corporation?
I am the chief executive officer of the IDC. My role includes – among other responsibilities – providing guidance and directing IDC’s business focus, particularly in terms of our mandate.

2. What role do Development Financial Institutions play in the development of South Africa’s entrepreneurs?
One of the most important functions that DFIs such as IDC, SEFA and the NEF fulfills is the provision of finance, or capital, for entrepreneurs. Without this finance, some entrepreneurs simply do not have access to capital required to start their businesses. Another important role is the provision of business support. This is non-financial support provided to entrepreneurs. What we have found is that some entrepreneurs may be highly skilled in some areas of running and growing their business, but might lack some skills or experience in other areas. Through business support, we address some of these shortcomings to help the entrepreneur to run his or her business better.

3. To date how much has been approved and how may decent jobs have been created as a result of IDC funding?
Over the past five years up to March 2015, IDC approved R60.1 billion, with more than 140,000 jobs expected to be created by this.

4. What effect does mentorship have for emerging entrepreneurs?
It allows the entrepreneurs to build skills in areas where they might be lacking the required skills or experience to successfully establish and grow their business. It also allows entrepreneurs to approach someone with skills in a particular area to discuss a specific problem.

5. According to the 2015/16 edition World Economic Forum Global Competitive Survey shows that out of 140 countries, for one or more of the following rankings achieved by South Africa: 8th for soundness of banks; 6th for availability of financial services; 1st for financing through local equity market. How does this uniquely position the country for further investment?
South Africa’s banking sector is indeed highly regarded for its high levels of sophistication, innovation and governance. Our stock exchange also ranks among the top 20 in the world. In addition, our main development finance institutions are often used as benchmarks in light of their financial sustainability, governance, reach and regional footprints. These attributes, coupled with the very liquid nature of our capital and currency markets, are very important for the investor community, underscoring the substantial inflows of foreign capital over the years. These have consisted of portfolio investments by non-residents and foreign direct investment (FDI) in Greenfield and brownfield projects, as well as in acquisitions. South Africa has been the leading recipient of FDI in Africa for a number of years, bearing testimony of its attractiveness as a preferred investment destination and often as a gateway to the continent. Ours is unquestionably of the most sophisticated emerging markets in the world, offering ample investment opportunities across various sectors of the economy.

6. Why is it important for developing countries to collaborate with other developing countries such as BRICS?
Collaboration between developing countries, often referred to as South-South cooperation, opens up viable opportunities in their individual and collective pursuit of sustained economic growth and development. Such collaboration takes different and evolving forms, including the sharing of knowledge and experience, training, technology transfer, as well as trade, financial and investment co-operation. It provides opportunities for greater access to capital and development finance (increased borrowing capacity) and the diversification of the sources of development finance; higher FDI inflows; increased trading activities; the chance to transform the structure of their economies; and a louder voice and stronger bargaining power in international bodies and global affairs (such as trade and climate change negotiations).

Over the past couple of decades, South Africa has fostered collaboration with and between developing countries through many initiatives. These have been both public- and/or private sector-driven. Among the most notable from our perspective are the SADC (and ongoing negotiations towards the establishment of the SADC-COMESA-EAC Free Trade Area), the BRICS and IBSA arrangements. Much collaboration is also taking place at the firm or company level. For example, many Chinese, Indian, Brazilian and South African entities and/or companies having invested in various sectors throughout Africa (such as health, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, telecommunications, finance, physical infrastructure). With stronger and more effective interaction at the governmental level and greater private sector participation, trading and investment activity with other developing countries and regions could increase significantly and result in considerable economic gains.

7. How do we improve economic sustainability in South Africa’s growing economy?
It is critical that we address the constraints that have been holding back the economy’s growth potential. These include addressing infrastructure-related bottlenecks, both in terms of the availability and the cost of services, in the areas of electricity, transport and logistics, and water supply, among others. It is also crucial that education and skills development are completely aligned with the current and future needs of our economy, so that we enhance the employability of South Africans in a constantly changing environment, in line with global trends. In the currently difficult economic environment, business and investor confidence must be restored so as to raise fixed investment activity by the private sector. Concerted efforts must be made to promote our manufactured products in the global marketplace, especially in faster growing emerging and developing economies, so as to utilise presently spare production capacity and lay the demand-led foundation for its future expansion, creating much-needed employment opportunities in the process.

8. The Department of Trade and Industry recently launched the Black Industrialists Programme, what is a Black Industrialist and how does the Industrial Development Corporation contribute towards this programme?
A black industrialist is basically an entrepreneur that gets his or her hands dirty in the running of their business. These are not individuals whose only role in a business is to attend a Board meeting once a quarter but provide real operational and strategic leadership to the business. Obviously these people must have a meaningful stake in the business and we are typically looking at those entrepreneurs that are involved in productive sectors of the economy like manufacturing.

Government is providing many opportunities for black industrialists by providing markets for manufactured goods through infrastructure development programmes and other government procurement. IDC’s most prominent role in the development of these entrepreneurs is to provide funding for these entrepreneurs to start of grow their businesses to take advantage of these opportunities.

9. What would you say are the main economic development challenges of our time?
The imperative is to achieve faster, sustainable and inclusive economic growth that will expand employment, reduce inequality and eradicate poverty in South Africa. We also need to transform our economy in terms of its structure, specifically by enhancing and diversifying the contributions from the goods-producing sectors, as well as in its ownership. To attain this, we need high rates of private sector investment in globally competitive operations that are preferably jobs-rich, supported by the necessary public sector investment to ensure the provision of efficient and cost-competitive utility services to the economy at large. We must expand our country’s entrepreneurial base by assisting new participants in contributing to value addition and employment, as well as stimulating the emergence of new business ideas and solutions.

10. With the recent increase in rising interest the REPO rate went up by 50 basis points, how does this impact entrepreneurs who need to repay their business loans?
With most emerging economies such as South Africa’s facing highly volatile financial and currency markets in the current global environment, their monetary authorities have been forced to act. Large outflows of investment capital and trade imbalances due to deteriorating terms of trade have resulted in sharp currency depreciations and rising inflationary pressures. Hence, despite weak economic growth and the unemployment challenge, South Africa’s monetary policy has had to be further tightened in pursuit of price stability. This imposes an additional burden on business enterprises already challenged on the supply-side by rising operational costs. Moreover, higher interest rates will aggravate presently subdued demand-side conditions by affecting consumption spending by households and firms.


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Pearls of Wisdom from Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa

Pearls of Wisdom from Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa – Deputy President and Advisory Board Member, Kagiso Shanduka Trust

Why is it vital for government to collaborate with private sector to enable the country to reach Vision 2030 as outlined in the National Development Plan?

By adopting a new democratic Constitution nearly 20 years ago, South Africans from all walks of life entered into a social compact to build a new nation, heal divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights. Everything we seek to do as individuals, communities or organisations – whether in public or private sectors – is framed by this national project.

The National Development Plan (NDP) — a framework to guide society in pursuing the shared vision described in our Constitution — aims to eradicate poverty and reduce unemployment and inequality by 2030.

This is an ambitious goal, which can only be achieved if the resources and capabilities of all South Africans are effectively utilised. Collaboration between government and business is central to this effort.

Which factors determine the success of private public partnerships?

Partnership between government and business requires agreement on common objectives. While they may not agree on everything, they both have an interest in a united, prosperous and more equal society. This includes the development of skills, job creation and a steady improvement in the standard of living of the poor.

Partnership also requires agreement on how to achieve these objectives. In a country divided by race, gender, economic access and ideology, reaching consensus can be difficult. This requires ongoing dialogue between government, business and all social partners. As well as trust, understanding and respect.

What lessons have you learnt with regard to partnerships, in your time as a businessman as well as in your current role in government?

The most effective partnerships are where partners not only enrich each other but also find ways where they can mutually benefit. Partnerships require clear rules of engagement and defined mechanisms for consultation, accountability and dispute resolution. There needs to be agreement on how resources will be used and accounted for. Each partner should understand their rights and duties.

Give us an example of innovative partnerships that have worked?

In the early 1990s, as escalating political violence threatened to derail the negotiations process, a rare partnership evolved between political formations and sections of the then white business sector.

Not only did the violence exact a devastating human toll; it also undermined the prospects for stability and progress. It was this convergence of interests that led to business‘ involvement in the development and implementation of the Peace Accord. This initiative did much to reduce political violence and create the conditions for our first democratic elections in 1994.

What is your vision for South Africa for the next 30 years?

South Africa has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. Democracy has prevailed and our people have rights, freedoms and opportunities. Millions have been lifted out of poverty. Many people have houses, water, electricity and decent social services.

However, there is still much to be done. Our country is still faced with poverty, unemployment and inequality. Many areas are severely underdeveloped. Many youth lack skills, experience and opportunities.

Over the next 30 years, working together, we will dramatically improve the lives of all our people. Together with other social partners, government and business will invest more in infrastructure and productive capacity than ever before in our history. They will collaborate in building new industries, developing innovative products and opening up new export markets.

Together, they will improve government services, expand access to affordable financial services and create a new generation of entrepreneurs. They will build communities that are sustainable and nurturing.

What message do you have for Kagiso Trust as it celebrates 30 years?

For 30 years, Kagiso Trust has been at the forefront of transformation in our society. Its focus on education reflects a determination that potential should not be constrained by the circumstances of one‘s birth.

All sectors of our society have seen the emergence of talented individuals who have in one way or another been enriched by Kagiso Trust‘s programmes. We should work together to ensure that Kagiso Trust remains an influential, inspirational, innovative and valuable agent for meaningful change.

For Kagiso Trust, for South Africa, the work has only just begun.

Additional Information:

Kagiso Shanduka Trust aims to collaborate with public and private institutions to make education an empowering experience that equips learners with the skills and knowledge to thrive and contribute to the development of our society.

Kagiso Shanduka Trust is collaboration between Kagiso Trust and Shanduka Foundation to develop and implement a district-wide holistic school development model.

In March 2013, Kagiso Shanduka Trust embarked on a programme with the Free State Department of Education to support educational transformation in 428 schools in the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts.

Shanduka Foundation and Kagiso Trust have each committed R100 million over five years. The Free State Department of Education has matched this investment, bringing the total investment to R400 million.

The programme leverages the methodologies and best practices of each organisation and has resulted in an integrated school development model that aims to improve the academic performance and social wellbeing of the learners.

The partnership also seeks to upgrade school infrastructure; develop effective school leadership; and involve parents and community members in the school‘s development.

Kagiso Shanduka Trust envisions that the lessons from this programme will form the basis of a model that supports educational delivery in other districts in the country.

Since the start of the programme and following extensive needs analyses, school retreats have been held with 215 schools. These are empowerment and transformation workshops where the school identifies the challenges affecting school performance and develops a strategic plan to ensure long-term success and sustainability.


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Pearls of Wisdom from Mr. Johan Burger

Pearls of Wisdom from Mr. Johan Burger, Chief Executive Officer FirstRand

Strand: Development and Sustainability

  1. What does your role entail in FirstRand?

It’s often said that the best leaders assemble a great team around them and then spend their time making sure that this team has the tools and resources to do its job effectively. This approach is particularly pertinent to leadership roles at FirstRand with its federated model and owner manager culture. It is also something that resonates with me personally as I have been very fortunate in my career to work for people who believed in empowering their employees, even allowing them to make mistakes as long as they were made in the pursuit of something that created sustainable value – in other words it came from a good intention. This empowerment definitely bought the best out in me and many other people who have been successful over the years at FirstRand. We don’t believe a CEO sits at the top issuing instructions – it’s just not possible for one person to have all the answers, we believe in the power of the collective.

  1. What role can Banks and Financial institutions play in the development of South Africa?

The fundamental role of financial institutions is to enable the efficient pooling and allocating of financial capital in an economy, which turn generates value for many stakeholders through the payment of dividends and interest, salaries and wages, procurement spending, taxes and corporate social investments. That is why large banks and other financial institutions are often seen to be systemic to the economy.

We believe the financial institutions of South Africa have a significant role to play is providing capital for inclusive economic development. For a start the sector’s Black economic Empowerment Transactions that have recently vested have delivered billions of Rands of value to the country, in addition the banks are putting their balance sheets to work for infrastructure projects in support of the NDP, investing in strategies to improve access to finance for our customers and funding and driving change through systemic corporate social investing particularly in the field of education.

  1. The South African banking sector has been ranked 3rd out of 148 countries in the 2013/14 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Survey, how does this uniquely position the country for further investment?

A sound and stable financial services sector is a huge asset to external investors because it provides comfort about the security, stability and reliability of the systems that they use when investing. It gives them comfort that their money is safe. A more competitive financial services sector overall then also helps improve returns and growth in an economy, which can indirectly benefit the return on investment.

  1. Why is it important for developing countries to collaborate?

Many developing countries are coming off of a low base in terms of economic cooperation when it comes to alignment of policy frameworks in-country and then enabling terms of trade across countries. Policy consistency enables more efficient trade and cross-country activity, which can lift competitiveness. Many developed markets have the benefit of hundreds of years of gradual policy alignment, so it is important for emerging markets to catch up and unlock efficiency gains in the process.

  1. How do we improve economic sustainability in South Africa’s growing economy?

There are many ‘levers’ for economic sustainability. Three big focus areas for us as a country at the moment are fiscal consolidation (balancing public spending with public revenues), socioeconomic stability and production-led GDP growth. There is no one public or private sector entity that can improve all of these, which is why it is important to work together within a common framework. The National Development Plan is the blue print for achieving this coordination.

  1. What would you say is the main economic development challenge of our time?

The main economic development challenge at the moment is achieving sustainable GDP growth. As Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan says, GDP growth is the denominator for most of our progress metrics so an improvement in GDP has many important knock-on effects for us. South Africa has participated in a long run global cycle of consumption-led GDP growth. This was unsustainable and the economy has started to shift structurally towards production-led growth. This kind of change is often painful because it means redeploying capital and other resources, including human resources, into new sectors. At a macro level managing this shift towards production-led GDP growth is the main challenge of our time, but it is also a very healthy challenge.

  1. How did the 6.5% BEE share deal with Kagiso Trust, Miner workers Investment Company and Women’s Development Bank start? And why was this transaction unique?

FirstRand’s BEE transaction started in 2005 when the group, and the financial sector in general, began to formalize its transformative agenda. At the time the focus was mainly on building bridges between the first and second economy in South Africa so we wanted the transaction to create a broad-based of black FirstRand shareholders. One of the unique features of our BEE deal was that it included a broad-based component which accounted for more than 80% of the value created for the FirstRand Empowerment Trust when it matured in 2015. The transaction’s size and value add was also a unique feature as it created R23 billion for its participants.

  1. What role can the NGO sector (civil society) play in the development of South Africa and Africa?

There are many important roles for civil society in the development of South Africa and Africa. A vibrant civil society is often both a sign of, and protector of, strong democratic institutions and civil rights. However as the chief executive of a financial services group, for me a critical role that the NGO sector can play relates to providing funding to the parts of the economy that are often too profitable to qualify for government support but not profitable enough to qualify for finance on commercial terms. This economic layer accounts for a significant portion of economic activity and employment in the country and can contribute more to production-led GDP growth if innovative solutions are found for financing it.

  1. What is your message to Kagiso Trust as they celebrate their 30th anniversary?

Many wonderful stories have emerged from FirstRand’s BEE partners about how their organisations started with just a few thousand rand and now have multi-billion rand balance sheets. These stories are testament to the entrepreneurial talents of our partners and also really resonate with us because our own group was famously started with only R10 000.

My message is firstly to congratulate Kagiso Trust on applying its talents to a truly broad base of beneficiaries, and secondly to challenge it to think bigger about the possibilities for its multi-billion rand balance sheet another 30 years from now.


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Exam Results Show Lessons in Education Partnership Learnt

Pearls of Wisdom from Free State MEC of Education: Mr Tate Makgoe

Strand: Collaboration and Sustainability

  1. The Free State Province was ranked third in the 2015 matric results, what does it owe this achievement to and would you like to see the Free State take the number one spot in 2016?

The Free State had the highest percentage of progressed learners nationally and the historic, highest number of learners who registered for the NSC examinations in 2015. Special support intervention made it possible for the province to retain its third position despite the participation challenges. The fact that the province was number two in terms of support given to the progressed learners it is a clear indication of the amount of resources which were used to turn the situation around.

Free State has the potential, ability and capable teaching force to reclaim its number one spot in 2016. To date, it has set a new pass record in 2013 in as far as the NSC examination is concerned. It goes without saying that it will break its pass percentage record in 2016.

  1. The 2015 Matric pass rate has declined from 84.7%to 81.6%. In your opinion what do you think attributed to this drop and how can we better address that?

The highest participation rate and the number of progressed learners. A thorough analysis of the performance per district, per school and per subject was done. A turnaround strategy has been developed to address all issues raised. Strategic meetings have been conducted with the leadership of the Province, stakeholders in education, Senior Management of the Department of Education, leadership of the districts and schools to jointly focus our attention in the attainment of our number 1 spot.

  1. What are the major challenges facing the education system currently and how can these challenges be addressed through collaborative partnerships?

Management of curriculum, school leadership and tracking learners’ progression across the system per subject and per grade. The Ministry has started to focus on:

  • The primary schooling and the Senior Phase as revealed by the Annual National Assessment. Extensive support is provided to increase the quality of teaching and learning.
  • Training of the School leadership and continued training of School Management Teams on instructional leadership.
  • Continuous induction of newly appointed teachers inclusive of Subject Advisors and principals.
  • A dedicated focus and training on the management of School Based Assessment (SBA).
  1. What are we doing right as a country that we should continue doing concerning the education system?

The Ministry for the past years has focused on supporting Districts, teacher development centers and dedicated training on Mathematics, Languages. The National Strategy on Learner Attainment has ensured that the Ministry focuses on the key elements that make the education system functional. The additional focus on Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) through the MST Grant plays a pivotal role in providing an alternative pathway other than the Academic Stream through the resourcing of Technical Schools.

  1. The top performing district in the Free State was the Thabo Mofutsanyana District, what contributed to this achievement? How can the private sector, government, unions and civil society work together to improve the quality of our education?

The District for the past years has continued to institutionalize it’s teach and assess strategy. The involvement of key stakeholders in education through Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC) has made it possible for the district to garner enough support to improve the quality of the learning outcomes. The District has strategic partners that support its schools and which are custodians of its teaching and learning strategy and this has assisted in the improvement of the quality of education in the deep rural district.

  1. What do you think about the National Department of Basic Education’s “progressed learners” approach?

The Ministry’s approach is internationally acceptable, that is, every learner has the potential to progress academically provided s/he is supported. The only challenge with the progressed learners is that, the schools failed to keep their records, develop their support program from the first tasks that they have underachieved. The involvement of parents through the regular feedback and dedicated remedial program were not properly coordinated and implemented and as a result the learners were given the benefit of the doubt.

The guidelines on Promotion and progression for grade 10-12 give better conditions governing the progression as of 2015 and this auger well with the intention of the Ministry to continuously improve the quality of basic education.

  1. The five-year partnership between the Free State Department of Education and Kagiso Trust is coming to an end. How will the Free State Department of Education remain sustainable with running the programme, keeping teachers and learners motivated to achieve good results?

We want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Kagiso Trust for having partnering with us in the last five years. Today, Thabo Mofutsanyane is the best performing district in the province country. We attribute the success of the district and the department to the Beyers Naude Schools Development Programme (BDNSP). The collaboration we had with Kagiso Trust has changed and improved learning environments for many schools.

As the department we have learned a lot from this partnership and we are upbeat that Thabo Mofutsanyane District is solid. The current leadership in that district is capable of sustaining the programmes and keeping teachers and learners motivated to achieve our 2016 target of 90 % pass rate and 40% bachelor passes.

We will regularly visit the schools throughout the province to acknowledge and appreciate the good work that is being done by our hard-working teachers.

  1. What are the top five lessons that the Free State Department of Education has learnt during the implementation of the Beyers Naudé Schools Development Programme?
  • The first and the most critical lesson we have learned from this partnership is the establishment of good governance and management principle. This will in a long-term contribute to the overall performance of our schools.
  • The second lesson is the way this partnership was able to galvanize individuals, members of the community and business sector to get actively involved in changing the face of education.
  • The third lesson is the realization that improving quality of education requires investment in school infrastructure and facilities.
  • The fourth lesson is the importance of support to teacher development so that we create functional schools through the implementation of targeted leadership and relationship building training interventions targeted at educators.
  • The fifth lesson is the use of incentives to inculcate the culture of performance in our schools. Various infrastructure handed over to schools which have performed well has gone a long way in encouraging their counterparts to enhance scholastic performance.
  1. What partnerships does the Free State of Education have with other countries with regards to higher education and training?

Currently, we are providing financial aid to students studying various fields in Cuba, Turkey, India and China. This include Medicine, Agriculture related field, Civil Engineering, IT and other scarce skills.

  1. How can NGOs like Kagiso Trust contribute to the development of our country?

We call on other stakeholders emulate Kagiso Trust in investing in educating our young people as this is an investment in the country’s future. We urge them to put more resources, time and energy into the development of our youth. This will ensure that as a country we achieve a sustainable and a long term development.

  1. What message do you have for Kagiso Trust as they celebrate their 30th anniversary?

As Kagiso Trust celebrate 30 years of successful empowerment of poor and marginalized South Africans, we want to take this opportunity to thank this organization for making an indelible impact in the education of the children of the Free State. Through Beyers Naude School Development Programme they have been working with schools and local government to transform underperforming schools into centres of excellence in learning, focusing on management strategies of the school curriculum and the accountability of the school governing bodies in the province. We wish this NGO to live many more years to expand its service to other needy and marginalized communities. Happy 30th Anniversary to KT!


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Is government ready for partnerships in education?

Pearls of Wisdom from Kagiso Trust trustee Dean Zwo Nevhutalu

  1. How important are partnerships and what are the benefits of being in a partnership?

Partnerships amplify the scope of work and each partner brings something unique to the partnership. There is an African saying that state if you want to walk faster, walk alone; if you  want to walk further, walk with others. I believe that if you work with other people, you can walk faster and further.

Partnerships ensure that we produce quality in everything that we do. Each partner brings out the best that they have. By working together, we optimise the strengths of each partner and therefore we are able to upscale our programmes.

  1. Why is it important for government to partner with the civil sector?

It is imperative for government to partner with the civil sector because they both have shared interests in the development of the people. Civil society represents the people and government is a place where people look to when sourcing services. And by working together, the end goal is to address socio-economic issues, address transformation and begin to eradicate poverty.

If government works with other sectors, resources can be scaled. For example, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a wealthy country but they are not able to leverage off that because they are not working together. I have worked there and was privileged enough to see how much potential the country has. Collaborative measures result in benefiting everyone that is involved however because the DRC is not using that, that has actually impacted negatively on the development of their country.

  1. Is there a need for partnerships for education in South Africa?

Definitely. Our history has played an immense role in our education system. We have a huge deficit and backlog in our education system. We need educational skills for our economy. This will only be achieved through a suitable education system. There is still so much that needs to be done and all of that can be done effectively through partnerships. There is a huge inequality in education, Human Resources systems in education need work, infrastructure, you name it and we mustn’t forget the importance of community mobilization. All these need to be addressed, together.

South Africa is a resource- and minerals-rich country. We need to stop having an extractive economy, harvesting and exporting resources with little or no processing in our own country. We need skills and educated people to ensure that we process and grow our economy. Collaborative measures towards education can play a positive role in ensuring that we acquire our end goal.

  1. Why did Kagiso Trust partner with government (Free State Department of Education)

We at Kagiso Trust have made education a priority. We understand that through education, we can address poverty. The partnership between us and the Free State Department of Education was necessitated by the strategy of building sustainable models and understanding that we can reach much further if we team up with government.

We have approached other provinces such as Limpopo, KZN and the Eastern Cape, however the Free State are the only one who saw our vision. We work on the basis that we open an account where all parties in the partnership will put in money and account for every cent. There needs to be accountability from both parties and good systems in place. We actually had to walk away from the other provinces as we could not reach a mutual understanding and had limited resources. Often government is not sure how to approach partnerships and seem to approach the same way they would approach the tender system.

The Free State Department of Education has an impeccable political leadership, which has integrity, can be trusted and is a serious partner who has the same vision as we do. These are some of the qualities we seek in a partner. We understand each other and have maximised our resources in order to maximise our efforts.

  1. How do public-private sector partnerships accelerate development and progress?

The strengths of each partner amplify the work and ensures that we can get the work done quicker. Both parties can bring new ideas and skills. Partnerships can accelerate development and progress. We as Kagiso Trust can build a school in half the time that the government can on its own, and at a reduced price.

One thing we need to understand is that even private schools are somehow managed from a collaborative perspective. They receive government subsidy, have a set frame work, receive a curriculum and are well regulated. Their success comes from collaborative measures as well.

  1. What is the biggest challenge of partnering with government?

Policy framework – numerous uncertainties is the first challenge. The issue of an auditor general is another challenge. There are long processes when it comes to the delivery of services through the private sector. We want government to understand that we do not just want their money; we want to work together, leverage off their money while we bring a matching amount to the table.

Capacity is also one of the challenges for government. I have worked in government and they didn’t have a framework then and still don’t.

Integrity is a major challenge for government. You want to partner with someone who is accountable and will bring in the same amount of dedication with to the plate. When we get into the partnership, we put 50% and expect the other party to put in 50% and be totally accountable for every cent in that account. No transactions can be done without the knowledge of the other party.

There are other challenges that come with working with government such as bureaucracy, supply chain management, delays and legislation.

  1. What are the critical elements when engaging with government as a partner?

Some of the critical elements include sustainability, the large scaling of resources, pro-poor policies of the government and eradicating poverty through education.

Government is like a beacon of hope for poor people. When they need assistance they look to the government.  When a poor person is sick, they go to a local government clinic, when they want to take their children to school, they take them to a public school and so forth. The government has similar interests to the civil sector.

Integrity is another element. You must budget for some passion. Working for government is not for sissies. You need to be a strong advocate and have thick skin.

  1. What is your take on the Millennium Development Goals when it comes to universal primary education and collaborating to achieve that goal?

South Africa is there already. We have achieved the goal of universal primary education however there is still room for improvement with regards to the quality of education. We still have a high drop-out rate and we do need to work together to ensure that our education system is off good standard.

  1. The responsibility for providing and financing education is immense for government alone, however is government ready for partnerships?

Not entirely. As Kagiso Trust, we are the pioneers of partnerships that actually yield measurable positive results. The government is not wired for that. Our partnership with the Free State DoE has been a great case study for us to show that government and non-governmental organization  partnerships can work.


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