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

Kagiso Trust CEO

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.