At a briefing held in Johannesburg Royal HaskoningDHV announced that the company has attained Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) accreditation making them the first Engineering Consultancy to achieve this.
Salani Sithole, Managing Director, Royal HaskoningDHV states, “Our journey to transforming our organisation to meet Government's socio-economic development plan for the benefit of all South Africans started over 10 years ago. This journey and our focus on developing a diverse organisation matching our country’s demographics has ultimately led to the attainment of Level 1 B-BBEE.”
In attaining level 1 B-BBEE rating, Royal HaskoningDHV’s focus was not solely on compliance as their targets were already in line with government requirements. Sithole says, “We are proud to be an empowerment supplier taking the lead in the Infrastructure Development industry by assisting Government in achieving its goals of growing an inclusive economy”.
Sithole remarked that when the Construction Charter was repealed early in 2015 the company then followed the Generic Scorecard which has much stiffer targets. The Generic Scorecard includes seven B-BBEE elements. Royal HaskoningDHV placed particular focus on 4 of these elements namely, Management Control; Enterprise Development; Skills Development and Corporate Social Investment and appointed internal ‘owners’ within the company responsible for each of these areas in order to maintain focus and drive activity.
Enterprise and Supplier Development
Royal HaskoningDHV have undertaken a number of Enterprise Development initiatives over the years starting as far back as 2005 with a view to transforming the industry. The organisation has been working at developing and upskilling emerging consulting enterprises and SMMEs for many years through Enterprise Development initiatives on a number of infrastructure development projects countrywide. The company has also developed an Enterprise Development Programme to drive this process.
Sithole comments, “Our focus has been on the top 20% of our suppliers where 80% of our revenue is spent to ensure that they have the correct certification and improvement plans in place. We are proud to have a number of Enterprise Development successes that include companies such as Shuma, Escongweni and iBonga Civils – who have grown to the point where we are now employed as sub-contractors to them!”
For Skills Development Royal HaskoningDHV has both internal as well as external programmes. Internally they focus on upskilling staff through Masters and PhD programmes and have set up their own internal RHDHV University coordinated by a Dean, with a focus on areas that are beneficial to the organisation and the industry. The company also runs a formalized Mentorship programme with a focus on Professional Registration for their engineers, technologists and technicians. They have developed CPD accredited internal training courses to ensure that their engineers maintain their Professional Registration. Externally Royal HaskoningDHV runs a Bursary Programme and has partnered with the Vincent Tshabalala Trust. The organisation also has an Internship Programme both internally and for clients.
Corporate Social Investment
All of Royal HaskoningDHV’s CSI programmes are focused on education and consequently they have set up an Education Foundation whose focus is on their Saturday Schools and Early Childhood Development Programmes (ECD). These programmes have been running for over 10 years and for the company it is ‘business as usual’ as their CSI programmes are running far ahead of legislative requirements. Sithole enthuses, “We are proud to be celebrating 10 years of ‘Investing in Education’ through our Saturday Schools programme this year”. The Saturday Schools programme was set up in underprivileged areas across the country to assist matric learners to improve their maths, science and technical drawing marks in order to gain access into tertiary institutions. The programme has benefitted over 1400 learners to date. Our ECD Programmes are focused in areas linked to our projects where we have partnered with institutions to focus on the training of teachers as well as the improvement of their facilities.
Sithole states, “We believe it is important for the company’s management to reflect the demographics of our country, not just for our B-BBEE scorecard but in order to transform management by ensuring representation of all race groups at all levels”.
He concludes by stating, “The vision of the country is already embedded in our processes”.