THE rapidly changing business environment has shown companies that they should prioritize their contribution to improving the socio-economic well-being of the communities in which they operate.
While these posts help improve their reputations, they show that they are locally relevant and responsive to the needs of their communities and make a positive contribution to the morale of their employees.
PPC Africa has recognized this and incorporated it into its Corporate Social Investment (CSI) strategy.
This sustainability model has proven to be positive in the communities in the countries in which we are represented.
PPC Africa is a building materials and solutions provider of quality products headquartered in South Africa, but with a presence across the continent in South Africa, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.
The company operates 11 cement factories with an annual production capacity of approximately 11.6 million tons of cement products. With a rich legacy spanning over 125 years dedicated to creating value for its stakeholders, PPC Africa is an integral part of the continent’s development and makes a point of working with not just the communities in which it operates, but also make sure it has a positive and lasting effect on them.
Through CSI, PPC seeks to support, nurture and empower marginalized individuals and communities by using a strong development approach that harnesses corporate resources for the benefit of individuals and communities.
“Honor the tree that protects you. We are all responsible for maintaining our communities. We are all committed to supporting the institutions – environmental, social, cultural and intellectual – that our communities depend on, ”said Kelibone Masiyane, General Manager of PPC Zimbabwe.
“We all have to give back in relation to our resources, our influence and our capabilities. That is what it means to be a member of the community, because it is these communities that give us the license to operate. “
The company’s CSI philosophy is guided by a sustainability approach, a focus on the environment, social development and governance (ESG). Finding the right balance between these three dimensions has contributed to his success on the continent. Without sustainability, PPC Africa would not have been able to celebrate its 125th anniversary.
CSIs therefore act as a platform on which we publicize our purpose, our values and our brand to important stakeholders. PPC Africa is pursuing opportunities to empower communities through social investment underpinned by a real approach where interventions should thrive to be relevant to add value to affected stakeholders and promote the strengthening of community health and safety .
In this regard, the company needs to make a tangible difference, bridging socio-economic gaps while protecting and preserving the local cultural heritage. The philosophy of mutual appreciation anchors the company’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) strategy. This will ensure that there is sustained and constant growth in the communities in which PPC operates that makes good business sense for the key stakeholders in those communities, the government and the company.
In its approach to programs in African markets, the company has committed itself to five main strategic pillars, namely education, health, business development with a special focus on women and youth, environmental protection and sustainable infrastructure development. The company developed these pillars to ensure that PPC empowers the communities it operates in, changes people’s lives, and preserves the environment for future generations.
With this model, PPC aims to show how it has remained true to these principles in its companies in Zimbabwe, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and how the projects it has carried out have impacted communities. Zimbabwe is a natural starting point on the company’s journey due to its historical importance, as PPC has been a significant part of the country’s growth for over 125 years.
From a small plant built on the outskirts of Bulawayo in 1913, to another plant in Colleen Bawn in 1946, to the state-of-the-art Msasa plant in Harare in 2017, PPC Zimbabwe has played a significant role in the growth of the country’s economy. PPC Zimbabwe has manufactured cement for many of Zimbabwe’s landmarks such as Victoria Falls Airport, Kariba Dam, Harare International Airport, the NRZ building, Mutirikwi Lake and many construction projects.
In line with its CSI strategy, PPC Zimbabwe has several initiatives in the country that are aware of the fact that Zimbabwe’s Human Development Index score has been low over the years.
The index, published annually by the United Nations, is a composite measure that measures life expectancy, educational attainment and income levels. Zimbabwe’s current HDI score is 0.57, which puts the country in an intermediate human development category, placing it in 150 out of 189 countries and territories in the world.
To improve the life of communities in Zimbabwe, PPC has provided over $ 374,000 since 2020 to CSI projects in the areas of health, infrastructure development, educational enterprise development, environmental protection and sustainable infrastructure development.
PPC Zimbabwe has therefore highlighted those areas that would make a significant contribution to reducing the risk and impact on the health and safety of communities and establishing preventive and control measures.
The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic outbreak affected the way we live, causing widespread infections and deaths in communities and around the world. PPC Zimbabwe took on the challenge of health and disaster risk reduction with several interventions.
PPC Zimbabwe donated 500 bags of cement for the renovation of a Covid-19 isolation and treatment center at the Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo. Isolation centers have been essential to ensure there are no cross-infections in healthcare facilities where patients go for treatment. A similar facility was set up at Gwanda Provincial Hospital through the renovation of the old eye department and its appointment as an isolation center for Covid-19 to serve the wider community in the province. The company also helped repair the hospital incinerator, which is essential for waste disposal.
In addition, PPC Zimbabwe renovated the children’s wing of Gwanda Provincial Hospital. As part of the measures to contain Covid-19 disasters, PPC has teamed up with the municipality of Gwanda to disinfect the city against Covid-19.
As the pandemic spread rapidly across the country, demand for the local manufacture and supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) increased. PPC responded by helping a university develop and distribute hand sanitizer to the community.
PPC Zimbabwe continues to act decisively in the fight against the pandemic through internal initiatives that address the health and safety concerns of workforce and their families at the Bulawayo, Harare and Colleen Bawn facilities.
In 2018, cyclone Idai hit parts of Zimbabwe and the disaster left a trail of destruction that swept away homes, damaged infrastructure and resulted in unfortunate loss of life. A huge humanitarian effort began and companies came to help the victims.
PPC Zimbabwe helped minimize the displacement of Cyclone Idai victims and helped compensate for their loss. She donated 90 tons of cement for the renovation of houses. The donation went to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency ED Mnangagwa.
PPC Zimbabwe continues to provide educational support. The company built and equipped a solar-powered science and computer laboratory at Sojini Secondary School in rural Matabeleland North. The project is important because of the low success rate and the uptake of science subjects in the province. It will help generate interest in science subjects and increase the number of students who qualify for the growing number of universities in the province and country.
PPC Zimbabwe also provides hands-on on-the-job training for students in PPC communities and across the country. The student loyalty program provides learners with the opportunity to learn, develop and be exposed in the company’s work environment while helping them meet their study needs.
In an effort to create jobs and support income-generating activities, PPC Zimbabwe has established sewing factories in the Bulawayo and Colleen Bawn factories and supports them to empower women.
This initiative resulted from stakeholder consultations in forums that were set up to forge strong, constructive relationships that address the grievances of local communities.
Another notable project that has benefited the communities is the rehabilitation of Mutare Road, where the company repaired the access road to the Msasa plant in Harare from Mutare Road. The road, which was in a dilapidated condition, also gives access to some small and medium-sized industries besides Harare PPC plant. The redevelopment of the Bulawayo Central Police Station was also an appropriate initiative for the company looking to improve the quality of life.
PPC Zimbabwe is also committed to protecting the community’s cultural heritage from adverse effects and to promoting healthy lifestyles by sponsoring the PPC Matopos Ultra Marathon.
The event provides a platform for the company to raise health and fitness awareness across the nation while promoting the need to preserve the historic and monumental Matopos.
Mr. Mokate Ramafoko is the international managing director of PPC, the parent company of PPC Zimbabwe.