Weba Chute Systems’ commitment to transformation, skills development and corporate social investment is rooted in the company’s understanding that the business is not separate from society, but inextricably bound to the fortunes of its employees and the communities in which it operates.
Denise Abrahams, director of Marketing & CSI at Weba Chute Systems, says transformation, skills development and CSI initiatives should not be driven by legislation, but by the company’s desire and commitment to the well-being of its employees and the society in which it operates.
In many organisations, she says, compliance to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) legislation is deemed a “box ticking” exercise. At Weba Chute Systems, the B-BBEE scorecard is not treated as a simple checklist, but an instrument to facilitate real transformation.
“Transformation for us is not just about gaining points on our B-BBEE scorecard,” says Abrahams. “It is a critical component of our company culture, because we understand the impact we have as a business in building better communities for the greater good of the country. We are cognisant of the fact that as poverty, unemployment and inequality decline, businesses grow, and that’s why we continue to take a more active role to influence real transformation.”
For its transformational strides, Weba Chute Systems won the B-BBEE Acquiescent Award at the B-BBEE Commission’s annual conference held on 1 April 2022, becoming the only private company to be acknowledged at the event. This category recognised the entity that had adhered to the advice of the B-BBEE Commission and had taken significant effort to comply to the B-BBEE Act.
Apart from transformation, Weba Chute Systems sees skills development as an essential means of bridging the widening skills gap. Consequently, the company has introduced a number of training programmes for its employees. Not only do these programmes offer opportunities for staff to improve their skills, but also for the company to enhance employee productivity and improve company culture, explains Abrahams.
“A case in point is our accredited management course, the Leader’s Journey, which is currently being undertaken by our drawing office. The course covers various aspects of leadership, including management, planning, leading, organising and controlling, with a strong emphasis on the difference between management and leadership,” says Abrahams.
In addition, the company now offers a Weba SA Leadership Support Programme, which commenced on 17 November 2021. This is being offered to the administration team, casting the spotlight on the role of administration staff in the smooth running of the company.
“We also encourage out staff to take N3 to N6 engineering courses, for which we pay. We also have mentorship and training programmes in the design and drawing office, where the most senior personnel are responsible for training junior staff,” says Abrahams. “We support members of staff seeking to switch roles by paying for the studies and creating opportunities to allow them that career change. It’s all about listening to our staff and understanding their needs.”
In terms of CSI, Weba Chute Systems provides support to several charitable organisations on a monthly basis. These include the Avril Elizabeth home for the mentally handicapped, the Siyazigabisa Children’s Home, the United Cerebral Palsy Association, the Manger Care Centre, SPCA Boksburg, Salwing and the National Sea Rescue Institute. From time to time, the company also helps with once-off requests for donations to help other charitable organisations.
In future, more support will be directed towards mining communities. “For example, last year we provided masks and sanitisers to schools in the mining communities where we have our chutes installed. We also want to focus on the girl child, especially in the rural areas where issues such as sanitary pads remain a challenge,” she says. “It is in the interests of Weba Chute Systems to be a good corporate citizen, taking sustainable development as the starting point, and continuing to drive efforts to unify economic, social and environmental development.”
Gabisile Khoza founder of Siyazigabisa Home of Hope. Weba Chute Systems has supported Siyazigabisa for the past 12 years.