Mul­tiChoice’s big­ger bite into em­pow­er­ment

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES -

MUL­TICHOICE South Africa, a lead­ing video en­ter­tain­ment and in­ter­net com­pany, has more than 100 000 black South Africans par­tic­i­pat­ing in its share­hold­ing scheme.

More­over, with with 51 per­cent broad-based black em­pow­er­ment own­er­ship and 30 per­cent ef­fec­tive black women own­er­ship, it boasts a cer­ti­fied Level 1 B-BBEE con­trib­u­tor sta­tus.

None­the­less, Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­per­son, Nolo Letele, is quick to as­sure that the com­pany is not rest­ing on those lau­rels.

He says, “We ap­proach em­pow­er­ment in its broad­est sense, from skills de­vel­op­ment to en­ter­prise de­vel­op­ment and even in­vest­ment in com­mu­ni­ties.

“Even at those lev­els we, once again, adopt a broad pol­icy ap­proach. For ex­am­ple, our skills de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives go way be­yond our em­ploy­ees to ben­e­fit even our sup­pli­ers.”

Letele elab­o­rates: “We launched Phuthuma Nathi, our share­hold­ing scheme for black South Africans as early as 2006.

“Hav­ing reached the 100 000 share­holder mark that 20 per­cent own­er­ship level in­cludes in­di­vid­u­als, stokvels and black-owned com­pa­nies.

“We’ve seen fam­i­lies not just cash­ing in on their div­i­dends but in­vest­ing to­wards ed­u­ca­tion of their kids and giv­ing a facelift to their ex­ist­ing homes to up their prop­erty value.”

He speaks of how, a few years back, Mul­tichoice be­gan sup­port­ing small busi­nesses in its sec­tor: “Through our En­ter­prise De­vel­op­ment pro­gramme we give funds to lo­cal and me­dia com­pa­nies.

“We train them and al­low them to grow in their busi­nesses, to be­come en­trepreneurs and com­pete suc­cess­fully in the mar­ket­place.

“It’s been an in­ter­est­ing jour­ney to see com­pa­nies in this pro­gramme like Mov­ing Ads, S2Mul­ti­me­dia, Pixel Per­fect Pro­duc­tions, Tick-A-Tar­get and oth­ers suc­ceed­ing in these tough eco­nomic times.”

This year Mul­tichoice has ap­proved fund­ing for 16 busi­nesses and dis­bursed more than R100 mil­lion in loans, grants and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment ex­penses, while of­fer­ing skills de­vel­op­ment and train­ing to more than a 100 en­trepreneurs.

The com­pany’s BEE ini­tia­tives in­volves black own­er­ship through Phuthuma Nathi, man­age­ment struc­ture, train­ing de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes across all its busi­nesses, pref­er­en­tial pro­cure­ment for small busi­nesses, as­sist­ing and ac­cel­er­at­ing de­vel­op­ment of busi­ness.

In­dus­try re­lated ini­tia­tives in­clude the do­na­tion of broad­cast tech­nol­ogy to com­mu­nity TV sta­tions.

The chair­man says a num­ber of these ini­tia­tives are play­ing a big role in de­vel­op­ing scarce skills in the in­dus­try: M-Net’s lo­cal con­tent drive in­cludes pro­duc­tions like Isi­baya, The Voice and The Queen.

The use of des­ig­nated groups as pro­duc­tion part­ners at Su­perS­port and M-Net.

The En­ter­prise De­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tive gives funds to small and medium sized lo­cal me­dia and pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies. They are also on our the Mul­tichoice pref­er­en­tial pro­cure­ment sup­plier data­base.

Learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes in­clude Su­perS­port Academy, Magic in Mo­tion and the Mul­tiChoice Grad­u­ate Pro­gramme.

He adds, “Other pock­ets of ex­cel­lence in skills de­vel­op­ment in­clude: pro­grammes at­tended by 242 lead­ers as well as work ex­pe­ri­ence and men­tor­ship for 122 in­terns.

“Our grad­u­ate pro­gramme em­ployed 17 grad­u­ates and, in all, 90% were of­fered em­ploy­ment else­where.

“Of the R8,3 mil­lion we spent on lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment, R5 mil­lion went to women.

“Im­por­tantly, we also in­vested R11,5 mil­lion in bur­saries.”

This year, Man­dela Day was cel­e­brated through a part­ner­ship with Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity and 61 year old Daphne Mashele now owns her first house.

Un­til now, home has been a di­lap­i­dated shack, sus­cep­ti­ble to win­ter weather and shared with her two grand­chil­dren – Sa­mukelo Molefe aged 10 and Lebo Molefe aged 9.

Samu and Lebo who were aban­doned by their mother when they were five and four years of age re­spec­tively.

She shares, “It has al­ways been my dream to live in a de­cent home that would of­fer me and my grand­chil­dren com­fort, pri­vacy and dig­nity”.

The Mul­tiChoice Group op­er­ates un­der var­i­ous brands, in­clud­ing: DStv, M-Net, Su­perS­port, GOtv and Dig­i­tal Me­dia Sales.

Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man Nolo Letele

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