SAMSUNG SOUTH Africa’s efforts in advancing racial equality and opportunities for all are bearing fruits and the results are remarkable. Today the tech company confirmed that it has achieved a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Level 1 contribution status.
The news not only outlines the importance and benefits of an inclusive growth but shows Samsung’s consistent transformation commitment in recent years. Since his appointment in 2017, Samsung Africa president Sung Yoon has made sure that diversity and transformation remain central to Samsung South Africa’s business strategy and it’s not hard to see why.
Before his appointment, Samsung South Africa had a 60% white stuff ratio, with the rest made up of black people (African, Coloureds and Indians), he exclusively tells NOWinSA. “The fact that we now have less than 25% of whites in our employ should tell you a lot about my reputation,” he says with a chuckle.
“When I first got here, the first 6 months I didn’t get any ‘black’ CVs. I heard people say ‘there’s no experienced black people’, which I didn’t believe. Then I said ‘ok let’s go universities to look for them’, and that’s when we visited the University of Pretoria and University of Cape Town. We met with heads of deans from various departments to discuss our future plans and intentions. Later on I invited MBA graduates from various institutions. I introduced them to my team and did a presentation on who we are and our intentions as a company. From that interaction alone I think we hired about 10 of them. More young graduates are now finding out about us on their own, and we are proud of the difference we have made ever since.”
The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) is an equality focused programme launched in 2003 by the South African government. Its aim is to address the inequalities suffered by black South African citizens as a result of the unjust apartheid regime. Likewise, Samsung’ empowerment initiatives, as reflected in many of its recent programmes including the R280 million investment towards the Department of Trade and Industry’s Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP), are aligned with the act’s mandate; which is to increase the number of black people who own, manage, gain employment and control the country’s economy.
“As a company proudly rooted in our South African heritage, we embrace transformation. We are committed to contributing meaningfully to sustainable transformation as we accelerate this journey across the Samsung value chain,” says Hlubi Shivanda, director for Samsung SA Business Innovation Group and Corporate Affairs.
Samsung’s transformation efforts comes a long way
Samsung’s intent on enhancing the socioeconomic development of black South Africans has come a long way. In 2011 the tech giant launched Africa’s first Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy, with the aim of addressing the critical shortage in technical engineering skills in the country. The Academy runs several empowerment programmes across the country such as the Women Technical Programme and the Boys to Men six-months courses, both aimed at equipping unemployed matriculants with ICT skills.
“Ultimately, Samsung will continue to pursue opportunities where people can become meaningfully engaged in the economy and in doing so, have a positive impact on their families, communities and therein, the entire nation,” the company said in a statement.
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