Social investment initiatives in southern Africa are handled through the AngloGold Ashanti Fund which distributed R16 million in 2006 to more than 75 projects or initiatives.
As in previous years education was the sector that received the greatest support followed by HIV/AIDS, welfare and development, skills training and job creation, and health. In two other respects, however, there have been significant changes.
The first is that there has been a reduction in the number of small grants in favour of channelling larger amounts into projects with the potential to make a bigger impact on their communities.
The second is a continuation of the trend where initiatives are generally only considered if they are based in the regions where AngloGold Ashanti has operations or in the areas from which the company draws large numbers of employees (and where the families of many of those employees live). In this respect AngloGold Ashanti is following the requirement of the Broad-Based Socio- Economic Empowerment Charter that mining companies should concentrate on development in their host communities and in the major-labour sending areas.
Fundamental to the philosophy of the AngloGold Ashanti Fund is the belief that development works best where people are empowered to work towards their own advancement and where ownership of the initiative rests either with the individuals or with the communities responsible for those initiatives. The aim is to provide constructive support for sustainable projects which will benefit the region concerned in the longer term.
The AngloGold Ashanti Fund and Trust were managed by Tshikululu Social Investments (TSI), a specialist corporate donor support agency, for over eight years up until the end of December 2006. As a result of changes to AngloGold Ashanti’s corporate social investment strategy and its focus, it has been agreed between the company and TSI that, in future, it will be optimal for AngloGold Ashanti to mange its own CSI delivery. Great care has been taken in planning the handover to limit disruption to historic and potential beneficiaries of the AngloGold Ashanti Fund and Trust.
To give greater insight into the activities of the fund, a few of the many projects supported in 2006 are outlined below.
AngloGold Ashanti was aware that the closing in 2005 of its Ergo operation (to the east of Johannesburg) would have a marked impact on the nearby townships of Tsakane and Kwa-Thema. In view of this and in line with the company’s commitment to its mining communities both during the life of operations and afterwards, the fund started a three-year project to improve teaching skills in mathematics and science in 14 secondary schools and literacy in 20 primary schools. (See case study in the Report to Society 2004: Ergo programme focuses on maths and science education).
The manager of the fund, Sipho Mahlangu, says that from the outset the intention was that, if the model proved to be successful, it would be replicated in other areas. Having seen the difference that the interventions have made to pupils in the selected schools in Tsakane and Kwa-Thema, the fund decided to go ahead and introduce similar programmes in the regions of the company’s Vaal River and West Wits operations. Preparations started in 2005 and the projects got under way in 2006.
At Vaal River 10 primary schools, in Klerksdorp, Orkney and Stilfontein, were selected for a three-year language and literacy intervention. Mahlangu explains: “Literacy is the key. Studies have shown that many learners entering high school lack the basic literacy skills to cope with their studies at the secondary level. Children who battle to read will struggle to understand the concepts underlying subjects such as maths and science.”
The fund has invested close to R2 million in the Vaal River programme which concentrates on the training of subject advisers and teachers and the provision of appropriate resource materials to the schools. It is being run by the Read Educational Trust, a nonprofit organisation committed to improving the educational achievements of South African pupils.
The thrust of the R1.6 million programme in the West Wits area is to provide extra classes in mathematics, science and English to learners in grades 10, 11 and 12. Some 150 children of varying abilities and drawn from a number of schools in Carletonville have been chosen for the two-year project which is being conducted by Star Schools, an organisation which specialises in the provision of supplementary education.
The TB Alliance DOTS Support Association (TADSA) is a non-profit organisation with 14 years’ experience in developing community-based treatment programmes for tuberculosis (TB). The organisation’s approach is to motivate willing primary health care workers and their managers to take ownership of their local TB programmes.
Among other places TADSA is active in Fochville (in the Carletonville area) and in 2005 the fund gave the organisation a grant towards the production of a training manual.
The fund has given TADSA further support this year to enable primary health care workers to visit patients in their homes when necessary. Mahlangu explains: “Taking the medication prescribed is crucial in the treatment of TB – this is well known. TADSA encourages primary health care workers to take a leading role in ensuring compliance by following up with patients.” In some cases this requires that they visit people in their homes to check up on them should they not return to the clinic within a specified period.
AngloGold Ashanti is involved in an agricultural support programme in the Eastern Cape known as Abalimi Phambili which is run by Teba Development in partnership with Lima Rural Development Foundation and Mngcunube Consultants. Aimed primarily at the families of current and retrenched mineworkers in the Eastern Cape, the programme assists community farmers by linking them with commercial farmers, development agencies, the Department of Agriculture and other entities. The idea is to develop their skills and increase their economic opportunities. For example, it is difficult for small-scale farmers to access larger markets because they do not produce in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements of a supermarket chain. This is not an issue for commercial farmers but at times they may be in need of additional produce to meet their supply contracts. By putting the two together certain synergies can be achieved. The commercial farmer provides storage space for the community farmer whose crop can be sold as part of a bigger consignment. Such relationships also offer opportunities for small farmers to be mentored.
The Abalimi Phambili programme is being run in several districts in the Eastern Cape including Tabankulu, an area where several hundred AngloGold Ashanti employees have their family homes and it is the area where the fund has made a two-year, R1.8 million commitment in support of the project.