Save social expenditure from credit crunch
24 Jun 2009
Social responsibility budget should not be the first item to be cut when businesses seek measures to adapt to the current economic difficulties, Minister of Women, Children and Persons with Disability Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya said during the debate on the Presidency’s Budget Vote in parliament today.
Minister Mayende-Sibiya’s statement was in reaction to a Sunday newspaper report estimating that more than 500 000 needy South Africans, mostly women and children, could be plunged into further desperation as charity organisations struggle to raise funding.
Minister Mayende-Sibiya called on business to view expenditure on social responsibility initiatives and transformation as an investment into the sustainability of their business and business environment with tangible returns.
“Corporate social responsibility is no longer just a gesture of goodwill, viable only during good economic times. It is a necessary investment into the socio-economic sustainability of the country. Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) requires that companies spend a minimum of 1% of net-profit after tax on corporate social investment initiatives. In addition, this expenditure comes with tax and significant public relations benefits,” said Minister Mayende-Sibiya.
She acknowledged the current pressure on profit margins and called on business to adopt a long term view in their investment decision.
“Each company should have a view of where it would like to be in ten to ten years time. A company operating in a socially sustainable environment with a diverse workforce in term of gender and race will have a competitive advantage over its peers when our economy recovers,” said Minister Mayende-Sibiya.
She said government was playing its part to ensure the welfare of children. She said the review of the status of children in the country has been completed and its outcomes are going to guide the programmes of her new department and its collaborative efforts with other departments such as Health and Social Development.
“We will be supporting the efforts to improve the quality of life of children including stepping up the Early Childhood Development Programme. We have to ensure universal access to Grade R and double the number of zero to four year old children attending early childhood centres by 2014,” said Minister Mayende-Sibiya.
Her department will also strengthen relations with the Children’s Advisory Council and other stakeholders and build on the progress made to streamline children rights issues in government programmes at all levels.
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Issued by: Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disability
24 June 2009
Issued by: The Presidency
24 Jun 2009
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