Cell C has achieved level 1 Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) contributor status. The mobile operator achieved this milestone through a focused transformation strategy that was premised on delivering meaningful empowerment and going beyond compliance.
Juba Mashaba, chief human resources officer at Cell C, says: “Each year we have diligently reviewed our transformation strategy and set out clear guidelines for each of the five pillars in the B-BBEE scorecard to ensure we make meaningful progress. Through our empowerment initiatives, we are making a meaningful contribution to many of our stakeholders, while ensuring the long term stability and profitability of our business.”
Cell C was able to bring about meaningful and sustainable change within the organisation and the broader South African society by focusing on: culture, ownership transformation, skills development, workplace transformation and development, enterprise and socio-economic development. An analysis of our transformation strategy implementation indicated that we needed to focus more on Skills Development, Enterprise and Supplier Development as well as on Socio-Economic Development. It is this focus on these three pillars that made the most contribution to getting us to a level one contributor status:
Skills Development – Cell C invested significantly in learning programmes for employed and unemployed youth, Black and disabled communities with a 204.2% increase in investment from the previous year. Programmes in this regard included the Data Science Academy, which teaches critical technical skills for the current and future world of work as well as Digital Skills Training for 30 employees who were impacted by the Section 189 redundancy process.
Cell C also launched its Middle Management Development Programme (MDP) in partnership with GIBS Business School which prioritised Black and female participants.
Additionally, Cell C has invested in bridging programmes such as the Targeting Talent Programme (TTP) with the University of Witwatersrand (WITS), which supports learners in grades 10 to 12 with a focus on Maths, Science, Technology, Engineering and Accounting subjects.
In partnership with the Government and Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), Cell C has positively contributed to youth and skills development through its Youth Employment Services (YES4Youth) programme, which offers learnerships and internships to unemployed youth within various organisation. In 2021, the programme had 110 learners and Cell C was able to employ six learners from the class of 2020.
Enterprise and Supplier Development – the organisation significantly increased the number of new Black enterprises, Black empowered enterprises and Black-engendered enterprises in its procurement process by 12.4%. Programmes such as the Cell C Innovation Challenge, which empowers start-ups in the ICT sector, has also positively contributed to this pillar.
Socio-Economic Development – Cell C understanding its role in the communities in which it operates has invested in nation building initiatives that address societal changes such as youth unemployment, ICT access, gender inequalities and education.
As part of Cell C’s ongoing commitment to bridging the digital divide, the mobile operator has recognised communities’ needs to digital resources, connectivity and affordable ICT access. In this regard Cell C has commenced its programme of establishing technology labs in rural and township schools.
Gender equality has always been a priority for Cell C with programmes such as Take a Girl Child to Work Day, which in its 20th year is undergoing immense transformation to align with the evolving needs of society. Going forward, the programme will not only focus on empowering girls only but will include boys to holistically address gender equality. It will also serve as a broader youth development programme that taps into the growth and developmental ecosystem of a young child.
“Achieving B-BBEE level one is testament to Cell C’s positive and sustainable contribution to the growth and economic well-being of previously disadvantaged South Africans. We will continue to positively impact the environments in which we operate as we firmly believe that thriving and socially cohesive communities are important for sustainable business operations,” concludes Mashaba.