Mpumalanga businesses encouraged to partner with government to improve lives of the poor rural communities

08 September 2011

Local companies need to find a common and sustainable approach of channelling the Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programmes in a way that contributes to improved socio-economic situation of the rural poor in the province, said Mpumalanga MEC for Finance, Pinky Phosa.

Addressing business leaders at the ABSA’s corporate social investment stakeholder dialogue held on Thursday (08 September 2011) in Mbombela, MEC Pinky Phosa challenged all local business leaders to find a niche within this vast and rich province with the purpose of helping build a lasting legacy which is premised on the change that we want to see in the communities.

Phosa also said there is great potential for this change to be realised if local business and other social partners can pair their CSI programmes with the initiatives in the priority sectors that have a potential to take the economy to a new and high trajectory.

South African companies are said to have spent about R5.4-billion on corporate social investment (CSI) programmes in the financial year 2009/10. However, there are indications that these large sums of money that are invested through CSI programmes reach those who have the means of access to information and in some cases those who are closer to the cities and businesses.

Investment and support to infrastructure development and community upliftment projects with potential to create decent jobs for the rural people are the seen as the sure ways to help improve the local economy.

MEC Phosa said the companies can realise a greater impact of their CSI spent if more of these funds are directed to the programmes that benefit many poor people, especially those in the periphery.

“We envisage the CSI programmes that will assist or support organised groups and the public sector programmes that are aimed to improve the quality of life of the majority of our people,” she added.

The government values the contribution of business in the development programmes and see valuable partnerships on programmes such as Comprehensive Rural Development as important for attainment of better outcomes for the communities.

Phosa invited business to partner with the government to ensure that the province change the face of the identified CRDP areas which are in Mkhondo; Nkomazi; Chief Albert Luthuli; Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme; Dr JS Moroka; Thembisile Hani and Bushbuckridge.

“The corporate social responsibility programme in the province must be geared toward making tomorrow better for the province and the majority of our people, including women, youth and people with disabilities living in these CRDP areas.

“We envisage CSI programmes that will assist or support organised groups and in particular the public sector programme that are aimed to improve the quality of life of the majority of our people, said MEC Phosa.

Meanwhile, MEC Phosa said the province is in the process of concluding the consultation processes on the Province’s New Mpumalanga Economic Growth and Development Path (MEGDP).

She called on the local business to align their corporate social investment programmes to the provincial growth path in order to assist the province to achieve the noble goals that have been set in the MEGDP.

The growth path focuses on amongst other the development of priority sectors in a manner that is inclusive and shared and redresses the imbalances between urban and rural areas with respect to spatial development.

For more information, contact:

Letshela Jonas on 013 766 4243 / 079 5000 154 or Joseph Mkhonto on (013) 766 4162 / 082 627 1750
Issued by Communications, Department of Finance, Mpumalanga Provincial Government