Jun 18

18 June 2004

A unique empowerment model to offer the government ‘something to lean on’

Finance Minister issues challenge to Ditikeni.

A broad-based South African empowerment company, Ditikeni, has been encouraged by Mr Trevor Manuel, Minister of Finance to develop their unique empowerment model to offer government “something to lean on” as South Africa strides towards defining a “more inclusive future”.

Mr Manuel issued his challenge at the launch of Ditikeni Investment Company — the name means “something to lean on” — in Cape Town on Thursday, June 17, 2004.

Ditikeni is a broad-based empowerment vehicle. Its 23 shareholders operate in 109 localities across South Africa, and are engaged in local, grassroots empowerment in the poorest communities.

All the shareholders are not-for-profit and have a long and internationally acknowledged record of delivery and accountability.

In his address Mr Manuel said the government was extremely conscious of the need to reduce poverty in South Africa.

He said President Thabo Mbeki had delivered distinct marching orders in his state of the nation address earlier this year, among which “is the restatement of BEE as a pivotal element in government policy”.

The framework for this, he said, was provided in the Broad Based Black Empowerment Act and leadership was provided in the Financial Sector Charter which listed six elements of transformation; procurement and enterprise development, empowerment financing, access to financial services, corporate social investment and ownership and control.

“As a basis for a defining framework to evaluate the efforts of Ditikeni, I would like unashamedly to commend the breadth of participation and the nature of the organisations involved.

“The challenge will be in maximising both the size of the endowment and the distribution,” said Manuel.

There was a need he said, to construct a model that can be replicated. Manuel said that his “comfort” with Ditikeni derived from knowing the individuals concerned and the value system “that I know they live by”.

“The approach that Ditikeni offers is in many respects antithetical to capitalism.

“But it is in understanding these contradictions, or at least being conscious of them, that we seek alternatives — or more importantly seek to define a true broad-based venture —not just nominal participation, broad-based to trigger deal flow, but broad-based in effect.

“This is a mammoth responsibility,”” he concluded, “but I have every confidence in the initiators of Ditikeni and I want to ask that, as the name suggests, that the venture offers me something to lean on as we stride forward to define a more inclusive future.”

Ditikeni announced three new transactions at the function including

  • An interest in STANLIB Limited, one of SA’s three largest asset managers, and part of the Standard Bank/Liberty Life group. STANLIB manages R152 billion of assets under management and administration. Ditikeni holds its 1.625% stake via a trust alongside several other empowerment organisations representing youth, women, black universities and others. The lead black investor is Safika Holdings.
  • A stake in Medikredit Integrated Healthcare Solutions (Pty) Ltd, the country’s leading electronic claims processing company which renders its services to medical schemes, pharmacies, doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers. Ditikeni has obtained a 2% interest as part of the broad based group in the recently concluded BEE transaction of this company.
  • A stake in Avis Van Rentals (Eastern Cape), the Avis franchise engaged in short-term commercial vehicle leasing. Ditikeni is to acquire 30% of this company which operates from outlets in Port Elizabeth, East London, Queenstown and Umtata.

Sahra Ryklief, a director of Ditikeni, said the transactions were “a welcome indication that broad-based empowerment is being embraced wholeheartedly by credible companies. Empowerment is no longer for the few, but for the many through ventures like Ditikeni. Our shareholders have been actually empowering poor and disadvantaged communities for many years, and through Ditikeni they will get the resources to continue for years to come.”

Note to editors:

Ditikeni’s existing investments include a 1% beneficial interest in Caltex Oil of South Africa and stakes in First Afrijoint Assemblers (FAJA) jointly with Dorbyl Automotive Technologies; Occupational Care South Africa (OCSA) jointly with the Carecross Group; Sphere Holdings and Vunani Staffing Solutions.

Press Contact:
Caroline Swift
HWB Communications
Tel: 021 462 0416
Cell: 084 303 6777