Netcare, South Africa's largest private healthcare group, was recently ranked first in the healthcare sector and 15th overall, in the Mail & Guardian's Most Empowered Companies Awards. The group's commitment to transformation also resulted in it being the only healthcare group to feature in the top 20 of South Africa's most empowered companies.
The awards provide a platform for JSE-listed companies to showcase their progress in delivering on black economic empowerment and transformation in South Africa. Empowerment rating and research agency, Empowerdex, analyses South Africa's top performing companies and, along with a team of financial journalists, then determines which companies have done best in each sector and overall in terms of empowerment, transformation, ownership and enterprise development.
Commenting on the group's achievement, Peter Warrener, Netcare's human resources director, says organisational transformation has long been a strategic priority for Netcare. "The awards recognise South African companies that have embraced transformation in its totality in order to positively contribute to South Africa's business environment and to the normalisation of our society. We are encouraged that Netcare has been acknowledged in this recognised benchmarking survey," he adds.
According to Warrener, "Netcare's concerted efforts to accelerate transformation across all areas of their business and to redress the historic socio-economic imbalances that still prevail in South Africa were also recently acknowledged at the 13th annual Oliver Empowerment Awards, where Netcare won the Diversity Award. The awards highlight Netcare's continued efforts to create a truly equitable society in South Africa by implementing a transformation strategy that is aligned to the broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) framework.
Netcare achieved a Level 2 B-BBEE rating with an improved score of 87.82 in 2013, compared to the previous year's 82.11. The group also attained a Level 2 contributor certification by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti,) which shows marked improvements in the areas of ownership, employment equity and preferential procurement. Netcare spent R8.2bn of its total R14bn procurement expenditure with B-BBEE compliant suppliers in 2013. In respect of ownership, the voting rights and economic interests of African, Coloured and Indian (ACI) shareholders increased to 26.44% and 14.71% for ACI females, exceeding the dti targets of 25% and 10% respectively. The participation of ACI beneficiaries in employee ownership schemes and broad-based ownership schemes also increased to 20.48%, far outstripping the 2.5% dti target. The majority of these shares are held in the Health Partners for Life (HPFL) trust. Staff have benefited to the value of some R183m since the inception of the Trust.
In addition, the company's dedication to creating an inclusive and diverse workforce aligned to the national Economic Active Population (EAP) demographics is reflected in ACI staff members making up 72% of Netcare's workforce, 58% of whom are females, representing an increase in both areas. A total of 505 individuals with disabilities are employed by the group, constituting 2.26% of its permanent workforce in 2013, which is above the national target of 2%. "ACI employees with disabilities increased to 269,152 of whom were females," adds Warrener. Lastly, the group's total spend on socio-economic development was R57.8m, which benefited approximately 30,000 beneficiaries.
"Netcare's rating in The Mail & Guardian's Most Empowered Companies Award stands as testament to our group's commitment to redressing the deep-seated inequalities in South Africa. Netcare has made substantive progress in realising its transformation goals over the years and the company's board, management and employees will continue contributing positively towards the ultimate aim of achieving a just and equitable society in South Africa," concludes Warrener.