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Social Responsibility

More than just a buzzword

The Soma Initiative sees social responsibility not as an add-on to business activities, but as fundamental to how a company should engage with the communities and natural environment within which its customers, employees, investors and suppliers work and live. For us ‘social responsibility’ is more than just a buzzword, because we contribute 5% of our gross annual profit to socially responsible initiatives throughout South Africa.

Research, programmes and interaction

In practice, Soma seeks to respond to issues that affect the majority of South African citizens and to interact with local communities wherever we do business. In addition to financial input, our social investments are targeted at research and programmes that provide replicable solutions to pressing problems, including skills enhancement, improved technology and communication, and the delivery of essential services.

Soma’s CSI in practice: CIDA

Through CIDA City Campus’ objectives of providing virtually free education to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, promoting entrepreneurship, facilitating skills development opportunities and contributing to social and economic empowerment and transformation in South Africa, the Soma Initiative is able to participate in building a future generation of highly-skilled, professional South African community leaders, educators and entrepreneurs.

Further to this, the Soma Initiative, in similar fashion to CIDA, subscribes to the following philosophies: a) that the future of the country lies in the hands of the youth - so we must educate them; and b) that broad-based Black Economic Empowerment is not about the enrichment of a few, but about giving hundreds of young people the opportunity to enrich their communities.

Based on these principles, Soma’s relationship with CIDA is a strategic partnership which ensures ongoing endowment funding through an annual company dividend flow as well as a corporate social investment policy equivalent to an annual contribution of 5% of gross profit. This enables the delivery of education through bursaries and subsidised-learning, skills transfer and long-term empowerment to thousands of financially disadvantaged South Africans.

By way of example, in 2007 the Soma Initiative contributed in excess of R4 million to CIDA Empowerment (Pty) Limited and provided on-the-job work experience to two CIDA business graduates.

 

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