Our People Value Proposition is what creates our sustainable competitive advantage.

We believe that a motivated and engaged workforce creates a sustainable competitive advantage for our business and benefits society. We are committed to attracting, developing and retaining the best people, providing a safe work environment for them, and creating a winning culture that embraces their diversity and celebrates their contribution.

Our priority SDGs



Our human capital strategy aims to create a conducive workplace environment to attract and retain the best people, and foster a high-performance culture which engages, motivates and equips our employees. To achieve this objective:


As a group, we subscribe to the principles outlined in the UNGC, the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation (‘ILO’), and the regulatory framework defined by the OECD. We measure annually the group’s practices against these benchmarks. We meet or exceed all minimum wage requirements as legislated in South Africa and all the countries in which our businesses operate. Our employees have the option to participate voluntarily in both medical and health schemes, while membership of a retirement scheme is compulsory for permanent employees. We comply with the provisions of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (No. 75 of 1997) and other labour laws, which prohibit forced labour, regulate hours of work, rest periods and overtime work, and we do not employ children under the age of 18 years. Our divisions monitor and report on overtime work to ensure that we have a healthy workforce and create a safe working environment for our employees.


The creation of an ethical culture is supported by:

There has been a slight increase in the total number of cases reported in FY23 which, we believe, is due to increased awareness of KAPREF. Incidents of theft were most common in FY23, followed by fraud and misconduct. Every reported incident is logged and then investigated by an internal investigation team. Where the incidents are found to be valid, appropriate actions are taken or referred to relevant law enforcement agencies in accordance with the law. The outcomes of incident investigations are communicated internally and reported to the social and ethics committee, the audit and risk committee and the board.


We value diversity and inclusion and are committed to creating a diverse workforce. We are fully compliant with the provisions of the Employment Equity Act (No. 55 of 1998) and have implemented our code of ethics and human rights policy, which prohibit discrimination and harassment in the workplace on the basis of race, religion, gender, colour, creed, age, political opinion and affiliation, social status, sexual orientation or disability. We also comply with the provisions of the B-BBEE Act, as well as with the B-BBEE Amended Codes of Good Practice. As a group, we have a Level 4 B-BBEE rating, with divisions being rated individually between Levels 2 and 6. Our B-BBEE verification process is conducted independently by AQRate.

Our permanent workforce comprises 89% black employees and 59% of management is comprised of permanent black employees.

We have internal targets to increase black representation across all managerial levels in line with the prescribed Economically Active Population statistics in terms of the provisions of the Employment Equity Act. Key managerial positions are becoming increasingly difficult to fill, irrespective of race, highlighting the increasing risk related to skills shortages in South Africa.

Of our permanent workforce, 73% is 35 years of age and above, while 27% are below 35.

Gender diversity remains a key focus for us. We aim to improve gender diversity in leadership positions over the next five years, and to improve female representation across all operations. Women comprise 20% (FY22: 19%) of our total permanent staff complement and hold 27% (FY22: 26%) of managerial positions (junior management and higher).

We are also committed to providing an enabling and accommodating work environment for people with disabilities. This includes ensuring that our office facilities are accessible to those with limited mobility. Our employees include 45 people with disabilities (FY22: 103).

Managerial positions – junior management and higher*

Composition of workforce*

* Refers to permanent workforce (South African citizens). Percentages have been rounded.


Our divisions engage in a continual process of identifying and tracking their scarce and critical skills and investing appropriately in technical training and development initiatives. Scarce skills are those in the organisation where there is a shortage of qualified and experienced people, currently or anticipated in the future (such as engineering or technical skills), while critical skills refer to specific key or crucial skills such as problem-solving, language and literacy and IT. For example, engineering skills were identified as a scarce skill in Feltex. A strategic initiative was implemented to enhance and grow the availability of these skills within Feltex from graduate level through to experienced senior levels.

We encourage our employees’ ongoing development by providing either financial assistance or time off to pursue degree or diploma courses.

Our expenditure on training and development was R131.3 million during the year compared to R152.5 million in the previous year. The number of employees in talent development and training programmes increased from 1 100 to 1 122, and we offered internships, learnerships and apprenticeships worth R74.6 million to both employees and unemployed learners as part of our human capital development programme.

The learnership programmes provide both a theoretical and a practical learning environment, and all these programmes provide a pipeline of potential skilled artisans for our operations. We offer both on-site and off-site training by accredited training providers. When positions become available in the group, candidates are sourced first from this pool of learners. Wherever possible and applicable, we employ people from local communities.


We nurture the belief that constructive engagement with our employees is critical to the sustainability of our business. We comply with the provisions of applicable labour and employment legislation in all the countries in which our businesses operate. We have established the employment and labour standards compliance committee as part of our combined assurance framework to develop and implement the controls, systems and processes necessary to ensure labour and employment legislative compliance.

We have sound relationships with our key stakeholders, including industry organisations and trade unions, and we create an environment conducive to achieving mutually beneficial outcomes and collective agreements with these unions. We also play a meaningful role in industry structures, including the bargaining council structures and employer associations in the industries in which our divisions operate. Trade union representation in our operations remains stable and continues to form a solid base for employee engagement with approximately 58% of our South African workforce belonging to collective bargaining units.


Injuries and fatalities

Our CEO is ultimately responsible for health and safety within the group, a responsibility he has delegated to specific individuals at divisional level. We are committed to a zero-harm environment for all our employees and contractors. Our efforts to instil a safety-first culture are evident in the significant decrease in reportable injuries in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (No. 130 of 1993) (‘COID’) over the last three years, from 516 to 329. In particular, we have continued to provide training for our employees and contractors, have tracked health and safety statistics at site, divisional, group and board subcommittee (audit and risk committee) level, and ensured that we follow up on implementing learnings from root cause analyses after incidents.

Our divisions continue to focus on preventing workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities by mitigating hazards and continually improving workplace conditions, processes and systems, in line with our zero-harm target.

At an operational level, we have comprehensive safety management systems, processes and procedures in place aligned with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (No. 85 of 1993). Each business identifies, measures and reports on health and safety matters. Compliance is reported quarterly at the divisional audit and risk committee meetings. We continuously train employees and contractors in health and safety procedures applicable to their work environment. All employees and contractors undergo general health and safety training during induction and annual refresher training.

Our divisions are regularly assessed by internal health and safety representatives. Where required, assessments by accredited, external, independent assurance providers ensure compliance with relevant health and safety statutory and legal requirements. The frequency of assessments depends on the statutory, legal or programme requirements specific to their facilities and operations. For example, Safripol conducts quarterly occupational health and safety (‘OHS’) legal registry audits and annual integrated ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001 certification audits by external specialists.

Our OHS procedures include a risk management plan that is supported by a legal, risk and incident register, which allows for the identification of hazards, as well as regular risk assessments, internal audits, safety training, management reviews and third-party audits. These are undertaken on both existing business and new projects. Targets are set by each business and their performance is measured against these. In-depth investigations of all OHS incidents are conducted, and mitigation procedures are reviewed regularly.

Because the equipment and certain raw materials used at some of our manufacturing facilities can potentially be dangerous to our employees, they are trained to adhere strictly to all required health and safety regulations. Specific training, such as working at heights or in confined spaces, lockout and safe work procedures is given to specific employees and contractors who encounter these environments, in accordance with a training plan which is tracked and monitored. In our logistics operations, road accidents present the most material risk to the safety of our employees. To reduce road accidents, we conduct driver training and roll out broad-based road transport safety campaigns for our truck drivers. Optix focuses on improving safety on our roads by deploying video telematics and predictive analytics.

There were no employee fatalities at our employees’ place of work during the reporting year compared with three in the previous year. Unfortunately, two contractors lost their lives during the reporting period compared with one in the prior year. One contractor at PG Bison was struck by lightning while the other sustained fatal injuries during the movement of harvesting equipment. A thorough investigation was conducted into each fatal incident, and risk mitigation measures were put in place.

Health and well-being

We have invested in on-site occupational and primary healthcare clinics for our employees at the majority of our manufacturing sites. In cases where these are unavailable, we ensure that our employees and contractors have access to healthcare facilities nearby. The clinics offer first aid and play a crucial role in dealing with injuries on duty. They are run by qualified nursing staff, who are assisted by medical doctors. The services they offer include workplace health risk assessments, chronic disease screening and management (including for tuberculosis and HIV), industrial hygiene and medical surveillance. They also offer primary healthcare medication and family planning guidance. Where there is no on-site clinic, an occupational health practitioner is contracted to perform medical surveillance.

In our logistics environment, mobile clinics are available on the main routes we use. These clinics test for chronic conditions and dispense chronic and primary care medication.

HIV/Aids is addressed in all divisional policies, and each division has a comprehensive, holistic programme in place to promote awareness, prevention and voluntary testing, as well as to provide support. Policies cover issues such as confidentiality and protection against discrimination. We are committed to implementing programmes that are relevant and valuable to our employees in each division. Where applicable, local communities are involved in initiatives such as World Aids Day and HIV/Aids education.