A unique project focused on providing technical business support to women-owned enterprises in the transport sector in South Africa has been launched.
Initiated by the United Nations (UN) Women’s South Africa Multi-Country Office (SAMCO), in partnership with the National Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), the aim of the flagship programme is to stimulate equal opportunities for women entrepreneurs through affirmative procurement, investment and supply chain policies.
Local female black-owned consulting company Sincpoint has been selected as the implementation arm of this project. Lebo Letsoalo, founder of Sincpoint explains: “We are excited at the opportunities this project offers. It will provide women-owned businesses in the transport sector with much-needed, tailor-made technical support, in addition to coaching and mentorship. The support will focus on strengthening their capacity to sustain their businesses, access new opportunities and grow their businesses.”
Sincpoint will be working closely with local membership-based association The African Women in Supply Chain Association (AWISCA) in the roll-out of the programme to ensure long-term support for the women.
Partnerships for Prosperity
AWISCA is collaborating with a number of industry bodies including universities, training providers, industry associations, organised business, as well as private companies.
The planned project implementation is eight months, with 200 women being selected. The project will be implemented in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, with the aim of expanding this to other provinces over time.
“What makes this programme unique and particularly effective is that the mentorship and coaching component will continue beyond the completion of the programme,” explains Letsoalo. “Through AWSICA, our women will have ongoing access to industry networks and knowledge through coaching circles, site visits, round table discussions, workshops and the many-other opportunities for growth and new business that AWISCA facilitates.”
“Although women are currently severely underrepresented in transport, more and more women are making their way into this exciting sector,” continues Letsoalo. “Transport is a dynamic, fast-changing and broad sector, ranging from rail and road transport, to shipping, aviation, import and export, cargo operations, domestic freight and containerisation, through to comprehensive, integrated door-to-door intermodal transport services. Each aspect requires skilled and competent people – women have multi-business opportunities at various levels within the industry. That’s what makes it such an exciting sector in which to work!”
The programme will target and equip selected women-owned enterprises that are suppliers or can potentially become suppliers of government and larger companies across the transport value chain.
Letsoalo added: “This project will assist in developing a much-needed pipeline of women who have the technical expertise and broader skills to thrive in this industry. The project’s focus is on creating sustainable skills transfer through practical coaching and mentorship”.
Founded in 2017, AWISCA was formed to bolster South Africa’s supply chain skills through functional mentorship and coaching, and to address the numerous technical and practical issues that continue to hinder the country’s transport, industry. It also aims to create better industry balance between the country’s universities, businesses, professionals, women and entrepreneurs.
Support from Business
Letsoalo urges transport businesses to support women in the transport industry by making business opportunities available to them. “AWISCA has an extensive database of women in transport with whom it can share information on the opportunities available”.
Keeping the Wheels of our Economy Turning
“Transport accounts for 9% of South Africa’s GDP,” concludes Letsoalo. “It is the lifeblood of our economy and is essential for the development of our nation. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is critical to all sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and pharmaceuticals. Without effective transport, we cannot be competitive in the future. To build an industry and a thriving economy requires that we build key skills and competencies in this sector.”
Commenting on the importance of this ground-breaking initiative, Letsoalo said: “This project will assist in developing women to grow within transport and to take ownership and lead transformation within Africa, with the ultimate goal of achieving economic and social improvement and sustainability in areas relating to transport. It will encourage them to take up their rightful presence in the leadership of supply chain.”
PwC quits as auditor of Lucky Star-owner Oceana amid ‘strained’ relationship
PwC has resigned as external auditor of Oceana because of a “strained” relationship with the company, and a lack of transparent communication with the board, amid a tumultuous period at the troubled fisheries and logistics group.
At the last annual general meeting, shareholders holding 38% of Oceana’s shares voted against retaining PwC as the group’s auditors. Oceana was meant to consult with shareholders on the reappointment of PwC on Monday, but instead announced on the day that PwC had resigned.
“Shareholders are now advised that late afternoon, Friday (…) PwC resigned as auditors of the group with immediate effect in respect of the audit of the financial year ending September 2022.”
Oceana said PwC said this was “due to their assessment of significant doubt as to whether there was objective and transparent communication between the board and PwC given the strained relationship, which they assert constituted a significant impairment of their independence.”
Oceana was looking at alternatives to PwC, and discussions with another of the big four auditing firms were progressing.
Monday’s meeting will still go ahead in order to provide shareholders a chance to engage with Oceana’s audit committee.
Oceana owns canned fish brand Lucky Star and also has a presence in other global markets where it sells fishmeal, fish oil and fish. It also owns a logistics company specialising in cold storage and transport of products such as fish, fruit and vegetables, poultry and meat.
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New DHL Global Forwarding Investment Into Johannesburg Facility
While it is much to early to fully grasp the economic impact of the current Covid-19 pandemic DHL has invested R127-million in a new 13 000 m2 facility. Twice the size of its current set-up and located next to the OR Tambo International Airport aimed at cementing its position within South Africa.
This new facility will consist of a 10 000 m2 warehouse that enables DHL Forwarding consolidation on all customer warehousing requirements. It will also boast will an exclusive and specialized cold chain facility that consists of three adjustable temperature-controlled refrigerators geared to handle life science and healthcare products in and out of South Africa.
The warehouse is also able to support other value-added services including cross-docking, storage for air, ocean, and road freight services, as well as a platform for breakbulk cargo. The customised built on the world-class specification with the location only a short distance from the airport and arterial thoroughfares and upcoming industrial parks, will make this new facility a complete game changer for DHL within the country.