Caring for the Bidvest 'family'

and driving positive change through partnerships and social dialogue

In line with SDGs aimed at good health and wellbeing and gender equality, the Group is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace with equal opportunities conducive to learning and personal development. The social element of ESG is of particular importance to Bidvest as it is one of the largest private sector employers and touches multiple sectors and communities. Furthermore, through its operations, the Group continues to promote and offer out-of-home hygiene services and integrated facilities management services in order to support safe and healthy occupational environments.

The Group is proud to be a deep-rooted corporate citizen in SA, as it is highly engaged in community development activities, with a particular focus on enhancing education, health, economic advancement and diversity. Investing in communities and human capital and supporting local suppliers, affords us the opportunity to operate, do business in and draw skills from the communities in which we operate. The Group’s operations are focused on gender diversity with considerable initiatives directed towards individual development.

    Topic Our aim We will Measurement FY2019
Diversity To be an inclusive employer where everyone is
treated equally with females at all levels making
up 45% and African people 50% in SA operations
by 2025
We will actively manage appointments at top,
senior and middle-management to achieve
race and gender diversity
Total employees:
45% 45% 43%
Gender and race split at top, senior and
middle-management; % appointments:
36% 45% 37%
Appointments – female
34% 50% 35%
Appointments – African     11%
hygiene and
Provide safe working environment by reducing
workplace injuries by 5% per annum
Reduce workplace injuries, both serious and nonserious LTIFR (major injuries) 1.92 5% annual
2.68 139%
  Fatalities 4   11
Implement learnings from particular incidents and regular training # of employees trained on Health and Safety     90 181
Wellbeing Protect and enhance livelihoods and wellbeing of
our employees
Support employees through enterprise wide
employee wellness programme and initiatives
# employees that participated 79     79 993  
  Continuously develop the skills of our employees
and in industries in which we operate
# learnerships, internships and
    5 596 participants;
406 absorbed
practices and
human rights
in our own
operations and
supply chain
To protect and advance livelihoods Protect and treat our own people fairly # lost CCMA cases     77  
Engage with tier 1 suppliers to ensure that they have adopted the commitments described in our Code of Ethical Purchasing (industry standard or equivalent labour assessment) % offshore suppliers being compliant as measured by self disclosure   100% 66%
Supply chain
To support local businesses in their growth aspirations Source locally from B-BBEE compliant suppliers.
Goal is >90% sourcing from local suppliers with a
Level 4, or better rating, by 2025
% local procurement from compliant
50% >90% 74% 47%

Transformation, diversity and employment equity

Our people form the backbone of Bidvest. The diversity of people’s background, age, race, gender, religion, skills and experience undoubtedly contributes to a Bidvest that is relevant, innovative and future-fit. Our focus remains on advancing inclusion, diversity and equality.

1 041 employees have disabilities

PHS and Htf partnered on Project SEARCH to support young people with learning disabilities into paid full-time employment

36% of employees belong to unions/bargaining council

19% staff turnover, slightly higher than the previous year

In our offshore businesses, gender diversity is high on the agenda and specific targets to reach at least 50% female representation have been set. Current gender profile:

Noonan: 34% of top, senior management female

PHS: 29% of top, senior management female

The Group is committed to a sustainable, fair and responsible remuneration policy, from both an external competitiveness perspective as well as an internal equity perspective, which satisfies the requirements of all stakeholders. Bidvest is explicit in its commitment to income parity and recognise the growing call for disclosure in this regard. We are not currently able to report on this in a meaningful manner at an aggregated level, but we remain committed to transparency and will be implementing systems to report on this.

Refer to Remuneration Report

No material strike activity

Across the Group, 77 cases were awarded in support of employee grievances at the CCMA, labour court or equivalent processes

All the businesses that form part of the Group complies with local laws governing labour and minimum wages


Management control

Diversity of our leadership team and employee base remains key and fundamental to our long-term success and sustainability. In SA the focus is on race and gender diversity whilst in the UK and Ireland gender diversity is key to addressing the low levels of females in the workplace, especially in leadership roles.

In SA, at middle, senior and top management levels 18%, 21% and 38% are African, respectively. Women represent 29%, 36% and 38%, respectively, at the three management levels. The increase in the representation of African people and females across all three levels of management is very pleasing. The focus on increasing the number of African females followed by African males in management positions is yielding results.

SA management demographics by race and gender (top, senior and middle management)

Level AM AF CM CF IM IF Total WM WF Total
EAP %1 43.6% 35.8% 5.0% 4.1% 1.8% 0.9% 91.2% 4.9% 3.9% 8.8%
June 22 8.4% 9.6% 2.0% 3.2% 12.0% 4.0% 39.2% 48.4% 12.4% 60.8%
June 21 5.8% 5.2% 5.9% 4.9% 10.1% 9.7% 41.6% 45.1% 13.3% 58.4%
June 20 5.1% 6.6% 3.0% 4.5% 11.1% 6.3% 36.6% 53.9% 9.6% 63.5%
June 22 10.3% 10.4% 4.4% 2.9% 14.0% 4.7% 46.9% 35.5% 17.6% 53.1%
June 21 9.3% 6.3% 8.3% 3.0% 13.4% 5.1% 45.4% 38.4% 16.2% 54.6%
June 20 9.3% 6.9% 6.8% 2.9% 11.3% 5.4% 42.6% 38.9% 18.5% 57.4%
June 22 25.6% 12.7% 6.9% 4.0% 8.0% 5.0% 62.3% 21.6% 16.1% 37.7%
June 21 24.2% 11.7% 6.6% 4.2% 8.0% 4.7% 59.4% 23.6% 17.0% 40.6%
June 20 24.6% 10.3% 6.8% 4.4% 8.3% 4.3% 58.7% 25.8% 15.4% 41.2%
1 Economically active occupation.

The overall appointment of Black people across all three levels is 82% of the total appointments made over the year. Black appointments in Financial Services, Freight, Services International and Services South Africa have all exceeded 80%.

We recognize that not only is the appointment but also the retention of black women in leadership very important. This year the Group partnered with the Black Management Forum and rolled out the Women’s Empowerment Desk. The programme focuses on the ongoing development and progression of women in leadership. It will provide opportunities, platforms, and networks for our own executives to access and participate in. Both Noonan and PHS have also established and introduced platforms and programmes that will develop and empower women in the business and ensure the retention of women across different levels of leadership.

In Noonan, 34% of the top and senior management team are female whilst in PHS 29% of the team are female. Both businesses have specific targets and initiatives to close the gender gaps and are tracking well against same.

SA management appointments (FY2022)

African male African
Total White
Top 21 8 9 0 1 2 0 20 1 0
Senior 105 22 34 7 3 14 4 84 17 4
Middle 941 448 157 51 24 60 32 772 121 48
Total 1067 478 200 58 28 76 36 876 139 52
% of total appointments 45% 19% 5% 3% 7% 3% 82% 13% 5%
EAP Target % 43.6% 35.8% 5.0% 4.1% 1.8% 0.9% 91.2% 4.9% 3.9%

Health, safety and wellness

This past year has once again highlighted the value and resilience of our people. Despite a grave start to the year with the KwaZulu-Natal riots followed by the floods, the Bidvest family continued to create value for all stakeholders.

The pandemic and resultant protocols remained part of our lives for most of the financial year. As at 30 June 2022, 83% of employees are fully vaccinated, with 82% across our SA employee base which is much higher than the 32% for the population as a whole.

The employee wellness programme that was rolled out in July 2020 has gained momentum and we are seeing an increase in utilisation. Employees and their families are using the services offered by the programme and the divisional chief executives continue to monitor reports for any prevalent issues that may need attention. The top issues dealt with via the programme are relationship issues, mental health issues and stress related cases.

The total engagement rate was up to 2 354, comprising 1 650 individual cases and 704 group intervention participants. This engagement rate is almost double the previous year.

An Executive Care Programme through ICAS also ensures and encourages executives to become more vigilant about undergoing their annual medicals and to become more conscious of the importance of health and lifestyle in general.

LTIFR and fatalities

The Group’s aim is to provide a safe and healthy workplace. At an aggregated level, the loss time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) deteriorated to 2.72. Automotive, Services International, Services South Africa and Freight divisions reported improved LTIFR. Financial Services had zero major injuries. The major injuries reported in the Branded Products and Commercial Products divisions mainly related to slip/ trip injuries, vehicle accidents and injuries sustained while operating machinery.


Regrettably there were 11 fatalities: two security officers were killed in the line of duty, five employees in vehicle accidents, two due to workplace incidents and two personal circumstances. Our sincere condolences are extended to their families.

There was a detailed investigation following every incident. The appropriate remedial action, which might include additional measures to further strengthen processes, was taken.

Toolbox talks also address behaviour and preventative measures.

90 181 employees and
51 308 contractors were trained
on health and safety standards

Learning and development

The Group endeavours to continuously develop the skills of its employees, specifically in the industries in which he or she operates. Established training academies not only meets internal needs but also those of the industries in which the Group operate.

Skills development spend amounted to R546m

Bidvest offered 5 596 learnerships, internships and apprenticeships. 406 of these beneficiaries were absorbed into the Group workforce post completion

PHS launched the Women in Leadership programme which is designed to develop and empower 10 high potential female managers

Protea Coin hosted, trained, and provided work experience for 619 unemployed youth, of which 234 were disabled

Noonan rolled out an ESOL (English to Speakers of Other languages) programme in Ireland to support employees who can speak English well but could do with support for their written skills

As a corporate, we fully embrace our role and responsibility in addressing the unacceptably high youth unemployment in SA. We therefore invest in government and industry lead skills programmes in addition to our own. An increasing number of Bidvest businesses are participating in the YES programme which was launched by the Presidency a few years ago and at Group level, we are involved in several programmes detailed alongside.

Executive programme

Bidvest also has an executive programme that is available to the Group Exco as well as the divisional CFOs. The purpose of the programme is to provide support and guidance to the Exco members on a very holistic basis that covers both personal and professional aspects of their lives. The programme is by no means academic but completely customised to suit the specific needs of the individual.

Group projects

Umthombo Tertiary Bursaries

The foundation supports students from rural areas who are studying toward a medical qualification specializing in, among other, medicine, optometry, pharmacy and speech therapy. Bidvest is currently funding 10 students and have committed to taking on an additional five students in the new financial year. The objective of the programme is to provide the necessary support to students during their tertiary education years with the aim to return to the communities from which they come and where there is a shortage of skills in this field. These students are predominantly from rural areas across the country.

WOZA Matrics Bursary Programme

The programme, borne out of the COVID-19 period, supports 15 students with fully paid bursaries as well as the ancillary costs associated with university education. The students are performing well and have excelled with five achieving distinctions in their first year. The students have chosen various fields of study, including among other Economics and Statistics, Engineering, Medicine, Accounting, Maths and Science, Governance and Political Transformation.

Bidvest/SAICA Internship Programme

This programme, initiated in March 2022, will be rolled out formally in the new financial year. Bidvest has partnered with the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) on this initiative and will deploy 12 interns across the Group where they will gain work and practical experience in the workplace. The programme runs over 12 months and is aligned to a structured programme jointly designed by both the business and SAICA.

Bidvest ALICE Technology Internship Programme

This programme was initially launched in partnership with Microsoft and subsequently continued with BDO. The second phase of the programme is currently underway. Permanent employment was secured by the majority of the students who were on this internship programme. The ALICE team absorbed three interns into their business, eight interns enrolled on a six-month contract with Bidvest Bank and six have been offered permanent positions at the end of the contract. Ten interns were taken on by the Microsoft App Factory program, one intern was offered a permanent position at an auditing firm and two interns took up permanent employment with other companies outside of Bidvest. This programme has benefited our businesses well especially with the shortage and loss of skills in this sector.

Bidvest and Black Management Forum (BMF)

Women’s Empowerment Desk

During the year we partnered with BMF in a sponsorship agreement for three years to support and roll-out the newly established Women’s Empowerment Desk. The objective of this programme is to provide its female members with a platform to build a community of informed and empowered leaders and to make a meaningful contribution in transforming corporate SA.

In addition, Bidvest gains access to the BMF’s database of female members from which to source and access talent.

Bidvest Education Trust

The Bidvest Education Trust (BET) was established in 2003. It is aimed at children of Bidvest employees that fall within a certain income bracket. The scope was expanded in 2019 to also include tertiary bursaries. Whilst the programme has run very successfully for many years, we have slightly adapted the rules of the Trust to be more inclusive and to serve as educational assistance for employees.

715 beneficiaries from the bursary programme across the various grades and 4 tertiary education students

In 2019 we extended the Trust to incorporate the funding of bursaries for top performing students. This year, we opened this category to all students who qualify for university or similar entrance. We currently have 41 students in matric and are hopeful that at least half of them meet university/similar entrance requirements.

The plan is to also increase and expand the support given to children on the programme in an effort to assist them in improving their academic results. The approach is holistic and covers all aspects related to and impacting the child’s academic performance. The need to work more closely and inclusively with the parents has become very evident.

Procuring local

The Group is increasing its support of local businesses in their growth aspirations. Excellent progress was made in directing spend to black-owned suppliers, across all categories.

74% of Bidvest’s local procurement spend was with suppliers holding a B-BBEE Level 4 and better rating

Focus during the year was on engaging with non-compliant suppliers to assess their plans to achieve acceptable levels of compliance. Alternative suppliers with stronger B-BBEE credential, as far as possible, are sourced if there is no commitment made by current suppliers. Most supplier onboarding processes across our businesses now require suppliers to be BEE compliant before being registered.

Invested R100m in 285 beneficiaries through Enterprise Development programmes. Some beneficiaries were able to graduate to suppliers

Bidvest Supplier Diversity Programme

We are very pleased to report that this exciting initiative has started and, based on positive feedback from some of the programme participants, we are accelerating the roll-out of all planned initiatives, for each of the 47 participants.

All participants have embarked on their development journey and have development plans in place that have been customised to provide the necessary support and development required to help them scale and be ready to access opportunities beyond the businesses that nominated them. Ten participants, based on their size and ability to scale into large businesses, have started their training with Wits Business School, on a customized Entrepreneurial Masterclass Certificate programme, which will continue over the next nine months.

Socio-economic spend

In the financial year ended 30 June 2022, the Group spent R70 million on socio-economic development projects.

Socio-economic spend

In line with our decentralised model, businesses invest in projects at business unit level which often centre around the local communities within which they operate.

In addition, at Group level, we invest in larger, more strategic projects which are aligned to the broader needs of the country.

In the aftermath of the disastrous KwaZulu-Natal floods during April 2022, the Group established a R10m fund to provide assistance:

Distributed 60 000 litres of drinking water to our people in the region;

Assisted employees with daily essentials, including food hampers; and

R10 000 to each employee who suffered structural damage to their homes.

Protea Coin is involved throughout the country at more than 45 disadvantaged communities, using sports as a tool to create social cohesion, supporting approximately 456 soccer teams, 143 netball teams, 6 cricket teams, 2 rugby teams and more than 19 art groups

UDS’s pioneering drones

UAV and Drone Solutions (UDS) is a leader in intelligent surveillance solutions. The company’s teams are deployed in environments where safety and security are paramount and specialise in providing aerial security surveillance. UDS also provides survey and inspection services for various industries.

The UDS-trained flight crew detect and deter criminal activity by communicating with and guiding ground security to ensure accurate information gathering and effective arrests. Improved situational awareness, through drone surveillance, assists in apprehending criminals and also serves to protect the security teams on the ground.

UDS has soared to new heights this year, both financially and operationally. Measured by flight time, distances covered by air, number of pilots employed, and the registered aircraft operated by the division, UDS has exceeded all drone operations internationally, both civil and military.

The drones and technology are complex with licenced pilots employed to operate them in the field. On the recruitment front, UDS is leading the way on employing female pilots. More than 30 women were among the 150+ pilots recruited over the past seven months into the sponsored cadet training programme. Most of the female cadets have excelled with some already promoted into leadership positions. The cadet programme was launched in January 2020 to provide young B-BBEE candidates the opportunity to obtain their Remote Pilot License and enter the aviation industry.

The company offers a UDS bursary programme and, last year, six candidates were selected and their 2021 tertiary education fees were paid in full.

USD boasts an excellent safety record with fewer than 0.3 incidents/accidents per 100 flying hours. It averages 8 500 flying hours per month, the majority of its rivals have not reached this figure in total.

Drones and drone-related technology are increasingly important tools used to improve security and provide client peace of mind. One interesting UDS project is the monitoring of the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (“RBCT”) rail link between mines and the port. The purpose is to, in real time, monitor and deter pilferage and damage to the approximately 500km rail line to improve utilisation and efficiency that will ultimately drive greater commodity export volumes.

Monitoring vessels awaiting harbour clearance is another important part of the portfolio of UDS operations. The drones’ aerial view enables the UDS team to identify any weak areas that could potentially result in fuel or chemical spillages, thus proactively preventing environmentally damaging incidents.

UDS has an established support infrastructure and can deploy numerous teams at short notice. Its infrastructure extends to 24-7 flight support, spare aircraft and crew, as well as a nationwide footprint, all of which ensures UDS is ready to adapt to the constantly changing security environment.


Berzacks helps re-energise South Africa’s textile sector

Berzacks, which forms part of the Bidvest Commercial Products division, is a supply partner to The Foschini Group (TFG), one of the leading retail groups in SA. More recently it has become the country’s largest clothing manufacturer with more than 4 000 employees. Berzacks is the supplier of choice and provided core equipment, infrastructure and technical expertise through its collaboration with Turkish and Japanese based brand principals in an effort to kick-start the country’s garment manufacturing sector.

The partnership started with Berzacks equipping TFG factories with sewing and cutting machines. Their Prestige Clothing Factories are located in Caledon, Epping and Maitland in the Western Cape, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, with the most recently commissioned plant now operating in Johannesburg.

Over the years, Berzacks has become more than a supplier and is fully supporting TFG’s vision to transform, grow and localise the manufacturing sector. With the sector decimated over recent years, it is encouraging to see companies committed to breathing new life into the sector.

What has made the latest Prestige Clothing Factory of particular interest is the fact that it has a 98% hearing-impaired workforce at the Johannesburg facility, which has been built on a Berzacks’ property. Four admin staff are the only hearing employees.

The Berzacks team says it has been very humbling to be a part of the project, where they are interacting daily with the hearing-impaired employees. The factory is fascinating in its implementation and operation, as it is equipped with more than the usual amount of visual monitors and aids that guide the hearing-impaired employees as they work.

Plumblink empowers emerging plumbers

Demonstrating its commitment to the transformation of the South African plumbing industry, Plumblink’s Enterprise Development Programme is helping empower more than 40 emerging plumbers.

The programme is in its first year and is facilitated by the Tshwane University of Technology’s (“TuT”) Centre for Entrepreneurship Development. Partnering with TuT made perfect sense, as TUT has an impressive track record for incubating successful Black owned small, medium, and micro enterprises (“SMMEs “).

It is through this initiative that Plumblink is illustrating its dedication to transformation and equipping entrepreneurs with essential business management skills.

The programme includes a mixture of plumbing entrepreneurs from both established businesses and start-ups. Some business have been trading for Plumblink for a few years, while others are just starting up. The age group is mixed and includes both male and female plumbers. Notably, many of the SMMEs are owned by women who are determined to succeed and make their mark in the plumbing industry.

With help of skilled and experienced business coaches the group of emerging plumbers have access to a team of financial, legal and compliance experts. These services will be available to the entrepreneurs during their training and after they have completed the course.

The 40 plus entrepreneurs are talented, passionate, and keen to make a difference, not only in their areas of work, but in their larger communities.

Communities have played a key role in the success of these entrepreneurs and allowed their business to grow rapidly over the years. The plumbers play a significant role by facilitating access to reliable and safe drinking water, as well as sanitation services in disadvantaged areas.

As these businesses grow, they will also create more employment, and offer upcoming plumbers with training and skills development opportunities. This is especially so for young unemployed South Africans.