Zest WEG Group facilitates share ownership by two black-owned NPOs

(From left) Louis Meiring, CEO of Zest WEG Group, Nicky Hariparfad, CFO of Zest WEG Group and Juliano Vargas, logistics and operations director of Zest WEG Group. 
Image:  Zest WEG Group

The Zest WEG Group is facilitating ownership of its shares by two black-owned non-profit organisations (NPOs) – one in the education sector and one in the micro-enterprise support sector – to create a broader based, more sustainable ownership foundation for its compliance with the new BBBEE codes of goods practice.

The two NPOs, together with the company’s employees Trust, now hold 51.6% of Zest WEG Electric, the South African arm of the Zest WEG Group. The shareholding comprises 31.68% black female beneficiaries.

“Significantly, the achievement of our Level 2 BBBEE status is certainly one of the best, if not the only such one, in our market sector, and we believe this initiative breaks new ground for empowerment in South Africa. It provides a model for sustainable collaboration between business and civil society while forging a more effective implementation of the original intentions of the country’s BBBEE philosophy,” says Zest WEG Group CEO, Louis Meiring.

The Group’s previous Level 4 status was based on shareholding, skills development, supplier support and community investment, and Meiring says this is the next step in its transformation journey.

Zest WEG Group mentors apprentices, interns and trainees in various disciplines.
Image: Zest WEG Group

Skills development
Zest WEG Group provides a range of skills development resources to schools, universities and the broader community including teaching, equipment, financial aid and infrastructure. These aim to develop local talent and capacity, bringing young learners into the business and industry.

“With our double-digit growth, even through the recent downturn, our business is creating opportunities for job seekers, and we prepare them well to replenish the positions that our expansion requires,” says Juliano Vargas, Zest WEG Group’s logistics and operations director.

“We adopt and evolve leading edge manufacturing technologies, so we need to upgrade our skill levels among all employees on an ongoing basis,” he says. “WEG in Brazil shares both their technology and their skills with us; visiting WEG factory experts conduct training for our teams regularly.” Skills are developed in-house through apprenticeships, internships and mentoring in various disciplines and are sometimes also supported with study bursaries.

These processes in turn promote employment equity as potential managers and leaders can be identified and developed. The company also works hard to bring small, local suppliers into the Zest WEG Group’s value chain, by developing their capacity to deliver and to become sustainable.

“Through our involvement with small business incubators, we even select and support small enterprises before they become our suppliers,” says Vargas. “Those that progress well may earn contracts from group companies, following which we review their performance and keep track of them to ensure that they deliver good value in their services and products.”

07 Sep 2017

By Robyn Grimsley
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