SSA has made a social investment of E375 360.00 towards improving the quality of rural primary education, supporting youth in sports and enabling better access to rehabilitative healthcare in the Kingdom of Eswatini.
When presenting the donations to various beneficiaries during an event held on 26 April 2018, the SSA CEO Mr. Phil Mnisi announced that the organization, having undergone a stringent evaluation process under its Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme, found it worthy to invest in these initiatives this year. He then congratulated this year’s beneficiaries of the SSA CSI programme, namely:
- Mavalela Primary School – SSA is donating class furniture to the value of E150 000 to Mavalela Primary School in the Lubombo region. This school is situated within the sugar fields of Mavalela in Big Bend.
- Schools Essay Competition – SSA has allocated E100 000 to support the running of the competition, which is open to all Primary and High schools in Eswatini. The competition which runs until 12 June 2018 is themed “50 Years of Sugar, 50 Years of Eswatini”. Students are urged to use the opportunity to share their views on how the 50-year old journey of the sugar industry correlates with that of the Kingdom of Eswatini.
- Cheshire Homes Swaziland – A donation of E50,000.00 will go towards the organization’s fundraising drive to replace, repair and maintain healthcare equipment for the centre which provides rehabilitative health care.
- Swaziland School Sports Association (SSSA) – The Association received a sum of E45 360.00 (Forty-five thousand, three hundred and sixty Emalangeni) for the successful running of the 2018 Schools National Athletics Competition. This activity supports youth sports.
Rotary Club of Mbabane (Dental Outreach) – SSA has partnered with the Rotary Club of Mbabane to which it donated a sum of E30 000 towards the purchase of a MELAG Melatronic 23EN Autoclave, a sterilizer required to ensure reusable equipment is kept safe and clean during the implementation of the Club’s annual dental outreach for children. The outreach will this year take place in Pigg’s Peak for children in the Northern Hhohho region.
The CEO went on to highlight that whilst CSI forms an important component of SSA business, the sugar industry is currently faced with challenges that have made it impossible to support more initiatives. “It is sheer luck that SSA was even able to make this investment as sugar markets globally have taken a drastic knock, which has forced a significant drop in sugar prices. Swazi sugar now has to compete with cheaper imports in our various markets, thus we are forced to reduce our prices if we are to move our sugar. As a result, our sugar sales in the year that we have just concluded were below our target by significant margins,” he said.
He continued to say that SSA currently finds itself with high stocks of sugar, due to poor market conditions in the concluding year (characterized by huge import competition in major markets and low world market prices), yet the new production season was fast approaching. This then means that Swazi sugar must be sold at very low prices in order to move the stocks. “This is indeed the nature of the sugar market. Additionally, the strengthening of the Rand and continued cost escalation of electricity and other related expenses have not made the burden any lighter. We remain hopeful that our fortune and tides will turn” he concluded.
“We commit to ensuring that the resources contribute to the improvements of lives” – Beneficiaries
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Cheshire Homes Executive Director, Muzi Dlamini, thanked SSA for the gesture, stating that the underprivileged members of communities would most benefit from the donations. “We appreciate the picture that has been painted with regards to performance of the sugar industry, and we would like to say that we do not take this kind gesture lightly. We commit to ensuring that the resources would contribute significantly towards the improvement of lives in the various sectors”.
Ministry of Education and Training representative, Regional Education Officer Thamary Langwenya, encouraged schools across the country to participate in the Schools Essay Competition, citing it as critical in the enhancement of writing skills and overall education on the history of sugar and the country.