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PPC cementing change through its internal housing initiative

The South African constitution grants every single person in the country the right to housing. However, with the current economic conditions and an ever-growing waiting list for the Government’s Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) houses, it has become increasingly difficult for South Africans to own decent homes.

PPC Ltd, a pioneer in the southern African cement and infrastructure development industry, driven by its Kambuku philosophy, which is the company’s ‘way of life’ that creates a healthy, rewarding and satisfying working environment in which every employee has opportunities to contribute to the success of the organisation and their own development, and be recognised for excellence. Kambuku is a Tsonga word meaning great tusker, referring to an elephant bull whose characteristics of tenacity and loyalty which sums up PPC’s value-based management philosophy.

It is through what this philosophy stands for that last year, PPC’s CEO, Ketso Gordhan, initiated a process to assess the effectiveness of the Kambuku initiatives during which he and senior managers engaged in conversations across the business. Discussions were held with over 3 000 employees across all levels and at all PPC facilities

It was during these engagements that some employees communicated their lack of affordability for decent houses. PPC has implemented an initiative which will see over 300 of their employees, mainly semi – skilled and who do not qualify for either a state-funded RDP house or for a bank loan, acquire a decent house. This initiative will run over the next 3 to 4 years. The cement will also offer these employees the necessary training and the technological know-how to successfully transact for their new homes and maintain them.

“Last year, through our employee housing support initiative, we committed to help some of our employees who communicated their need for decent housing to become home owners,” said Yogesh Narsing, an executive for special projects from PPC.

Narsing is resolute that the main difference between this initiative and other prior industry initiatives is that PPC will make sure that the employee receives all the training necessary to successfully manage and maintain their new home.

“This initiative supports one of our strategic pillars - to be a responsible corporate and it will not only see us supply the means to acquire decent housing to our employees, but also give them training and the technological know-how to successfully transact for their new homes and maintain them,” said Narsing.

“We try to create a great working environment for our employees at PPC and from our feedback from them I believe we have achieved that. This is also reflected in the wide range of strengths of our people, our products and our services. The company has grown its footprint in southern Africa and remains committed to a standard of excellence in all its dealings and to ensuring added value for all its stakeholders. For elephants, sustainable competitive advantage lies in size. For PPC, it rests in its people,” said Narsing.

The first of the new homes, whose owner, Edward Ringani, retired after more than 35 years of service to PPC, has been completed in his ancestral home of Mmapela, Mokopane, in Limpopo. Four more houses will follow in quick succession.

“I would like to thank Ketso Gordhan for helping me and my family to finally become home owners and for him and his team to come all this way today. I have been working for PPC for many years and it has been a phenomenal experience,” said Ringani.

Ringani attempted to build his house in Mmapela, since 1984 in poor conditions by manufacturing his own bricks and building himself over weekends.  His house was built, with no foundation and not suitable living conditions, in 1995.

“I believe that a happy employee is a loyal and productive one. This employee housing support initiative is just one aspect of how PPC cares for its people and PPC remains committed to ensure that as an organisation we go beyond the cement bag,” said Narsing.

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