Corporate social investment report
Our retail brands and manufacturing businesses support the Group's commitment to working towards achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals ("SDGs") in order to realise a better and more sustainable future for all. The Company has designed an inclusive Environment, Social and Governance ("ESG") strategy, focusing on our commitment to addressing ESG matters in all aspects of our business.
Our Socio-Economic Development ("SED") projects are aligned to the Group's purpose and mission, Company strategy and material issues, and are a combination of structured strategic and ad hoc projects that arise from community needs in the areas in which we conduct our business. The common thread is to achieve shared value for the Group and the communities in which we operate. Most of our projects fall within the spheres of education, sports and environment and are centred on a number of the priority areas listed in the National Development Plan ("NDP"). These include providing quality basic education, creating decent employment and a skilled workforce to support inclusive sustainable economic growth – particularly in areas of socio-economic difficulties where many of our factories and stores are situated - protecting our environmental resources, building social cohesion and contributing to food security.
Ceramic is cognisant of the collective challenges our nation faces and is intentional in its approach to create meaningful and sustainable interventions that promote the social and economic development of previously disadvantaged individuals. In our endeavours to support and actively participate in our local communities, we have established strong partnerships with community organisations, youth and women's groups, schools and higher institutions, municipalities, and SMMEs. All SED projects have had a direct impact on black beneficiaries from disadvantaged communities. Ceramic's education activations are aligned with the NDP through our established relationship with the Gauteng Department of Education and Youth Development's Strategic Partnerships Department. Ceramic is in the process of preparing a memorandum of understanding with the department aimed at ensuring continued alignment to achieving the goal to grow Gauteng together by 2030.
The activations embarked on over the past year are outlined below.
Ceramic Industries TRAC Physical Science and Mathematics Programme
TRAC South Africa is the national, non-profit Mathematics and Physical Science intervention programme of Stellenbosch University. The programme's objective is to support and uplift Mathematics and Physical Science education in South African secondary schools, and enable and inspire learners to take ownership of a successful future. The programme, which is aimed at encouraging young people to consider and prepare for careers in science, engineering and technology, has had tremendous success for TRAC's 10 partner high schools in Hammanskraal and the Vaal Triangle.
Through TRAC, Ceramic assists the schools with highly experienced facilitators who are integrated into each school. In addition to academic support, the programme ensures each matric learner is assisted with applying to three higher learning institutions, and aided with accessing bursaries as well as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme ("NSFAS"). Over the past five years, this intervention has led to more than 1 000 of the TRAC Mathematics and Science learners being admitted to higher learning institutions throughout the country, with 20 learners having been absorbed into Ceramic's apprentice programmes. In 2023, a total of 19 learners from the Hammanskraal and Vaal Triangle successfully registered at Stellenbosch University. Seventeen of these learners are from Hammanskraal. This is an increase from the 13 Hammanskraal students who enrolled at Stellenbosch University in 2022.
Hammanskraal TRAC Point performance
Both the Physical Science and Mathematics TRAC Points (schools) outperformed the Department of Basic Education ("DBE") on a national, provincial and district level in terms of pass rate percentage. Physical Science: the TRAC pass rate percentage increased by 4,2%, while that of the Tshwane North district increased by 1,7%. The TRAC average percentage maintained its over 50% level. When comparing the final results of students in Grade 11 with the results of the same students in Grade 12, it is noteworthy that the number of first-class passes (60% and above) increased from 38 to 68.
Mathematics: the TRAC pass rate improved from 70,25% in 2021 (pre-TRAC intervention) to 81,36% in 2022.
Vaal Triangle Point performance
Physical Science: three of the five schools outperformed the DBE on a national, provincial and district level in terms of pass rate percentage. Three learners obtained pass rates above 88%. The TRAC pass rate percentage increased by 17,89%, while that of the combined Sedibeng (East and West) district increased by 10,20%. The TRAC average percentage increased by 3,56%, while that of the district increased by 1,08%.
Mathematics: two of the five schools outperformed the DBE on a national, provincial and district level in terms of pass rate percentage in Mathematics. The TRAC pass rate improved from 61,40% in 2021 (pre-TRAC intervention) to 67,15% in 2022.
Ceramic's TRAC annual Maths and Science roadshows and Maths and Science Top Achiever Awards
The annual Mathematics and Physical Science roadshow is one of the most important activations executed by the Company. The programme is implemented in Hammanskraal and the Vaal Triangle and is designed to inform learners in Grades 11 and 12 about a career in science, engineering and technology and the requirements in terms of scholastic performance. The roadshow provides assurance regarding the support that is available in order to achieve good results, gain access to higher learning institutions, as well as Ceramic's apprentice programmes. Part of the programme is dedicated to exposing the learners to the opportunities available to them across the business. The roadshow affords an opportunity to engage with Ceramic's leaders from across the business units, together with the University of Stellenbosch's TRAC partners and representatives of the Department of Education. Ceramic also provided the learners with calculators and study guides.
In the year under review, Ceramic introduced the annual Top Achiever Awards ceremony to complement their TRAC programme support. The Awards recognise and honour the top learners, schools and facilitators each year. The prestigious event was held at The Forum Auditorium in Boksburg and was attended by learners, teachers, parents and representatives of the Department of Education. The prizes included laptops and portable power stations. Our future goal is to award bursaries to top achievers through our Training and Development department.
Ceramic's Uniform Equality Programme
We believe that school uniforms have the power to level the unequal socio-economic status of students and help to create an environment where the learners have a sense of belonging at school. Setlabotjha Primary School in Vereeniging and Boiketlong Primary School in the Vaal, are both situated in areas with high unemployment levels, and as a result, many parents cannot afford to purchase new uniforms for their children. Ceramic has pledged to provide all the learners of these schools with new uniforms on an annual basis. In November 2022 and February 2023, the Company handed over 1 200 sets of school uniforms to learners from the two schools.
ECD Infrastructure Project
Ceramic donates tiles to crèches close to its tile factories on an ongoing basis. Since inception of this project, tiles have been donated to more than 700 crèches and primary schools in the Vaal area. Recently, Ceramic partnered with the Sedibeng Department of Social Development to provide infrastructure development to crèches that are developing and preparing children for Grade 1. Bona Lesedi Day Care Centre in Sharpeville, Gauteng was identified as one such ECD centre that will receive assistance from Ceramic. In the year under review, playground equipment was donated, and the next goal is to provide plants and grass for the front area of the centre. The food garden that the Company donated last year has expanded and the crèche has been able to sell some produce to the community. Ceramic also donated learning materials and conducted a teacher training course at Bona Lesedi, as well as at the Vaal's Boiketlong ECD.
Read for meaning: Building Better Futures Primary School Initiative
Literacy is a crucial component of SDG 4's mission to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Recognising this, Ceramic has established a two-part Building Better Futures Primary School Initiative that aims to end illiteracy and help children from lower-income households at the ECD level to build positive futures. To work towards this, Ceramic will donate mini-libraries of English, Maths and Science textbooks to primary schools catering for Grades 1 to 7. This year Boiketlong Primary School, adjacent to Ceramic's factories and situated at the heart of an informal settlement, was the beneficiary, receiving more than 1 200 textbooks. The teachers and Principal received training from a play therapist who demonstrated how to use educational toys as part of their daily activities, reinforcing the concept that children learn from play; they were also presented with therapeutic toys to assist them to develop their learners' logic and reasoning skills. At the launch, the children were entertained by a local youth theatre group, who taught them the importance of books, the reasons for school uniforms, and why one should take care of books and one's appearance. The play also demonstrated how good discipline in school can lead to endless rewarding opportunities, through providing a fun introduction to Ceramic's work environment and the possibility of work opportunities in the learners' 'grown-up' futures.
Annual Mandela Month Ablution Dignity Project
Our business has committed to fight for the rights of South Africans to have beautiful homes, and one specific goal is to bring dignity to our communities. The annual Ablution Dignity Project is a significant one for Ceramic, because all the tiles, toilets and basins used in the project are manufactured by our factories. This year we partnered with Itirileng Primary School in Hammanskraal and revamped their bathrooms, as well as their ECD class bathrooms and playground. The final touches were added by Ceramic's employees, the school's management and community members, on Mandela Day. Samca Wall, Samca+ and Ceramic's factory shop employees, led by Samca Wall Factory Manager, Hendrikus Nel, rolled up their sleeves and made a stellar contribution. The project was warmly received by the school. In attendance at the Mandela Day activities were the Infrastructure SA team led by its head, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. In his handover speech to the Principal, our CEO reiterated the Company's commitment to assisting our local communities where possible. He emphasised the importance of schools in the advancement of our economy and encouraged Itirileng Primary School to continue safeguarding and nurturing the education and well-being of its learners.
My Green Space Campaign
In and around Ward 17 of the Vaal are numerous illegal dumping sites that pose serious health risks to residents, including children who play near these sites. Many of the sites are filled with large amounts of waste and overgrown vegetation, which makes them hiding places for criminals. Through a local cooperative, the factories in the Vaal which fall under Ward 17 have committed to support a clean-up campaign that is targeted at Sebokeng, Golden Gardens, Sebokeng Hostel and Masiza Hostel. Some of the land identified by the cooperative for the clean‑up campaign is proposed to be converted into food gardens. In October 2022, Ceramic formed part of the team that officially launched this campaign alongside the My Green Space cooperative and the local ward councillor, supported by Emfuleni Municipality. Ceramic donated materials to assist with the launch project and future campaigns, and our staff supported community members from Golden Gardens in clearing and cleaning two sites.
Ending period poverty and saving the planet
Approximately seven million menstruating students in South Africa miss school on average three to five days every month. This is caused by period poverty, which is defined as a lack of access to menstrual hygiene products or period stigma due to prejudice and ignorance. The Group has played a significant role in addressing period inequality over the years by distributing new reusable sanitary pads on an annual basis.
Ceramic has combined these efforts with a confidence-building programme for girls who have started menstruating. The programme educates them regarding menstruation from a logistical, psychosocial and emotional point of view. At this year's two-day roadshow, students from the TRAC Mathematics and Physical Science schools in the Vaal and Hammanskraal participated in a fully immersive, internationally recognised workshop with instructors who accompanied the students on their journey to menstrual empowerment. To enable the learners to rethink their period experience on their own terms, a personal writing exercise was used as the culmination of a mindfulness practice. In addition, students received care packs which included new reusable sanitary pads, sports bras, and informative material on menstrual product options available to them.
The Italtile-University of Pretoria Student Programme
2022 was the fifth successful year of collaboration between Italtile and the University of Pretoria's Marketing Department, with a student programme that involved third year students participating in a series of modules developed to test their marketing, branding and sales promotion knowledge through practical challenges - by immersing them in projects that reflect current retail trends. It was a year of readjustment as students gradually transitioned from remote learning caused by the pandemic back to the classroom. While much of the year was conducted online, the students did manage to collaborate face to face for the final challenges, which included a team project to respond to a promotional campaign brief centred around the Biophilic Design macrotrend, and to present it to the adjudicators. The board of adjudicators included Italtile's Marketing Manager and two senior creative members of her marketing team, together with the professors from the university's Marketing Department – all of whom firmly believe in the value of bringing the hands-on 'world of work' into the classroom. The competition was intense, and all students had their eye on the ultimate prize – internships at Italtile. The prizegiving event signalled the end of the programme for 2022, with prizes awarded for Best Groups (decided by Italtile), Best Groups (from the University of Pretoria's perspective), Top Student and Highest Marks. The loudest applause was for the four students who won internships at Italtile showrooms. Once again, Italtile and the University of Pretoria witnessed the rich rewards of collaboration between the world of work and the domain of academic study, and look forward to the continued journey.
The Little Optimist Boat Race
Italtile Retail has been a proud sponsor of the Little Optimist Boat Race since 2018, and we were enthusiastic to once again support the boat race in 2022. Fifty at-risk youths attended the event and enjoyed an opportunity to experience the Waterfront, the Two Oceans Aquarium and learn how to sail. The sailing competition aims to raise much needed funds for the Little Optimist Trust, which identifies key renovation projects aimed at creating safe spaces for children. By renovating or painting places of healing they strive to create a lasting positive effect on the children's lives. The Trust also provides sailing therapy, in which sailing is used as a means to facilitate mental and physical healing. The sailing experiences include environmental education, covering topics such as ocean health and water pollution.
Two years ago, Italtile Retail and ITD, the Group's import brassware business, partnered with marine biologist, Dr Sara Andreotti of Stellenbosch University, to develop the Italtile SharkWise Project. Italtile supports the Doctor's extraordinary work, helps to fund her students and raises awareness of the importance of a working ocean ecosystem. Our valued customers make a meaningful contribution when they purchase an ITD Tivoli tap, because for every Tivoli tap purchased, R2 is donated to the fund. In August 2022, Italtile handed over a cheque of R150 000 to Stellenbosch University's Department of Botany and Zoology. The donated funds helped to purchase high tech laboratory equipment and a specialised computer for data analysis, and pay for field work equipment and travel expenses.
The SharkWise Project also assisted three Masters students and two PhD students to enrol at Stellenbosch University; their projects will cover studies in environmental DNA, population genetics and shark behaviour.
Water Week activation with The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa ("WESSA")
Italtile's sustainable LiveGreen mandate has been responsible for forging partnerships with likeminded eco-conscious businesses and sustainability pioneers, and we continue to deliver on our commitment to a greener future - for our customers and the communities and environments in which Italtile operates. In this regard, Italtile was proud to partner with WESSA during their immersive learner education programme days. All of the activities were designed to contribute to National Water Week - encouraging children to put water conservation at the heart of their everyday lives - thereby collectively #AcceleratingChange (the 2023 National Water Week theme). In March 2023, together with WESSA and our marketing partners, the team spent the day with the learners of Cosmo City West Primary School, where guided by WESSA, the learners and volunteers took part in a number of activities, including a thorough clean-up of the river that runs past the school property. The groups then participated in immersive waterwise mini-tutorials that explained the concept of water wheels (for sustainable water collection and local power generation) and introduced us to water turbidity testing, which measures the clarity and sanitary quality of water. Teachers were also given pointers on how to teach about this subject in an innovative manner. All participants learnt that water is a precious, limited natural resource and that it is our duty as citizens to get involved in the protection of our rivers and water sources. In preparation for the day, the learners of Cosmo City West Primary had worked for three weeks prior, to produce an impressive and deeply moving collection of waterwise art, poetry, drama and music, that was showcased after the activities. The day's events were rounded off with a pledge; both children and team leaders made a commitment to conserve water by adjusting their daily habits in small but meaningful ways.
Arbour Week with Food and Trees
To further Italtile's LiveGreen Mandate, we partnered with the organisation Food and Trees for Arbour Week to plant indigenous and fruit trees in schools or community centres. In September 2022, a volunteer day was held at the Thoughtful Path Community Centre. The day started with a Climate Hero workshop with the 40 children who attend the Centre after school, at which they learnt about trees and their importance, how trees fit into the ecosystem, the different species in the ecosystem and how they interact with each other. The children created a spectacular showcase of their learnings and presented them to the Italtile volunteers. The day ended with 50 fruit trees being planted by the children and Italtile volunteers at the Centre's food garden to assist with improving their food security. Italtile also sponsored a similar programme at Cosmo City Junior Primary School where the learners completed a Climate Hero workshop and were assisted with planting 50 indigenous trees on the school grounds.
School shoe drive at Mofongodi Primary School
TopT strives to foster a culture of giving back to the community and supporting those in need. With a deep understanding of the barriers faced by underprivileged learners in accessing quality education, TopT embarked on a community initiative to donate school shoes to Mofongodi Primary School in Vhembe near TopT Elim and Louis Trichardt in Limpopo province. In close collaboration with the school, TopT made a meaningful difference in the children's lives by donating a total of 262 pairs of school shoes. Witnessing the joy and gratitude on the faces of these young learners served as a powerful reminder of the positive impact businesses can have when they align their corporate social responsibility programmes with their communities' needs.
Karabelo Day Care renovation project
TopT is passionate about investing in the well-being and growth of our community's youngest members. The TopT team undertook an inspiring community initiative by renovating a local child-development centre in Botshabelo, Free State. Recognising the crucial role that early childhood education plays in shaping the future, our goal was to provide a nurturing environment for the young minds in our community. Through dedicated teamwork and ashared commitment to making a difference, staff from TopT Botshabelo transformed the centre into a vibrant and stimulating space. The classrooms were refurbished with new floor and wall tiles, new ceilings, and lights, the centre was painted inside and out, and the veranda was tiled. Sharing in the children's delight as they explored their newly renovated surroundings was extremely rewarding.
Elim Annual Youth Dance Competition
TopT Elim in Limpopo proudly sponsored a local youth dance competition aimed at raising funds for primary school awards that celebrate the achievements of the best-performing students in the Elim community. Recognising the importance of education and the need to encourage academic excellence, TopT Elim wholeheartedly supported this initiative, through sponsorship that provided financial assistance and resources to ensure the success of the competition and the subsequent awards ceremony. Witnessing the remarkable talent and dedication of the young dancers was truly inspiring. Moreover, knowing that the funds raised would go towards recognising and rewarding the hard work of outstanding students further reinforced our commitment to supporting education and fostering a culture of excellence within our community.
TopT Cosmo City, TopT Spruitview and TopT Mamelodi ECD projects
Understanding the importance of providing a stimulating and cheerful environment for young children to learn in, our TopT stores in Cosmo City, Spruitview and Mamelodi initiated community projects to renovate local ECD centres. In Cosmo City, our staff repainted the local centre, creating vibrant and engaging spaces for the children, while in Spruitview and Mamelodi our staff undertook full renovations of local ECDs, which included painting, repairing ceilings and bathrooms, and tiling. The stores also purchased learning materials and educational toys for the crèches. The joy and excitement on the faces of the children when they entered their newly renovated learning environments was heartwarming.
Lupus Awareness Fun Walk in Mamelodi
Lupus is an inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues. Having tragic personal experience of the condition motivated a group of Mamelodi citizens to contact our TopT Mamelodi store in Tshwane to ask for assistance to help raise awareness of Lupus in the wider community. The staff of the store joined hands with other participants in the Lupus Awareness Fun Walk hosted by the store. Sporting our Company shirts, the team walked side by side with individuals and families affected by Lupus, showing our solidarity and support. We provided gift packs filled with healthy snacks as well as energy drinks for the 15-kilometre walk. With over 430 participants, the walk was a great way to promote awareness about Lupus but also served as a platform to connect with the local community, show our commitment to making a positive impact on those affected by this condition, and foster a sense of unity.
TopT Champions Cup
Sport plays a major role in helping to build happier, healthy and safer communities. Research shows that physical activity enhances cognitive function, improving memory, behaviour, concentration and academic achievement. Additionally, it brings people together, providing opportunities for social interaction. This encapsulates TopT's rationale for supporting sports in schools. Each year TopT hosts an annual tournament at the TopT Sports Field in Acornhoek, Mpumalanga. In March 2023, six primary and four high school teams from the neighbouring community participated in this tournament. The day was filled with exciting netball and soccer matches, motivational speeches and entertainment. Each team received a new sports kit and either soccer or netball equipment for use in their respective schools. Phendulani Secondary and Sokisi High came out tops in the high school division, each winning R15 000 to address a critical need in their respective schools. Munyamana and Sihlekisi were the winners in the primary school division, each receiving R20 000 for their schools.
Pad Dignity Drive
CTM implemented a Pad Dignity Drive project whereby it distributed 2 500 new reusable sanitary pads to girls in seven different schools close to our stores across five different provinces. The girls also received a talk on menstrual health, the reproductive system, puberty and the different menstrual products available, but most importantly, were given an opportunity to ask questions and explore the topic of menstruation and puberty in a safe non-judgemental space. The handovers were done on specific observance days such as Youth Day, Women's Day and International Day of the Girl Child, and encouraged the girls to respect their bodies, recognise what violation might look like and how to report it, and to refrain from bullying. The initiative also serves as the Group's contribution to minimising the environmental impact of disposable pads, which are often not biodegradable.
Bathroom Dignity Drive
Research confirms that the poor state of sanitation facilities in many schools nationwide is a serious problem, not only posing a health and safety risk, but often negatively impacting students' ability to learn and receive a quality education. As a leading retailer of tiles and sanitaryware, our business is passionate about restoring dignity and enhancing learning conditions through improved sanitation for schools in need. Rebongwe Primary School in Meadowlands and Itemogele Primary School in Soweto were selected as the recipients of the 2022/3 CTM Dignity Drive project. Their bathroom blocks were fully renovated, which included replacing the sanitaryware and lighting, painting and retiling the bathrooms. At both schools, the initial goal to renovate the ablution facilities was expanded to attend to other additional infrastructural needs identified by the schools, including painting and repairing the schools' learning blocks and renovating their kitchens. CTM is committed to improving sanitation and hygiene in schools, one school at a time.
World Environment Day in partnership with WESSA
CTM and WESSA partnered to celebrate World Environment Day and raise awareness of the environmental problems caused by plastic pollution. In this specific project, the WESSA team aimed to help students at Umthambeka Primary School in Tembisa to understand their role in reducing plastic pollution and the importance of protecting the environment for current and future generations.
A month prior to the event, WESSA facilitated an education session with the eco-committee (learners from various grades who were identified as environmental champions at the school as well as some teachers), providing them with background information about World Environment Day and the plastics showcase. The session centred around this year's theme 'Solutions to Plastic Pollution'. Students learnt about different types of pollution (water, air and land), microplastics, the causes and impacts of pollution, and potential solutions such as the 7Rs (rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, refurbish and rot). The students made a commendable effort to demonstrate their newfound knowledge about the harmful impacts of pollution on our environment and humans through an arts and crafts showcase. In assisting the school to manage and recycle its plastic waste, students and participants in the event collaborated to create recycling bins using plastic bottles and wire. Over 100 plastic bottles were used for each bin, and a total of 2 000 plastic bottles were collected during this initiative. These bottles will support our upcoming waste events and activities throughout the year.
CTM Champions Cup
In October 2022, CTM hosted the third annual Champions Cup at the CTM Sports Field in Thohoyandou after a two-year break due to the Covid pandemic. The aim of this tournament is to promote health and fitness among the youth and raise awareness of the availability of the CTM Sports Field for use by the community. Equally importantly, the event is centred around the opportunity for the victorious schools to win a R20 000 donation to address a critical need in their respective schools. Sixteen schools from Thohoyandou participated in this year's tournament. Participants from all schools received new sports kits, shoes and related equipment. Mulamuli Primary School (netball) and Tshidumbi Primary School (soccer) were the overall winners on the day.
CTM and Ceramic Industries are proud supporters of the fight against rhino poaching and have partnered with the organisation Stop Rhino Poaching, to protect rhinos in South Africa. In demonstrating our commitment to rhino conservation, for every box of selected Kilimanjaro tiles, R5 is donated to Stop Rhino Poaching. Over R4 million has been donated to the organisation since the inception of the partnership. Stop Rhino Poaching has channelled the funds donated by CTM and Ceramic Industries to specialised training courses, purchasing operational equipment; providing specialised psychological support for anti-poaching rangers; buying top quality tactical trauma kits for rangers in hot spots; and up-skilling rangers who are at the front lines of the fight against poaching every day.
National Sea Rescue Institute
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is a voluntary non-profit organisation in South Africa whose mission is to save lives through drowning prevention. The NSRI relies on the support of donors, partners and sponsors to educate and empower children and adults through its water safety programme, survival swimming and lifeguard initiatives. The Group has supported the NSRI for over 10 years and has been a Platinum Partner since 2014. Through its annual contributions, Italtile has assisted the NSRI with rebuilding and equipping several bases around the country and donated materials for the renovation of others.