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The Eqstra group’s various divisions this year all continued to focus on sustaining targeted expenditure on training. Technical, artisanal and leadership development were particular priorities, as these are considered key to the group’s sustainability. In total, R50.1 million was spent on human resource development.

Transformation is a key executive priority for Eqstra. We are working hard to identify, recruit and develop black talent and we achieved some success in this regard. However, a great deal more needs to be done and management is acutely aware of the need to redouble its efforts to meaningfully transform the company.

Labour relations were mostly harmonious in 2013, with no divisions experiencing direct industrial action. However, industrial action by clients’ employees did impact on divisions. In the Contract Mining and Plant Rental division the volatile state of relationships between employers and labour demanded constant management attention.

Despite demanding operating conditions, we continued to invest in socio-economic development, particularly in communities with which we directly interact and in the technical skills development of black learners at selected technical schools throughout South Africa.

A study is currently being conducted on how Eqstra interacts with, in particular, its natural capital. The anticipated outcome of this study will result in greater group-wide appreciation of how we use natural capital in the creation of value and a more rigorous reporting regime on the group’s non-financial performance.

Eqstra is committed to sustainable development, recognising that operating safely and responsibly underpins our licence to operate. The Eqstra culture is shaped by six business values and six core principles, which are collectively termed “The Eqstra Way”.


Together with the vision, mission and values of the group and our business ethics policy, The Eqstra Way underpins the way in which we operate. It requires the active management, by all employees, of those sustainability issues that are material to the business. This report outlines how the group accounts for the various financial and non-financial issues and risks that drive performance.


Eqstra manages sustainability impacts and issues at a divisional level in terms of its integrated business model and strategy. At group level, accountability for sustainability rests with the social and ethics committee. Sustainability initiatives are coordinated by the executive responsible for corporate affairs.

This year, improved internal reporting processes were introduced to ensure that key non-financial issues are reported by divisional management to board level. Progress was achieved in the implementation of these processes. However, as outlined on MAXIMISE SHAREHOLDER VALUE ROE), more work is required to ensure environmental measures can be reported on.


Each employee is a custodian of the group’s business ethics policy. This guides the way in which business is done and how individuals conduct themselves. In 2012, the group revised its business ethics policy and rolled out the new policy in all divisions, supported by a summarised business ethics guideline and declaration.

Our ethics embrace fair competition, the avoidance of conflicts of interest, cultural diversity, the highest standards of health and safety and the protection of company resources. Our ethics policy is fully integrated into our governance structures, requiring reporting and monitoring at an operational level through to the social and ethics committee and the board.

The group’s focus on business ethics has been integrated into programmes offered at one of the group’s internal training facilities, the Eqstra Leadership Academy (ELA). Employees are required to be familiar with the business ethics policy and to complete and sign an employee declaration each year that they understand and are fully committed to ethical behaviour.

To underpin our policy, an anonymous 24-hour tip-offs line exists for employees wishing to report irregularities or non-compliance with the policy. The tip-offs line is administered by an external consultant and is easily accessible to all employees.

A total of 45 tip-off reports (2012: 33) were received for the year under review, with topics related to, amongst others, alleged theft, fraud, unethical behaviour and human resources concerns. Each report was duly investigated and, wherever necessary, the appropriate disciplinary action was taken, including employee dismissals.


The group aspires to create a work environment in which individuals can contribute to their full potential. To achieve this, we believe in an open and consultative management style. This has been instilled in the culture of each Eqstra division through a strong philosophy of employee engagement and individual development. The engagement process commences with an induction process for new middle and senior management, led by the CEO and senior managers, and continues with ongoing employee engagement programmes.

This interaction is mirrored within the various divisions where group strategies are shared with employees across the business. This approach encourages feedback through roadshows, quarterly awards ceremonies and structured organisational interventions, such as employee workplace forums. The ultimate goal of this process is for management to be fully in touch with what is happening on the ground and to be responsive to concerns or issues when they occur. In Fleet Management and Logistics and Industrial Equipment, the divisional CEOs meet informally with randomly-selected employees across all levels to proactively solicit any issues of concern. Feedback from these sessions is relayed through risk and sustainability champions.


The group invests significantly in the training and development of all employees. Recruiting skilled employees and training is essential to ensure client satisfaction and business performance, especially in the context of skills shortages in certain technical areas.

During the year, R50.1 million (2012: R49.7 million), was invested in employee training and development throughout the group. This equates to R6 354 per employee (2012: R6 681). Training spend was maintained notwithstanding the significant rationalisation of the Construction and Mining Equipment division and Contract Mining and Plant Rental utilising more in-house resources for training.

and Logistics
Mining and Plant Rental
  Corporate   Total  
  2013   2012   2011   2013   2012   2011   2013   2012   2011   2013   2012   2011   2013   2012   2011  
Number of employees 1 552   1 460   1 644   860   927   706   5 293   5 010   4 749   38   39   37   7 878   7 436   7 136  
Total training spend (R000) 9 499   11 752   7 552   5 589   2 177   3124   34 401   35 394   42 911   568   356   818   50 057   49 679   54 405  
Training spend per employee (R)* 6 120   8 049   4 594   6 499   2 348   4 425   6 499   7 065   9 036   2 368   9 128   22 109   6 354   6 681   7 624  

* Employees of discontinued operations included in the calculation of the training spend per employee
** Construction and Mining Equipment consolidated into Industrial Equipment and prior years re-presented

Having capable, empowered employees is of utmost importance to the group’s sustainability, especially to its ability to compete and to increasingly offer clients value-added services.

Skills development is undertaken at all levels of the organisation through various programmes focusing on:

» Leadership development
» Supervisory and generic skills development
» Artisan and technical development
» Operator development


The Eqstra Leadership Academy (ELA) is a partnership with the Wits Business School to deliver the Certificate Programme in Leadership Development (CPLD) and the Certificate Programme in Management Development (CPMD). Both programmes are accredited with the Council for Higher Education. The two leadership programmes include core modules focusing on finance and marketing, complemented by leadership modules which are aligned to the group’s specific needs.

During the year under review, 30 (2012: 26) managers and supervisors completed these programmes, of which 47% (2012: 54%) were black South Africans.


The Eqstra Technical Training Academy (ETTA) is in its fifth year of operation. It provides much-needed technical skills to all levels of employees.

During 2013, ETTA provided 264 (2012: 285) employees with apprentice training, with 75% (2012: 64%) being black South Africans. Apprentice training is a long-term commitment, as it takes four years for an employee to qualify as an artisan in a specified trade. All courses are accredited by the manufacturing sector education training authority, MerSETA.


Divisions provide operator training to relevant employees. During the year under review, training was provided to 1 765 (2012: 2 104) employees in the use of various items of industrial, mining and construction equipment.


Eqstra provides financial assistance to employees seeking to gain formal academic qualifications that are relevant to the employee’s work. During the year,
1 518 employees benefited from the programme.


Eqstra is committed to the transformation of its workforce.

The most recent evaluation of the group’s performance against the broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) scorecard was undertaken in March 2013. The group dropped from being a Level 3 to a Level 4 contributor. While all divisions scored well on employment equity, on a group basis we scored lower as divisional strengths in the various categories of employees (junior management, middle management and senior management) were diluted when consolidated on a group basis. Consequently, the group did not meet the minimum threshold to score points for employment equity. Refer to How we delivered on our strategy of the main section of the integrated annual report. The individual divisions undertake their own scorecard verifications, where appropriate, and both Industrial Equipment and Fleet Management and Logistics maintained their Level 3 contributor status.

Proposed changes to the B-BBEE codes are likely to have an impact on the group’s scorecards in 2014, particularly in the areas of employment equity and management control, where higher minimum hurdle rates for scoring points in certain categories, particularly employment equity, will be harder to achieve. The revised codes will therefore require a much more concerted focus on B-BBEE compliance across the group.


Eqstra has traditionally performed well on the ownership element of the B-BBEE codes. There were no significant changes in ownership this year and we scored 26.7% for black equity ownership, above the minimum threshold required to operate sustainably in the South African mining sector.


Particular emphasis was placed on recruiting and retaining black South Africans, notably at management level, as well as the provision of fast-tracking opportunities.

At the year-end, 86.0% of the group’s total workforce was South African (2012: 86.7%) and 42.1% of the management team black (2012: 45.4%), with 15.0% female (2012: 18.6%).


All divisional targets are aligned to employment equity criteria, as contained in the B-BBEE scorecard.

83.5% of the group’s South African workforce is black (2012: 85.3%) and 17.7% female (2012: 18.1%).

Refer to Review from the chief financial officer for a summary of the employment equity report.


To meet the Department of Trade and Industry’s targeted 70% requirement for spending with B-BBEE suppliers, including black-owned and black female-owned businesses, qualifying small enterprises and exempt micro enterprises, we have a number of initiatives in place that are linked to enterprise development.



Wherever possible, Eqstra supports enterprise development. We engage with black-empowered partners in business transactions that are mutually beneficial, with particular emphasis on continuous skills transfer to our partners and suppliers.

During the year under review, enterprise development support was implemented through a combination of:

» Preferential payment terms (15 days or less) on payments in excess of R10 million
» Training of suppliers’ buyers and operational teams
» Providing standards of certification for black suppliers
» Creating tender opportunities for black suppliers
» Mentoring expertise and skills transfer

In the Industrial Equipment division, all enterprise development initiatives were focused on providing emerging black farmers with equipment to establish or maintain farms in a sustainable manner. Approximately R3 million of equipment was donated in the Cape and Mpumalanga regions. In addition, the division also sponsored the rental of two tractors for a year at a community project in Mpumalanga.

In Contract Mining and Plant Rental, a number of enterprise development projects were undertaken by the division to the value of over half a million rand. The projects included support for a number of small businesses close to mining operations and included businesses supplying protective clothing to mine workers.

The most significant Fleet Management and Logistics enterprise development project during the year related to its QuickCab metered taxi operation, where the division made a meaningful contribution towards empowering black South Africans. The division identified QuickCab as a non-core operation that should be disposed of. Subsequent to this, Taxicab Finance (Pty) Limited was identified as a suitable organisation through which to achieve the division’s enterprise development objectives.

The division agreed to sell the vehicles of the operation to Taxicab Finance at a significantly discounted purchase price, as follows:

Net book value at date of sale   Selling price to Taxicab Finance   Enterprise development value  
R3.3 million   R1.1 million   R2.2 million  

Taxicab Finance is a 51% black women-owned business. It was established to acquire the QuickCab assets and fund franchise fees and vehicle finance to support black owner drivers to fund their entry into the metered taxi business environment. The division provided support in the form of a discounted purchase price to enable drivers, who will lease the vehicles from Taxicab Finance on a franchise model, to benefit from a reduced monthly lease charge.

In addition, Taxicab Finance will seek to ensure that Quickcab drivers are migrated to a sustainable owner driver model, on condition that they meet the qualifying criteria. Upon this criteria being met, Quickcab drivers will be able to leverage the benefit of Eqstra’s support to ensure longevity of their business franchise.


Eqstra actively contributes to social and economic development in the areas and communities in which it operates. Wherever possible, employees are sourced from local communities, particularly in recruitment programmes undertaken by Contract Mining and Plant Rental. Similarly, procurement is undertaken locally and, again wherever possible, in a manner that makes use of suppliers meeting B-BBEE requirements.

R2.3 million (2012: R2.8 million) was spent on SED initiatives during the year in two main areas:

» Eqstralution
» Social welfare


Eqstralution is the group’s programme of sustained support for learners in various South African technical and agricultural schools and Further Education and Training (FET) colleges. Total spend on Eqstralution during the financial year under review was R1.3 million (2012: R1.6 million).

Eqstralution aims to:

» Provide children from previously disadvantaged backgrounds who demonstrate an aptitude and interest in a technical or agricultural field with the opportunity to attend technical or agricultural school
» Assist identified schools to acquire the appropriate equipment and tools needed to ensure their learning environment is safe, up-todate and aligned to both industry needs and the curriculum
» Enlighten scholars and promote a positive attitude of career opportunities within these fields
» Enhance and encourage further learning and skills development by offering grade 12 graduates the opportunity to enter into an apprenticeship at our ETTA

Ten technical schools and three agricultural schools are targeted through the programme, with technical support provided to teachers and learners, as well as assistance in procuring relevant equipment and learning material.

30 apprentices were successfully placed at ETTA during 2013 from the technical schools supported by Eqstra. Of these, 77% are black.

Eqstra is aware of the need to facilitate the sustainability of the agricultural sector by partnering with business and government to meet synergistic objectives, such as transforming society by developing competent, skilled individuals equipped to be economically active by providing employment opportunities and food security in a responsible way.

Industrial Equipment has a bursary scheme in place which offers opportunities to young people in the Eastern and Western Cape who have indicated that they would like to follow a career in commercial farming. Agricultural schools currently sponsored are: Marlow Landbou-skool, Winterberg Agricultural School and Augsburg Landbou Gimnasium. Most learners come from homes that would not ordinarily be in a position to send their children to an agricultural school.

Industrial Equipment is committed to providing an additional five learners each year with bursaries to ensure that it has 25 bursary students at the respective schools in five years. Once learners matriculate, the division will consider further support for tertiary education. The ultimate aim of the programme will be to link learners with established commercial farmers where they can be mentored to acquire the necessary skills to be successful farmers in South Africa.

In addition to bursaries, the division assisted Marlow Landbouskool with equipment required to farm land linked to the school. The learners are therefore trained in a well-resourced environment with modern equipment and the school benefits from additional income generated from the use of such equipment.

Fleet Management and Logistics donated R130 000 to Rhodesfield Technical High School to fund tools for the school’s workshop.

Contract Mining and Plant Rental donated technical and electrical equipment to two technical schools to the value of R123 000.

Social welfare

Eqstra’s strategy is to give immediate support to the most needy and vulnerable. Total welfare spend during the financial year under review was R1.0 million (2012: R0.7 million).

Case study

Technical school support

The blueprint of our technical training support is Adelaide Gymnasium in the Eastern Cape. Industrial Equipment has sponsored Adelaide Gymnasium over a period of eight years by supplying much-needed equipment to the motor mechanical training section. Eqstra has also provided the school with computers, calculators and drawing equipment and sponsored the motor mechanical department’s annual budget. During this time, Eqstra’s monetary investment has been in excess of R1.3 million.

In 2012, Industrial Equipment implemented a bursary programme for five grade 10 learners who show potential to enter a technical career. Every year the division will sponsor an additional five learners until there are 15 learners in grades 10, 11 and 12 who will form part of the feeder process for apprentice programmes.

Other technical schools sponsored by Industrial Equipment include Edendale Technical High School in Pietermaritzburg, Oude Molen Academy of Science and Technology in the Western Cape and Louis Botha Technical High School in Bloemfontein.

Many of the Edendale learners attending the school come from child-headed households and often the only meal they receive is sponsored by the school. Industrial Equipment has sponsored R165 000 to improve infrastructure and facilities and to provide much-needed teacher and learner support. In 2013, the division employed its first intake of apprentices from this school at its KwaZulu-Natal branch.

2013 is the first year of implementing the bursary programme at Oude Molen, where five grade 10 learners were identified to participate in the scheme.

The learners exiting the school are of a high standard and many have been employed in the division as apprentices.


Towards the end of the reporting period, we identified anomalies in our carbon footprint disclosure. Accuracy and completeness of data was also a concern and a decision was made to ensure that all data we collate is accurate and correctly classified before making further disclosure of our direct and indirect carbon footprint. This is relevant given a possible future introduction of carbon taxes. This is receiving urgent attention.

Industrial Equipment


During the year, the division successfully managed the employee integration of Air Supreme, 600SA and Construction and Mining Equipment.

Health and safety

No major health and safety incidents were experienced during the year.

The most common chronic diseases within the division are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Smoking amongst employees decreased by 9% compared to the previous year. To address employee health-related issues, the division partners with an external provider to host workshops on health-related matters.

Safety induction training and safety toolbox talks are conducted on a monthly basis among employees in all business units. Dedicated safety personnel are appointed in each workplace to manage legal and operational safety requirements. They are also responsible for hazard identification and risk assessments, as well as for implementing corrective actions following instances of non-conformance.

Training and development

Skills development remains an ongoing challenge for the division, with a key focus area being the development of electricians, in particular black electricians. The training and development of senior and middle management is also fundamental to support the business growth of the division.

The shortage of management skills was recognised as a potential growth constraint. This is being addressed through the division’s successful leadership development programmes, where 66 internal candidates were identified for management development. The candidates participated in the division’s leadership academy, gaining qualifications in line with the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

A total of 56 employees were trained in different leadership disciplines. The division will also launch a new personal mastery programme aimed at all employees aspiring to improve themselves in their current areas of expertise. A total of 1 446 employees were exposed to an average of 10.6 hours of training, with a total of 15 388 hours of training this year.

The apprenticeship programme has 70 apprentices, with ten qualifying during the period and 48 still active and preparing for their trade tests later this year. The division continues to focus on employing female technicians. It currently employs one qualified female and another two female apprentices.

Training spend

R000 2013   2012   % change  
Training spend (ZAR) 9 499   11 752   (19.2%)  
Training spend per employee 6 120   8 049   (24.0%)  

The decrease in training spend per employee is due to the increase in employees following the acquisitions of 600SA and Air Supreme and the consolidation of Construction and Mining Equipment.


The division achieved a Level 3 B-BBEE rating in its stand-alone rating process.

Community relations

More than 80% of the division’s socio-economic spend was on technical and agricultural schools through the Eqstralution programme. Refer to How we delivered on our strategy.


Towards the end of the reporting period, we identified anomalies in our carbon footprint disclosure. Accuracy and completeness of data was also a concern and a decision was made to ensure that all data we collate is accurate and correctly classified before making further disclosure of our direct and indirect carbon footprint. This is receiving urgent attention.

Fleet Management and Logistics


Health and safety

The division ensures the following in terms of safety:

» Safety committees at all branches
» Toolbox talks held with mechanics every morning
» Fire evacuation drills held monthly
» ISO 9001 (quality system) certified and OSHAS 18001 certification in progress
» Compliance to the Occupational Health and Safety Act

Employee health and safety is addressed through compliance to the Occupational Health and Safety Act through regular audits at all the division’s operations.

On 23 March 2013, an Eqstra Flexi Logistics truck was involved in a pedestrian fatality in the Komati area of Mpumalanga. After this, Eskom embargoed all 18 of our trucks transporting coal to the Komati power station until Eqstra demonstrated how it would reduce pedestrian-related incidences in the area. The division drafted a pedestrian plan for the Komati area focusing on awareness and education, infrastructure improvement and fundraising. Eskom lifted the embargo the next day and complimented Eqstra on its swift response. It was found that our driver was not at fault.

Training and development

A total of R5.6 million was spent by the division on employee training, with 18 apprentices trained and 11 employees graduating from the Certificate Programme in Leadership Development (CPLD) and the Certificate Programme in Management Development (CPMD). Six employees graduated from adult basic education and training (ABET).

A successful mentoring and coaching programme aims to develop employees’ full potential. The mentorship programme is a formal performance indicator for employees in leadership roles.

Training spend

R000 2013   2012   % change  
Training spend (ZAR) 5 589   2 177   156.7%  
Training spend per employee 6 499   2 348   27.7%  

The increase in training spend is as a result of increased costs at the division’s training academy and the enrolment of more employees on the CPLD and CPMD programmes.


The division achieved a Level 3 B-BBEE rating in its stand-alone rating process.

Labour relations

A total of R6.5 million revenue was lost to strike action in the Commodities logistics business unit during the year due to the widespread industrial action in the transport sector that indirectly affected operations. A senior group executive was engaged to assist the drivers for at least six months following his success in the Contract Mining and Plant Rental division. The primary strategy is to transfer drivers currently provided by labour brokers into the employment of the division.

Community relations

The division will continue its support for the Rhodesfield and Pretoria Technical High Schools under the Eqstralution initiative. These two projects involve assisting the schools with their equipment needs for their workshops.

The division continues to sponsor the Clover Mama Afrika women’s project with annual sponsorship of vehicles. This is intended to give mobility to the Mamas to effectively deliver services to the community.

The division’s “Think Pedestrian” safety campaign, in partnership with the Department of Transport, was launched last year and continued in the year under review. This campaign aims to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths by increasing pedestrian awareness. Integrated into the transport infrastructure, a pilot phase of the project was implemented in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.


Towards the end of the reporting period, we identified anomalies in our carbon footprint disclosure. Accuracy and completeness of data was also a concern and a decision was made to ensure that all data we collate is accurate and correctly classified before making further disclosure of our direct and indirect carbon footprint.

This is receiving urgent attention.

Contract Mining and Plant Rental


Health and safety

Due to a continued focus on health and safety, the division’s lost-time injury frequency rate target was lower than its target for 2013 of 0.35 at a commendable 0.25. Over five million fatality-free shifts were achieved.

The main health issues in the division are HIV/AIDS, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and occupational asthma. To address these, a number of wellness programmes are in place on mine sites that are run in conjunction with clients.

Training and development

The division’s dedicated training centres are an integral part of its business and continues to make a significant contribution to the development and career growth of employees. The division comfortably exceeded its target of training 2 300 employees per month by training 2 700 employees every month.

In January 2013, 21 apprentices (2012: 23 apprentices) enrolled at Eqstra Technical Training Academy (ETTA) to start their four-year apprenticeships. Most of the apprentices are enrolled for earthmoving equipment mechanics modules, a critical skill to the division. At year-end, 181 apprentices were in training. Apprentices trained through the ETTA are now entering the workplace, with all apprentices trained employed by the division.

The MCC Learning Centre, launched in January 2011, has seen 1 512 operators undergo testing, training and refresher training during the year, with the focus on increased awareness of care and maintenance.

The division this year launched on-site basic computer courses for administrative clerks, with 60 having completed the courses.

To address the skills shortage within local communities, the division implemented:

» The training of 180 people in local communities to ensure that skills will be available when required
» The revival of bursaries, internships and learnerships to feed the talent pipeline

Training spend

R000 2013   2012   % change  
Training spend (ZAR) 34 401   35 394   (2.8%)  
Training spend per employee 6 499   7 065   (8.0%)  

The division’s training spend decreased marginally for the year as a move towards using more in-house resources for training reduced costs. Operator and technical training represents the majority of training spend (94%).


The division’s employee base consists of 11% women. This exceeded the minimum requirement of 10% set by the Department of Mineral Resources.

Labour and industrial relations

No direct industrial action occurred in the year at the division’s mine sites, although the National Union of Mineworkers was only prevented from embarking on a division-wide strike by a Labour Court ruling in favour of the division during March 2013.

In the previous year, a dedicated, senior resource was appointed to assist management to proactively address employee and community issues and to improve conditions of employment, as well as to foster harmonious employee relations. A number of important financial investments was also made during the year, including the extension of medical aid cover to all full-time employees (at a cost of R14 million) and the awarding of production bonuses and long-service awards (an additional R10 million).

Considerable energy was dedicated to strengthening relations with organised labour. At site level this included monthly communications meetings and quarterly communications meetings with regional representatives and shop stewards. This resulted in more positive perceptions towards the company among employees and unions. However, the labour relations environment, particularly at operations in the North West province, remains a material concern. We continue to engage proactively with trade union representatives and to closely monitor the situation.

Our social and labour plans address, wherever practicable, legacy socio-economic backlogs in local communities. To forge closer links with communities and to address skills shortages, this year the division provided formal training to 180 local community members to provide for skills that might be necessary in the future. Nonetheless, the periodic outbreak of sometimes violent and usually disruptive protests remains an operational and contractual risk that is mostly beyond the division’s control. The division experienced two incidents of community discord during the past year.

Below is a summary of the events and action plans undertaken to resolve the incidents of community unrest.

  Protests by the youth of Kriel, Thubelihle and surrounding farms   Job opportunities  
» A constructive meeting was held by the division’s human resources manager, the client’s socio-economic development manager and the community manager to address the issues raised
PPM (BOYTON ) – MAY 2013
» Potable water request from the community
» Mining rights dispute
» Dispute resolved and new mining operations resumed at the new pit


Towards the end of the reporting period, we identified anomalies in our carbon footprint disclosure. Accuracy and completeness of data was also a concern and a decision was made to ensure that all data we collate is accurate and correctly classified before making further disclosure of our direct and indirect carbon footprint.

This is receiving urgent attention.