Corporate social responsibility report

Growthpoint has committed to supporting the national effort to limit the impact of Covid-19. We have intensified our humanitarian initiatives in the face of the consequences of the pandemic, in spite of the negative effect on our own business.

Corporate social investment

Growthpoint's outlook towards corporate social responsibility has always been to focus on driving sustainable impact for the communities in which we operate. Our core focus areas have consistently been supporting education initiatives, entrepreneurship development and staff engagement. During the year under review we have not steered from our core focus areas but during Covid-19 have ensured that we enhance the support for the various initiatives.

Through our education initiatives we have always focused on providing support at each level of the educational value chain. This year we continued our support of educating early childhood development practitioners, continuing our support of bursars at Christel House, expanding our reach through Growsmart and increasing our scholarships on our Growthpoint GEMS initiatives.

Growthpoint's long-standing track record of social partnership and good citizenship stood us in excellent stead when responding to the coronavirus crisis. We were able to react rapidly, together with trusted partners and well-established, high-impact networks in communities across South Africa.

Covid-19 social solidarity response

Our Group Chief Executive Officer, South Africa Chief Executive Officer and Group Financial Director each pledged one-third of their salary for three months to the Solidarity Fund created to assist in curbing the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa. The Chairman of Growthpoint and several Non-executive Directors each donated a third of their quarterly Board meeting fees to the Solidarity Fund. The Solidarity Fund is a powerful example of the generosity, compassion and patriotism shown by South Africans in this time of crisis. It is an independently administered vehicle to help the government and civil society to fund the response to the Covid-19 crisis.

As part of the Property Industry Group, Growthpoint's response to supporting those tenants who had been severely affected by the Covid-19 lockdown is detailed in our SA business report. However, it is worth noting here that Growthpoint's rental relief directly protected the jobs of those working for the recipients. By structuring relief in this way, we made a significant social impact by helping to sustain these employees and their families through the lockdown.

As a response to support small businesses in our supply chain during lockdown, Growthpoint continued to pay suppliers in full, regardless of the capacity of their service, to ensure that they could continue to pay their staff.

To minimise the risk of spreading the virus within Growthpoint's operations, the company imposed strict measures to protect employees. It invested extensively in safety and sanitation at its many properties, including shopping centres across the country which support essential retail, to safeguard the health of millions of South Africans.

Growthpoint also continued to support its CSR partners, to ensure that they could rise to the new challenges they faced.

While it is too early to understand the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Growthpoint's CSR, we are painfully aware that it will leave in its wake a greater social need and fewer resources. We acknowledge that, as a significant corporate, we need to be consistent in our support. We have long held that doing good is not only about the sentiment, but also about having the most impact. We don't believe in sacrificing CSR spend for profitability. It has, however, become abundantly clear that our HR and CSR – our people and communities – are inextricably linked and have to be viewed together.

Corporate social investment projects


For the past four financial years, Growthpoint has funded the training of early childhood centre practitioners, with the primary objective of "improving education outcomes by creating a more inclusive society". This year, we improved the alignment of our CSR strategy with the needs of ECD centres with the help of an impact assessment completed in FY19.

Christel House

Using a life-transforming educational model, Christel House educates, feeds and provides healthcare for disadvantaged children from early childhood through to early adulthood. The 30 students supported by Growthpoint started Christel House's remote learning curriculum on 1 April. While persisting through the crisis, Christel House is breaking ground with new and innovative ways of educating and supporting students.


This programme prepares school learners for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers. The 40 learners supported by Growthpoint with maths and science tutoring sessions, come from four schools deep in the rural areas of Limpopo's Vhembe district. They have shown gradual improvement since starting the programme. However, they are being held back by social challenges endemic in rural communities. A lack of technology in the schools and homes isolates learners in general, and specifically during the lockdown. This inaccessibility has highlighted that, going forward, it will be imperative to review this and our other CSI programmes in terms of incorporating technology as early as possible.

Education Africa

Growthpoint assists Education Africa to educate, equip and empower people by providing it with office space. Dedicated to poverty alleviation through education, Education Africa was able to continue several of its initiatives during the lockdown, such as its Unisa programme in Business Focus Management.

Ntataise Lowveld Trust

Ntataise teaches and supports ECD practitioners to stimulate rural and underprivileged children. Stipends for the practitioners who are being trained were diligently paid during the lockdown and they were connected via WhatsApp to enable them to communicate.


Botshabelo helps orphaned children, underprivileged preschoolers and women through its children's homes, preschools and teacher training centres. During lockdown, teachers were provided with training modules to work on and received their stipends to assist them in providing for their families. They were also given access to technology for WhatsApp and online meetings to enable them to check on learner progress and engage with them.

Genesis SafePlace

The ongoing support for this safe place for victims of injustice, abuse and violence has helped it keep its doors open at this time of real need. In 2019, Growthpoint funded the establishment of the SafePlace set up by the Genesis Trust in the Harding community in KwaZulu-Natal. This "run-to" facility supports vulnerable residents and is a place of refuge for those who feel threatened or are in immediate danger of experiencing violence. Besides being a safe place during the lockdown, when there was a surge of gender-based violence, the NPO also provided water in rural and informal settlements and delivered food parcels to households living below the breadline, such as child-headed homes.


The acclaimed Growsmart literacy competition is our leading educational initiative. It has run for 11 years in the Western Cape in collaboration with the Western Cape Education Department, three years in Eastern Cape with the Eastern Cape Department of Education, and was introduced to Limpopo in 2020. Responding to a real need in Limpopo, Growsmart is supported by Dwarsrivier Chrome Mine and sponsored by the Boleng Trust, and now has 27 schools registered.

Unfortunately, the normal running of the competition was compromised by the Covid-19 crisis. It pivoted to including online content videos, as well as sharing competition information online and via WhatsApp. To ensure continuity, Growsmart in the Western Cape partnered with Heart FM for its literacy competitions and released an interactive workbook for learners that contained step-by-step instructions covering all Growsmart topics. A similar radio campaign will be run in the Eastern Cape from August to October 2020.

We are incredibly proud that Growsmart now has four alumni studying at university. In addition, three learners have been accepted into Grade 7 at Christel House, two are in their second year of the SAILI High School scholarship and one is in her second year on a Leisure Education Trust scholarship.


Growsmart learner Zavier Petersen has been accepted into Bishops Diocesan College on a Legacy bursary. His father, Richard Petersen, said the following:

"I would like to thank Growsmart and Growthpoint for all their assistance regarding my son's educational future. I'll be honest in saying that I am in awe of all the doors that your company has opened for my son and all the opportunities presented to him. I feel blessed to have been a part of this wonderful initiative, with positive people who have helped me through this difficult process of getting my son the best possible opportunities afforded him. We would not have reached this point without your assistance and support. Thank you for all your patience and hard work... and for helping children to reach their full potential."


GEMS is rooted in the belief that young people are the custodians of the future. By providing them with quality education and critical soft skills, we invest in their success. This flagship programme has evolved from internal programme providing financial support to lower-income staff to further their children's education to a full youth development programme encompassing academic support, psychosocial support, emotional wellness, leadership, and personal development.

The programme is built on three pillars: academic performance, leadership and personal development, and psychosocial development, and is designed to equip the learners to be well-rounded young people.

For the period under review, we allocated R4 891 470 to scholarships and development programmes for 74 learners from primary school to tertiary level. The qualifying salary limit for the parents and guardians of Growthpoint GEMS has been increased from R370 000 a year cost-to-company to R400 000 for the 2021 academic year. When the programme initially commenced in 2016, the qualifying salary limit was R300 000 a year.

The Covid-19 pandemic had a massive impact on education at all levels, including our GEMS programme. To reinforce the efforts to continue learning from home, we contracted emerging black-owned company Goodie Tutors to support students with online tutoring in key subjects, through both group and one-on-one sessions. Similar support was provided by Excel@Uni for our university students. Laptops were also given to students who did not have devices to access online learning.

We boosted all-important psychosocial support during the Covid-19 lockdown to support the mental health of these youngsters and their families, including a group session to connect with and uplift each other.


Mbali Myeni is a GEMS alumnus who joined the programme in 2016. She pursued a Diploma in Human Resource Management, and upon completion in 2019, became a graduate trainee in Growthpoint. Along her academic journey with GEMS, she was given several tools to aid her, including transport stipends, study equipment such as a laptop, access to a mentor, preparation for the world of work, and a five-year plan. At our annual leadership camps, she worked on her leadership potential, communication skills and networking, among others. She describes her GEMS journey as follows:

"The programme helped me to improve my communication and social skills with the leadership camps that we had twice a year, and that helped me to get along with people more easily. I attended classes that improved my self-esteem and made me believe that anything is possible."


G-Squared (G2) increases awareness among staff about Growthpoint's involvement in community development and encourages and enables staff volunteerism. During the period under review, our volunteered hours reached 365, with executive management actively participating. To protect our staff during the Covid-19 pandemic, all participation in organised volunteerism was halted. However, in the spirit of active citizenship and in keeping with our values, many of our people were inspired to make a difference in their own communities in various ways during the lockdown.

CSI beneficiary breakdown by province for FY20

Discretionary fund and ad hoc donations                  
   Disability learnership   8              
   Mould Empower Serve NPC   14              
   iSchool Lab       22          
   Christel House     30            
   Botshabelo   8              
   Midlands Community College         10        
   Ntataise Lowveld Trust             10    
   Protec           40      
   Tennis SA   3 8   1        
   Water polo   9              
   Squash   20              
Growsmart (Western Cape)     1 297            
Growsmart (Eastern Cape)       219          
G Squared projects                  
   Mandela Day   500 200 160 160        
   Heaven’s Gate Safe Haven   30              
   Princess Alice Home   31              
   Lambano Sanctuary   406       4      
   Father a Nation   30              
   Home visits   81 600            
Rental subsidies                  
   Field Band   2 451 523 429   743 266 739 1 359
   Education Africa   2 341 153 65          
   Scatterlings   140              
Bursaries (includes SAPOA)   9 6   1        
GEMS   35 18 3 5        
    6 116 2 835 898 177 787 276 739 1 359

Growthpoint remains committed to growing businesses and our economy to help address South Africa's societal problems of inequality and inequity. We have made a significant difference in this regard by developing sustainable small businesses through our Property Point initiative.

Despite a tough economic environment for small business growth this year, Property Point focused its efforts on driving programme expansion, making a sustainable impact and finding innovative solutions, as well as being relevant during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Among its highlights for the year, Property Point achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification for implementing quality management systems in the programme.

Property Point has three offerings that support businesses and drive youth employment creation in small and growing businesses.

The first of these is Local Economic Development (LED), an enterprise development programme for SMMEs that assists Growthpoint to develop small businesses in the communities where it is invested in retail assets. This improves the service delivery capacity and capability of small businesses in local communities and provides them with access to opportunities. It was expanded significantly this year and 148 beneficiaries gained from Growthpoint LED interventions in Kempton Park (Festival Mall), Rustenburg (Waterfall Mall) and Vaal (Vaal Mall), as well as in KwaZulu-Natal.

As the second offering, Property Point launched its "Green Economy" programme to enable small businesses to fully understand green and sustainability practices and the opportunities this represents for diversification and growth. Thirty-four businesses participated in the Green Economy programme, creating a pool of readily accessible specialist services that can be used by built environment stakeholders who enable and promote environmental transformation. We are also actively seeking to include women-owned businesses that incorporate green building and sustainability practices in their operations to the programme.

The final programme is aimed at mid-level managers, and Property Point partnered with the African Management Institute (AMI) to deliver an intensive six-month management development programme that translates training into tangible results for future leaders. There were 34 participants registered on the Property Point/AMI Middle Management Development Programme in FY20.

Entrepreneurship to the Point (ETTP) is a platform to inform, equip and inspire entrepreneurs. Building on its monthly events in Johannesburg, it expanded them to Cape Town. As part of this initiative, Property Point developed an "Impact Management and Measurement" workshop, which was piloted in West Africa and the United States. ETTP also hosted online events, reaching more people than ever, during the Covid-19 lockdown.

We planned various interventions with the view that, after lockdown, businesses would need to reposition themselves to take up market opportunities. Interventions were focused on reviewing strategies, value propositions, technological requirements and contingency planning. Property Point has made a sustainable impact between September 2008 and 30 June 2020, as follows:

Case study

The engagement with the local community of Tembisa in Ekurhuleni began after the members of the community approached centre management at Growthpoint's Festival Mall in Kempton Park. The mall serves the residents of Tembisa. Community members were disgruntled because they felt that the mall did not provide business opportunities to the Tembisa community.

Upon consultation with Property Point, an information session was held with the leadership of the local community to clarify the matter. Property Point mediated the session between entrepreneurs and the mall, while our Procurement division provided more information on the business requirements in order to work with Growthpoint.

On 4 May 2019 only four out of the 21 businesses that attended the information session provided completed pre-qualification forms with the required attachments to corroborate the information provided on the form. Despite being incredibly sceptical about the process, Zecks Mafuna, owner of Zamafuna (Pty) Ltd was the only entrepreneur to communicate with Property Point on the different aspects of the pre-qualification form.


The company had all the required compliance documents with the exception of COIDA and public liability insurance. The absence of COIDA was because of an outstanding amount due to the Department of Labour and Property Point's programme manager advised Zecks to approach the Department of Labour to make payment arrangements. He did so and negotiated payment terms and a discount. In addition, the business owner applied for public liability insurance to the amount of R1m. In response to his initiative, Property Point settled the outstanding balance with the Department of Labour, removing a hurdle for this business.

Zecks then attended a painting training workshop hosted by Promac Paints. This was organised to equip Zecks and his staff with the right skills to execute work for a private sector company. Through the Essential Group, the Zamafuna team also received specialised training on areas ranging from power tool safety and basic welding from Academy Brushware, Glue Devil, Ingco and Matus. Come October 2019, Zecks attended health and safety training and he expressed great gratitude at the opportunities provided to his business by Property Point.


Following all the interventions provided and the business coaching, Zamafuna became the first business in Tembisa to be registered under the local development initiative as a Growthpoint vendor. This resulted in the business securing a portion of the painting contract at Festival Mall and concluding the work successfully.

Broad-based black economic empowerment and transformation


Growthpoint continues to remain committed to transformation. Commitment to a cause is usually challenged during times of uncertainty and during the Covid-19 pandemic corporate commitment to socio-economic and transformation challenges has been tested. At Growthpoint, transformation is not a tick box or scorecard exercise but rather a strategic imperative underpinned by interventions to bring about real change and impact. This is evident in maintaining a level 2 B-BBEE rating on the Property Sector Charter Scorecard. As per our transformation strategy we continue to identify the gaps within the scorecard and putting in place the necessary mitigating actions to ensure that we maintain an optimal score. For the new financial year we will also embark on refreshing our transformation strategy for the next three years.