Continued support for Hout Bay community from the Oceana Group
For the Oceana Group, corporate social investment is not just about ticking boxes, instead it is focused on creating a tangible and sustainable difference in the lives of the people who live in the communities in which the company operates.
Since 2009, the JSE-listed fishing company has donated more than R3,6-million to assist worthy schools and community causes in Hout Bay, where the company’s fishmeal plant has been located since 1958.
“When we set up the business in Hout Bay almost 60 years ago, the town was just a small fishing village without electricity,” said Oceana CEO Francois Kuttel. “Our company along with Hout Bay has experienced tremendous growth over the last 60 years and we consider ourselves an important part of Hout Bay’s heritage and future; for this reason we continue to provide support where we identify a need.”
In support of the estimated 15 000 victims who have been left homeless after the devastating fire in Hout Bay over the weekend, Oceana has donated over 30 000 cans of Lucky Star pilchards to the approximate value of R300 000 for immediate relief.
Oceana has also made available to Thula Thula, the Lucky Star Hout Bay warehouse, for the storage and distribution of donated items.
“This tragedy has left many families within this community destitute,” comments Oceana’s CEO Francois Kuttel. “We specifically chose to donate Lucky Star cans which can be easily opened with a ring-pull as most of the victims have had all their belongings destroyed and only managed to escape with the clothes that they were wearing.”
“It is in times like this, that we witness the true heroes of the community, and the depth of our ability to come together to make a difference by supporting the affected. Our deepest respect goes to the brave fire fighters who have worked tirelessly to stop the spread of the fire while the community of Hout Bay must be commended for pulling together in this time of need. The public and local business have opened their hearts and are working diligently to co-ordinate relief measures and provide humanitarian aid for all those who are suffering,” adds Kuttel.
“Our Company has a history in Hout Bay going back more than 60 years and this community is very close to our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost family, friends and their homes in this terrible disaster.”
In June 2015, the Oceana Group donated nine Nutec homes to families in Hout Bay who were left homeless at the onset of winter after fires devastated the Cape Peninsula. These Nutec homes offered the affected families a permanent, cost-effective and fire retardant accommodation which was designed to maintain a comfortable interior in both winter and summer. Because of its long association with the people who live in Hout Bay and the Hangberg community in particular — of which many of whom still work at the factory – Oceana employees were also given the opportunity through the Oceana Foundation to donate blankets and non-perishable food items to help those who lost their worldly belongings in the fire.
Last year, an independent report by research consultancy Mthente assessed the impact of Oceana’s CSR contribution to the Hout Bay area and the Sentinel Primary School in particular. Mthente conducted face-to-face interviews with the school principal, and focus group discussions with learners, teachers and parents to quantify the impact which the donations have had on their lives.
In addition to being South Africa’s largest fishing company, Oceana is also one of the country’s most empowered organisations and has been consistently working to improve the environment at a number of schools with Hout Bay. Through Oceana’s support, the Sentinel Primary School which located in Hangberg has enjoyed a revamp both inside and outside of the classroom, with a focus on adding value to the education the pupils receive and ensuring their food security.
Over the last few years, the Oceana Foundation has paid for the painting of the school building, refurbishment of the computer room, and has donated 25 new computers, two digital Smart Boards, a branded school minibus as well as regular donations of Lucky Star products. The goodwill is not limited to Sentinel Primary; Silikamva High School which serves the Imizamo Yethu also received the keys to a new minibus in 2015.
According to the Mthente report, both parents and teachers say that Oceana has helped to improve the quality of teaching in the schools which they support, and have contributed to a more positive learning environment and secure atmosphere among learners and teachers in the community.
“We will continue to contribute where we feel that Oceana can make a difference, with a continued focus on education and food security.”
To view other Oceana Group community based initiatives, click here.