With enormous potential to better human lives, the dawn of the connected technological age has placed telecommunications companies at the foreground of the advancement of society. The onus is on companies within the 4IR value chain to take the lead in ensuring that the economic benefits are shared amongst all South Africans. One of the ways in which they can achieve this is corporate social investment. Indeed, CSI has become increasingly integral to business strategy; however, only robust, well-designed programmes are likely to bring us closer to achieving the increased economic equality that 4IR potentially holds.
One of the key intended outcomes of CSI in South Africa is securing the economic benefits for previously disadvantaged sections of our population. It achieves this through a mix of non-voluntary or compliance-driven activities, such as those needed for B-BBEE, and voluntary CSI programmes initiated by the organizations themselves. Because of the legislation around B-BBEE, activities in these areas are usually regarded as an attempt to fulfil requirements to be able to do business. Depending on the level of compliance, it can have either legal implications or implications in terms of being excluded from economic opportunities where potential partners can decline to do business because they perceive that there is a lack of commitment to transformation.
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