Sun International Sustainability

Socioeconomic development report


Community involvement is part of Sun International’s corporate culture. We know that when the communities within which we operate are sustainably thriving, this has a positive impact for business. Between 2010 and 2013 our contributions to our communities were just under R250 million in total – R75 million was from our almost 2% NPAT and over R165 million from contributions through our various Community Development Trusts which are direct shareholders in many of our operations. We believe that we are making a significant impact in the areas within which we operate.

We have however not always told these stories as well as we could have. In addition, our units each generally have specific casino licence conditions that require them to channel their socioeconomic developments individually, thereby creating fragmented projects. We have this year appointed a Group Socioeconomic Development Manager to assist in coordinating the Group’s efforts and ensuring that the projects we invest in make a meaningful difference to all of our stakeholders.

SunTouch houses the Group’s revised socioeconomic development (SED) philosophy with a targeted mandate to create shared value for all stakeholders ranging from those in need to those that can alleviate the need.


After careful review of our SED portfolio, the Group has embraced the concept of Creating Shared Value (CSV) which is a well-researched and globally applied model that focuses on aligning business needs with society’s needs, thereby creating shared value for all and authentic sustainable community development.

CSV is measured through indicators such as literacy and levels of access to employment. Return on investment by business is measured by the lasting positive impact and self-sustaining structure delivered by CSV programmes. As a catalyst for change, CSV enables likeminded entities to work together for the greater good. Collaboration is a key driver and resources are shared, thus the impact stretches much further and this impact is measurable and far more sustainable. We believe that we can make a difference in society by collaborating with other major role players to deliver on the objectives of our identified areas of focus. Stakeholders will include public and private sector and public benefit organisations and the communities we operate in.

Our CSV programmes will continue to be based on fundamental principles that are in line with the Group’s strategic objectives and aimed at the country’s overall developmental objectives. We will be undertaking flagship projects across the Group while at the same time implementing specific local programmes that address the local community needs around our units.

Our CSV projects will primarily be directed at causes that fundamentally advance the lives of beneficiaries, affording them access to the country’s economy. Our focus therefore in the coming year centres around the critical need of education. Educated and qualified communities around our businesses not only uplift themselves, but also provide the pools of local and employable individuals we need moving them from being beneficiaries to ultimately being Sun International employees and shareholders.

Going forward, our focus will be on aligning our CSV endeavours to our core business by creating an external talent pipeline that addresses key critical skills needed by business near business, therefore helping Sun International lower its labour costs by having access to a qualified, local workforce while simultaneously advancing the communities we work in.


Our first CSV project is related to education and entails the creation of hospitality and tourism classrooms in our surrounding community schools. Why is this CSV?

  • The need for this project arose out of a business need due to the shortage of qualified chefs and hoteliers both in the country and the Group, and accordingly we believe that we need to start identifying and training learners as early on as high school. This shortage of skilled staff is also a key driver in propelling us forward to initiate the first Gambling Academy in the country that will provide employees within the gambling industry with a tertiary degree or diploma in gaming.
  • We will then select the top learners from each of the schools that we support and provide them with bursaries for tertiary education in hospitality and tourism.
  • We will commit to providing them with practical training during their studies and will take the top graduates into our business as interns, thereby ensuring that the investment made at high school level realises benefits for our beneficiaries by affording them jobs. The Group benefits by ensuring that learners have the best possible training before they join the Group, which meets the business requirement.
  • We will harness the power of collaboration in making this project successful and we have already engaged with other corporates that can contribute meaningfully to the project and with whom we may have existing relationships, thereby reducing the costs of each classroom which preserves some of the available SED spend for the next classroom instead of equipping the classrooms from one place. For example, the appliances for the classrooms will be either donated or discounted through a Group service provider. The funds that we would have spent on the required stoves and fridges for the home economics classroom can now be spent on renovating a second classroom.
  • Collaboration with government – by ensuring that we have engaged with the office of the Minister of Education, we have received the commitment that these classrooms will have the necessary teachers in place to provide the education. Our engagements with the Department of Public Works has also assisted in ensuring that the building of these classrooms will be conducted expediently. Our engagement with the Department of Correctional Services has afforded us the use of inmate labour for the actual renovating of classrooms which comes at no cost and assists in transferring skills to inmates who could possibly use these skills once released from incarceration.
  • Our proactive engagement with the relevant communities has brought with it full community support and contributions and will help make these schools safer.
  • We will focus also on empowering and training the educators for these classrooms as we believe that these teachers are vital in ensuring the success of those whom they are responsible for.

This is but one example of our CSV in action and we hope to be able to implement many more such projects during the forthcoming year.


In the year under review, the Group’s total SED spend amounted to R21 264 609. The Group’s SED focus has traditionally been targeted at four pillars as indicated below together with the 2014 spend percentage in each of the four pillars. This contribution to our communities was focused as follows:

In the previous year, the Group’s focus was mainly on education although this year, in consideration of community needs, the focus in 2014 shifted to health and welfare which includes causes related to HIV/Aids.

Socioeconomic development spend  

%   2014   2013  
Community development   15   14  
Education   38.6   53  
Health and Welfare, including HIV/Aids   33.6   25  
Other   3.7   4  
Sports, Arts and Culture   9.1   4  

The Group’s SED spend is verified by Group Internal Audit and by our provincial gambling boards. Management also reports on its SED initiatives and the associated impact analysis to the Group’s social and ethics committee.

Examples of our SED projects in each of our target areas include:

Bursaries   Sun International contributed R4 328 123 towards bursaries for students studying an array of subjects from hospitality and nursing to engineering from around the country in communities around our business.  
Themba Mzize Primary school   The Wild Coast bought and installed five new prefabricated classrooms for a school in Bizana at a cost of R803 321.  
LIV Village   Sibaya Casino contributed R1 071 351 towards the construction of a sustainable early learning school called Lungisa Indlela at LIV Village.  
Health and welfare, including HIV/Aids  
Reach for a Dream   We continue to afford children with life-threatening diseases opportunities and experiences that are likely their last. This financial year we contributed R195 000.  
Abalindi Welfare Society   Sibaya renovated the male ward and completely redid the toilets of this community centre for an amount of R714 944.  
SHAWCO   This student-run NGO at the University of Cape Town has been in existence since 1943, providing communities with basic healthcare services. GrandWest injected a further R1 676 000 into the project.  
Sports, arts and culture  
Carnival City’s Sports Festival Games   Carnival City has joined forces with Black Child It’s Possible for the annual Carnival City Sports Festival Games to help focus mass participation, promote skills development and early childhood development at a cost of R350 000.  
Sun City charity cycling club   Sun City bought and donated cycling gear including bikes in the amount of R544 440. All the gear was donated to community members from around the business.  
Community development  
Reakgona Disability Centre   Meropa purchased and installed a new fence for the centre at a cost of R309 911.  
Monitoring and evaluatiNG our SED impact

A number of our properties instituted monitoring and evaluation of major SED projects to measure the impact our initiatives have on the communities that we serve.

These external monitoring and evaluation practices now form part of the Group’s national education project going forward. We are implementing a process that will monitor and evaluate the performance of learners in classrooms we renovate, to accurately measure the impact that an improved learning environment will have on learners.

Employee Volunteerism in SED

Staff volunteerism at Sun International forms part of our culture. At units like Sun City, staff helped build decent homes for deserving families, and at the Boardwalk, the renovations and upgrading of a retirement home were undertaken by members of staff. Employees at all levels assisted the Group to act as a responsible corporate citizen. The Chief Executive has committed in the year under review that employee contributions from the resurrected employee payroll giving plan should be matched by the Group, and accordingly we are anticipating a very successful employee volunteerism plan to compliment our various initiatives.

In-kind donations

Sun International makes in-kind donations to a variety of beneficiaries including clinics, schools, home-based care givers and correctional centres. The in-kind donations are as varied as bedroom linen to kitchen utensils and furniture. Some of our most significant projects make use of in-kind donations, for example sheets donated to correctional centres which are turned into school shirts that are subsequently donated to underprivileged learners. Furthermore, on occasion, our units give space to local artists to sell their creations to international guests.


We continue in our endeavours as a responsible corporate citizen and we believe that we are required to contribute meaningfully to our communities as this is where our staff live, our guests originate from and within which we conduct our business. It is imperative for business to address the needs of its communities and by adopting the Creation of Shared Value, we believe that if we are assisting our communities and as a dual purpose addressing a business need, the true value of SED will be realised for all stakeholders.