The country's biggest short-term insurer, Santam, has made the first share allocations to staff from the Santam Black Economic Empowerment Staff Trust.
The Staff Trust forms part of Santam's Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment transaction, which acquired 10percent of Santam's issued shares at R82 per share in May.
Ian Kirk, the chief executive director of Santam, said though a lot has been done in the country over the years to meet the objectives of empowerment, economic inequalities are still deeply embedded in South African societies.
Kirk said: "We are delighted that our staff is the first to experience the real benefit from the overall Santam initiative. As Santam shareholders, staff will directly participate in the success of the Santam business.
He said: "The staff scheme aims to create an ownership initiative for all qualifying black staff in order for staff to understand and participate in an ownership process. It also aims to establish a continuous mechanism for the recruitment and retention of targeted black employees, in order to ensure significant longer-term organisational performance improvements."
Kirk said the short-term insurer has done the empowerment deal because "we believe it will be good for Santam".
He said: "Successful transformation will make for a much stronger, more competitive Santam and that will be good for all of us.
"It will also enable us to participate and contribute in the South African economy. If you consider the environment we are part of and our future client base it is important for the long-term growth and profitability of Santam that we focus on transformation."
Kirk added: "We need to position ourselves as a company that attracts a diversity of staff and as a brand which a diversity of clients want to be associated with. Our transformation efforts are aimed at securing the future of all Santammers."
Besides the Staff Trust, which makes up 26percent, Santam's empowerment transaction also includes two more trusts - the Business Partners Trust at 49 percent - which will include black brokers and strategic business partners; and the Community Trust at 25 percent, which will focus on specific community projects.
Santam will now focus on allocations to the participants of the Business Partners Trust and Community Trust, which will be made during the first half of next year. - I-Net Bridge