Partners in Business and Society
Partnering to create businesses that embrace nation-building.
When selecting an equity partner to broaden black participation in its Downstream activities in South Africa, Shell reinforced its long-standing business relationship with Thebe Investment Corporation, a company which was built on the premise of building communities through a sustainable business. As a 28% holder of Shell Downstream South Africa’s equity, Thebe has been a natural partner in furthering the concept of nation-building.
It was in 1992, a few years before South Africa took its first steps into a democracy, that Thebe Investment Corporation was founded. Today, Thebe is one of South Africa’s most iconic black investment companies with highly focused investments aimed at delivering maximum value for shareholders and which seeks out exceptional growth opportunities in two portfolio pillars – Energy and Resources and Services.
By 2002 - recalls Sizwe Mncwango, the CEO of Thebe Investment Corporation - Shell and Thebe established a strong working relationship. It was a partnership that was real; There was credibility, trust, similar values, integrity and a shared ethos between the two entities.
"No matter how far a stream flows, it never forgets its source."
It is with this proverb firmly in mind that Vusi Khanyile, then Executive Chairman of Thebe Investment Corporation, announced the investment credo of a new type of company - one dedicated to participating in mainstream businesses and helping black capital break into crucial economic sectors, while building communities.
Thebe Foundation gives life to Thebe Investment Corporation’s objective of building communities. The heart and soul of the group, the Foundation operates independently, but in liaison with the Group. From its inception, the Foundation adopted a new approach to social investment focusing on:
- Numeracy and Literacy in schools
- Scholarship programmes for university students
- Small Business Enrichment Programme
Shell and Thebe’s mutual commitment to contributing to meaningful change, especially in communities, further enhanced their relationship. They have partnered in delivering a Grade R programme in 16 Mpumalanga schools which promotes numeracy and literacy. The programme includes providing teacher support, book donations and the creation of libraries.
Shell and Thebe have also participated as sponsors to the University of Johannesburg’s Small Business Enrichment programme which focuses on developing SME’s into the formal business sector.