Board Chair’s Report
In the 2017 budget speech, alarming statistics describing South Africa’s current economic state were noted: over half of all grade five learners are unable to read adequately in any language and 75% of school leavers are left unemployed five years after entering the labour market. Looking at these figures in the context of the current 27.7% overall unemployment rate (as of the third quarter of 2017), JA South Africa’s mission remains at the heart of addressing this imperative. We provide engaging programmes in entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness that foster confident, empowered young people who become possibility seekers and creators of opportunities.
In 2017, JA South Africa adopted a strategy that:
• Prioritised brand management
• Focused on the accreditation of our core high school and out of school programmes
• Added significant value for participants through rigorous assessments and monitoring and evaluation.
We also worked on strengthening the alumni programme as an essential mechanism to ensure consistent engagement with programme beneficiaries. This will deliver value in terms of supplying a view of longer-term impact and extending the value by providing participants with access to additional resources. We are pleased to give an account on the progress made, as outlined in the sections of this report. More work, however, needs to be done. To this end, JA South Africa will endeavour to fully embrace the spirit of volunteerism and bring on board more strategic role players across diverse sectors to contribute to the economic empowerment of our youth. This year we had the honour of hosting the regional JA Africa Company of the Year Competition, from 6th to 8th December at the Gold Reef City Theme Park Conference Centre in Johannesburg. Over 40 student representatives from 11 African countries competed for the sought-after titles. We are grateful to our sponsors and partners who graced us with their presence and inspired our students.
On behalf of the board, I wish to extend my appreciation to our MD Nelly Mofokeng and her able team for the hard work they put into arranging the event, attending to the needs of the young people who arrived in Johannesburg and ensuring that all guest and partners were catered for in the best way possible. Well done! A very special thank you to our honoured guests, partners and key note speakers who graced the event with their presence and inspired us and the young people, with their key messages. By attending, and telling the story of his life, the Executive Mayor of the host city Honourable Herman Mashaba showed his commitment and support to entrepreneurship and the work of JA South Africa.
While much effort went into strengthening our Board, we sadly bid farewell to astute member Chris Lister-James, who graciously provided guidance and financial support to the organisation for eight years, through Vantage Capital. We are also excited to welcome new members Peter Crawley, CCO at Citibank SA; Mark Elliott, Division President at Mastercard South Africa and Zodwa Pakade, CEO at Manati Alternate Student Funding. I wish to thank my fellow Board members for giving of their time, providing guidance to the team and bringing their diverse input into the strategic initiatives and thinking that goes into the more effective provision of programmes to our young people to ensure that the organisation continues to play a significant role in the sector. JA Africa and JA Worldwide continue to provide dynamic programmes for young people. We appreciate their support and motivation. On behalf of the Board, I wish to express sincere gratitude to our funders and partners for their ongoing and enthusiastic support. Your commitment to the broader development of our youth through entrepreneurship is highly appreciated.