Corporate Social Investment
Our Corporate Social Investment Programme
We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world with abundant natural resources and rich culture, yet it is also a country with glaring social and economic inequalities.
As a responsible corporate citizen and one of the leading law firms in the country, Webber Wentzel takes its responsibility to contribute towards improving the lives of individuals and communities in South Africa seriously. As such, we have accepted the challenge of operating our business in a way that promotes social, environmental and economic sustainability.
Our Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Programme is linked closely to the work of our Pro Bono Practice. Our approach in making social investments is based on entering partnerships with recipient organizations with the aim of achieving measurable and sustainable impact.
As a principle we endeavour to provide appropriate support within our means and limit ad hoc donations.
We support initiatives that are located in close proximity to our offices in Gauteng and in the Western Cape, and that fall within our CSI focus areas, which include the:
- Economic participation of disadvantaged individuals and communities;
- Protection of the rights of women and children; and
- Enhancement of access to, and the effectiveness of, the justice system.
Organisations and projects that we support
Webber Wentzel currently provides grants, legal support and donations to more than 10 organisations and projects.
- Shanduka Black Umbrellas provides member small medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) with a working environment and the support services to enable them to thrive. Beneficiaries are generally individuals who have a proven level of skills (e.g. an apprenticeship), but very little business experience. They are provided office space; telephones; computers with internet access; vehicles with drivers; a reliable bookkeeper service; a structured mentorship programme; and a business consultant/mentor. These benefits are extended for a maximum of three years before the emerging enterprises graduate as stand-alone businesses thereby making space for new companies.
- Wildlands Conservation Trust is working to establish the Indigenous Trees for Life Project in support of the Matjele Community Project in Soweto. The project encourages young children to grow trees in exchange for food, school supplies, bicycles and other items. In addition to caring for the environment, the sponsorship creates jobs for mentors and facilitators who help the children to grow the trees.
- The Big Issue Magazine enables willing unemployed and marginalised adults to take responsibility for their lives through a developmental employment program me.
RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN
- Baphumelele Children's Home provides a place of safety for abandoned, abused, neglected and orphaned children who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. The home was established in by Rosie Mashale in response to an increased number of children being left to fend for themselves. We have been assisting the organisation for a number of years. In 2011 we donated a car for social workers to use for the home-based care programme and to take the children to the local clinic for medical treatment. Our staff and suppliers contributed time, while the firm provided a cash donation to assist with repairs to the volunteers’ flat and support an extreme makeover of other buildings by Heart 104.9, the My School Project and NewKidz. We also acted for Baphumelele in finalising the purchase and transfer of land to expand the operations in Stellenbosch.
- Matjele Community Project is an organisation that looks after 150 children including orphans and vulnerable children, some of whom live in child headed households. Operating from Monday to Friday between 08h00 and 16h30, the organisation provides cooked meals to poverty-stricken children and food parcels to child headed households. Counselling and assistance with application for birth certificates, identity documents, and disability and child support grants are also given. We provide both financial and institutional building support to ensure the project becomes sustainable over time. Members of our staff also invested volunteer hours to assist the project relocate to a more secure location.
- Key to Success Crèche has been receiving a grant from us for over five years. During this time the crèche has moved from a shack to a suitable building. We are also providing legal assistance in the process of acquiring a lease/security of tenure from the City of Johannesburg. The lease is important as it will enable the crèche to make an application to the Department of Social Development for a subsidy.
- People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) was formed in 1979 by a group of women to provide shelter and referral services for other women who were experiencing domestic violence. POWA also undertakes initiatives that keep the issue of women’s rights, with specific focus on violence against women, on the national agenda. We have made a donation to this organisation.
- Afrika Tikkun is an international non-Governmental organisation that provides education, health and social services to children, youth and their families through centres of excellence in South African townships. The organisation’s aim is to empower communities to develop new generations of productive citizens. We have funded a number of projects including the furbishing of three Early Childhood Development (ECD) classrooms at the organisation’s Wings of Hope Centre in Diepsloot.
ACCESS TO JUSTICE
- Pilot project established by Probono.org, in association with the South African Society for Labour Law (SASLAW) and endorsed by the Judge President of the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court. The project has two aims: to assist unrepresented and indigent litigants in gaining access to justice; and to facilitate the efficient operation of the Labour Court by addressing the backlog in its case-load. We provided a cash donation toward the continuation of the project.
- Legal Welfare Community Organization (LAWCO) which runs workshops for grade 10 to 12 learners on practical aspects of the law, giving them a foundation of knowledge as well as skills to use in their day-to-day lives. The workshops are held in the Cape Town metropolitan area. We provided a cash donation toward the project.
- Law of Africa collection at the University of Pretoria’s Oliver R Tambo Law Library which houses a strong collection of the primary legal materials of African countries - that is legislation and law reports - as well as secondary legal materials, such as textbooks. The collection is of great potential use to anyone with a research interest into the law of Africa. We contributed funds toward the purchase of additional books to stock the library.
- Law 150 Towards Sustainable Justice Campaign which was launched in 2008 to celebrate 150 years of law at the University of Cape Town. Through the campaign an endowment fund was created by the university’s Law Faculty. The fund is used to support and grow the legal profession in South Africa thereby fostering democracy and the rule of law. We contribute financially toward the endowment fund.
- Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) is one of South Africa's leading policy think tanks. Its mission is to promote liberal constitutional democracy through broadening public debate, publishing and research. The HSF was founded in 1993 and has consistently promoted the liberal democratic values that informed Helen Suzman's work throughout her public life, and that she so clearly demonstrated in her devotion to public service. We provide an annual donation to the foundation.
Every year, we make an effort to reduce our impact on the environment. In 2011 we sent year-end greetings to our clients using e-cards instead of paper cards. The amount we saved by taking this approach was donated to:
- Kids Haven which provides a shelter and homes for children living on the streets; and
- Kidz2Kidz Santa Shoebox Project which is a non-profit organization that collects and distributes Christmas gifts to underprivileged children throughout South Africa.
For more information about our CSI Programme please contact Themba Mdlalose.