A key requirement for achieving the strategic goals and objectives of the business is a highly skilled workforce. With the availability of skilled people, particularly in the technical and engineering disciplines, being an ongoing dynamic, there is a need to ensure an appropriate pipeline of skilled people to meet future skills requirements and for succession planning purposes. Targeted recruitment and market-related remuneration practices, coupled with effective performance and talent management, and mobility across operations play an integral part in ensuring that the organisation continues to have access to a highly skilled and competent workforce at all levels.

The capability profiles of teams and individuals are continuously being assessed against the required competencies and appropriate action is taken to address any gaps that are identified. Some of the interventions include talent management processes coupled with fast tracked development, training and development, recruitment from outside and addressing succession planning gaps by ensuring an appropriate pipeline of skilled people to meet future skills requirements.

Effective skills development practices at all levels is a priority and continues to be strengthened including supervisory, management and leadership development, learnerships, in-service training, operator training, general skills development of shop floor employees and effective coaching and mentoring processes. Competency gaps and individual training and development needs are being identified and action plans developed to address these needs. Action plans are developed to address the needs of high performing and highly talented individuals, with particular emphasis on black employees in the case of South Africa.

Action plans continue to be implemented to enhance the investment in skills upliftment and to improve the recording of all training and development expenditure related to on the job training in South Africa which contributed to an increased score on the skills development element of the B-BBEE scorecard. Expenditure in 2011/12 was 3,2 percent of payroll and it is envisaged that the investment in skills development should reach five percent of payroll by 2015.



Natisha Padayachee may be one of a few roses among the thorns – she has carved a niche for herself in the male-dominated world of engineering.

Natisha was one of three women engineers recruited by the Tongaat Hulett Sugar Refinery in 1997 as part of its drive to include women at an operational level in the company. She was also one of the first women in the factory in Durban and the first female in the management team of the plant at the age of 25.

With her early Tongaat Hulett career littered with firsts, Natisha is now a committed
employee. She has completed 15 years of service at the company and hasn’t looked back since.

For further details:


In the sugar operations, managers attend leadership and management development programmes offered by Treetops, while the starch operations have formed a partnership with the Wits and Stellenbosch Business Schools to address their unique requirements of management development and supervisory training respectively. The Mozambique operations have arranged for managers to participate in the UNISA Management Development Programme. In addition to formal training and development programs, there has been a further improvement in performance management, talent management and coaching and mentoring processes and these processes have now become well entrenched in most parts of the business. This includes clear roles and responsibilities, performance reviews, performance ratings, action plans to uplift performance and the implementation of the principles contained in the reward philosophy including market related remuneration and differential rewards for high achievers and outstanding performers. Coaching skills training is done through Wits Business School and UCT Business School. Where appropriate, reasonable accommodation of work/life balance, for example in the form of flexible work arrangements, continues to be used as one of the ways to accommodate the needs of particular employees, which contributes to the retention of talent.

Appropriate organisational transformation is encouraged to facilitate Tongaat Hulett being managed as one company across all countries where functionality is based on expertise instead of hierarchy / function and the encouragement of multiskilling and multiple relationships. This transformation includes improved region wide communication and inculcating a sense of belonging amongst all employees in all operations. Task based processes and the encouragement of dynamism, decentralisation, growth, results-orientation, indigenisation, innovation and sustainability are being reinforced. In addition, an organisational climate is being nurtured to unlock the emotional energy and company commitment of employees and to assist in building Tongaat Hulett into an employer of choice.

Bursaries, scholarships, trainee programmes and learnerships continue to be sponsored by the company to assist with sourcing and developing young talent in anticipation of future skills requirements. To support these programmes, strong partnerships have been formed with select educational institutions and Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). Workplace skills plans and implementation reports are submitted to the relevant SETA on an annual basis.

Recruitment strategies include the use of psychometric assessments and web-based recruitment linked to Career Junction. Partnerships and relationships with education institutions continue to be strengthened with institutions such as the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) (Electrical Engineering/Process Control), the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Mangosuthu Technikon and the Durban University of Technology.

Total training spend R32,1 million
1 percent skills levy R10 million
Training spend as a % of leviable amount 3,2 % (excluding 1% skills)
Number of people days trained 8 592
Number of people days available 1 591 110
% trained people days 0,5 %
Number of people trained 1 798


Tongaat Hulett values the dynamism that a multi-cultural human resource base brings to its business and employees in the Swaziland and Zimbabwe operations consist almost exclusively of local citizens. While slowly improving, there continues to be a shortage of suitably qualified people in Mozambique and consequently there is currently a higher number of foreign nationals employed at these operations than might be expected. Initiatives implemented to address this anomaly include a program to employ and train local citizens.

The total workforce as at 31 March 2012 across all countries was 41 777 compared to a total of 39 314 the previous year (full time employees, casuals and contractors). Employee turnover (all categories including retirements, retrenchments, deaths, dismissals etc.) within the South African operations was 5,6% compared to 9,3 percent in 2011 and 10% in operations outside South Africa compared to 6,5 percent in 2011.


Period Number
(as at 31 March 2012)
Average Age
(as at 31 March 2012)
Number Terminated
(1 April 2011 - 31 March 2012)
Number Appointed
(1 April 2011 - 31 March 2012)
Degrees/Diplomas 1 057 39,1 41 71
Artisans 506 40,5 28 47


Level Average Age Average Length of Service (years)
Top Management 51 19
Senior Management 50 18
Middle Management 45 14
Skilled and Supervisory 41 12
Semi-Skilled 41 15
Unskilled 39 9

In South Africa there continues to be a need to address the imbalances of the past and a strong employment equity culture has been fostered over many years. Actions are continuing to improve the representation of designated groups, with particular emphasis on Africans, black women and persons with disabilities, with the intention to align the workforce profile with the underlying demographics of the country. As at 31 March 2012, 57,4 percent of management and 82,4 percent of skilled and supervisory positions are filled by black employees. Women constitute 34,6 percent of the workforce across South African operations. Within the South African operations, 73,4 percent of the 587 graduates and diplomates employees are black, with women constituting 45,3 percent.

Employment equity plans are in place to meet the employment equity goals that have been set for December 2014. These plans include targeted recruitment and placement, coupled with talent and performance management, training and development, coaching and mentoring and managing cultural diversity. Recommendations have been received from the Department of Labour, following their review of the Tongaat Hulett employment equity practices and action plans are in place to implement the recommendations.

The Tongaat Hulett Employment Equity Committee is chaired by the CEO and the broad composition of this committee ensures that it benefits from company wide experience and expertise in achieving its objectives. Its main objective is to review target setting and progress on all employment equity related matters and to make recommendations on the implementation of employment equity policies. These policies are based on equal opportunity for all within a diverse workforce with a substantial number of members of designated groups at all levels. The implementation of these policies is facilitated by appropriate performance and talent management processes, recruitment targets, development and training programmes, coaching and mentoring and innovative management development practices.

These programmes, targets and practices enjoy priority as a key business objective and constitute an integral part of management’s performance assessment.

The table below reflects the employee profile of the company’s South African operations as at 31 December 2010, which formed part of the Tongaat Hulett employment equity report submitted to the Department of Labour (DoL).

The overall proportion of black representation in management as at 31 March 2012 was 57,4 percent of permanent staff at this level, compared to 56,4 percent at 31 March 2011. It is envisaged that by 2014, black representation at management level (D band and above) will exceed 60,0 percent. Females at senior management level increased from 12,0 percent to 12.3 percent as at 31 March 2012, the proportion of black females in top management increased from 16,7 percent to 19,2 percent as at 31 March 2012 and black females in management increased from 18,6 percent to 19,6 percent in March 2012. There were 81 employees with disabilities as at 31 March 2012, which constituted 1,3 percent of the employee complement (63 employees with disabilities as at 31 March 2011).

The table to the right reflects a year on year comparison of black employee and women representation in proportion of permanent staff at various levels at as 31 March 2012.


Male Female Foreign Nationals Total
A C I W A C I W Male Female
Top management 4 0 1 14 2 1 1 0 1 0 24
Senior management 20 3 23 58 4 2 5 3 2 0 120
Professionally qualified and experienced specialists and mid-management 58 7 40 69 35 3 20 26 6 2 266
Skilled technical and academically qualified workers, junior management, supervisors, foremen, and superintendents 337 61 229 131 170 18 54 63 12 6 1 081
Semi-skilled and discretionary decision making 1 017 21 128 4 208 5 34 10 2 0 1 429
Unskilled and defined decision making 1 217 0 11 2 1 049 0 1 0 9 0 2 289
TOTAL PERMANENT 2 653 92 432 278 1 468 29 115 102 32 8 5 209
Temporary employees 61 7 8 0 18 0 1 0 0 0 88
TOTAL (SOUTH AFRICA) 2 714 92 440 278 1 468 29 116 102 32 8 5 297
Total workforce in ALL COUNTRIES as at 31 March 2012 41 777

Note: A = African, C = Coloured, I = Indian, W = White

  Actual as at 31 March 2010 Actual as at 31 March 2011 Actual as at 31 March 2012
Top Management
who are black
38% 38% 39%
Top Management
who are women
17% 17% 19%
Senior Management
who are black
46% 48% 50%
Senior Management
who are women
12% 12% 12%
Middle Management
who are black
60% 62% 63%
Middle Management
who are women
30% 32% 34%
Skilled and Supervisory
who are black
80% 82% 82%
Skilled and Supervisory
who are women
26% 27% 29%

There were no retrenchments at executive management level. However, in the year ended 31 March 2012, several contractors completed projects resulting in the nonrenewal of their contracts. There were 81 retirements.


Within its sphere of influence, Tongaat Hulett guarantees protection for basic human rights. The company is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in which it commits, among others, to supporting the freedom of association and collective bargaining at its locations as well as preventing child labor and forced labour. Tongaat Hulett has incorporated human rights principles in its practices, and operates within a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which supports its commitment to a policy of fair dealing, honesty and integrity in the conduct of its business.

This is based on a fundamental belief that business should be conducted honestly, fairly and legally. The company expects all employees to share its commitment to high moral, ethical and legal standards. The company has always strived to maintain a constructive relationship with unions and a climate of industrial peace has generally prevailed. There are recognition agreements with 10 different unions as at 31 March 2012 and approximately 78.1 percent of permanent employees are members of unions.


Tongaat Hulett employees have the right to freedom of association. This right is also entrenched in the company’s code of ethics, business principles and policies.

Trade unions formally recognized are:

  • Botswana – Botswana Beverages and Allied Workers Union (BBAWU)
  • Mozambique – Sindicato Nacional dos Trabalhadores da Industria Do Açucar e Afins (SINTIA)
  • Namibia – Namibian Food and Allied Workers Union (NAFAU)
  • South Africa – Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU); National Sugar and Refining and Allied Industries Employees Union (NASARAIEU); South African Agricultural Plantation and Allied Workers Union (SAAPAWU); United Association of South Africa (UASA)
  • Swaziland – Swaziland Agriculture and Plant Workers Union (SAPWU)
  • Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry Workers Union (ZSMIWU); Zimbabwe Hotel and Catering Workers Union (ZHCWU)
  • There were industrial action incidents that resulted in 23 days lost in Mafambisse and Xinavane for the period under review. The financial cost impact was R4 466 798.


The disciplinary codes and procedures make provision for corrective behavior and have been drawn up in order to apply discipline in a just, equitable, non-discriminatory and consistent manner, in line with the relevant labour legislation. If any employee feels unjustly treated, they are entitled to exercise their rights in terms of the particular operation’s internal appeal procedure and the relevant legislation.

Disciplinary codes and procedures have been implemented at local operations, after negotiations with the relevant trade unions.


The company’s grievance procedures are intended to create an environment that is conducive to good employee relations, by facilitating prompt and fair action by the company when employees raise legitimate complaints. The intention of the grievance procedures is to ensure that grievances are resolved as near to their point of origin as possible, and within a reasonable time frame.


Tongaat Hulett does not make use of child labour and does not tolerate the inhumane treatment of employees, including any form of illegal forced labour, physical punishment or other abuse.


The upholding of Tongaat Hulett’s core values requires that the business actively works to prevent corruption and bribery. The organisation has procedures in place that provide guidance on areas such as dealing with gifts and donations. Employees of Tongaat Hulett who do not comply with the company’s Code of Ethics policy face disciplinary action, including dismissal or termination of their contract.