Tongaat Hulett’s strategic aspirations and operating business plans informs the company’s human capital planning and directs the human resources interventions rolled out at all levels of the company. In all the geographies in which we operate, the local, regional and global dynamics; and most importantly the various national socio-economic, regulatory, legislative and other factors are taken into consideration when managing the company’s human resources. Given this context of managing internal and external operating factors, strategic decisions on the management of company human resources is provided centrally by the company’s leadership, while the implementation of HR interventions is localized to ensure relevance and direct and immediate impact on company’s plans and operations.

For the reporting period, priority was given to leadership and executive resources as well as other critical skills in the various operations. Interventions were also focused on employee welfare, and on creating an environment conducive for industrial relations through engagement with the various labour and employee representation formations. Employee training and development remains the backdrop for ensuring continuous improvement in our operations, enhancing individuals’ knowledge and skills, as well as to provide career development opportunities for our employees.

The company continues to provide a competitive value proposition to attract, employ, retain and develop good caliber and diverse employees who are able to contribute to the achievement of the business’s strategic goals.

Employee base

The total workforce as at 31 March 2014 across all countries was 35 065 compared to a total of 39 246 the previous year. This includes full-time employees, seasonal and casual workers as well as fixed-term contractors. The downward change in the number of employees was through managed recruitment and attrition.

The breakdown of Tongaat Hulett’s employee base per country as at 31 March 2014 is as follows:

& fixed-term
& casuals
South Africa 3 326 1 606 4 932
Mozambique 8 467 6 878 15 345
Zimbabwe 11 836 1 886 13 722
Swaziland 403 355 758
Botswana 118 3 121
Namibia 174 13 187
Totals 24 324 10 741 35 065

Existing specialised skills in all countries

The company’s operations rely on different types of skills and competencies, primarily in agriculture, milling and refinery, marketing, sales, distribution and commercial skills; as well as engineering and technical skills. These skills groups generally tend to be difficult to attain from the labour market, they require longer term investment in training and development, they are highly specialized for cane/sugar and maize/starch agro-processing functions, and are highly mobile in terms of employability, therefore requiring investment in training and posing retention challenges. Focus is therefore given to these highly qualified and highly skilled individuals. The interventions to maintain the required capacity are aimed at improving skills of current employees, attaining from the labour market; while building future capacity through graduate development programmes such as the engineers in training project.

In the various critical functional areas, the breakdown of qualifications of these specialized skills across the company is as follows:



(as at
31 March 2014)


(as at
31 March 2014)


(1 April 2013 -
31 March 2014)


(1 April 2013 -
31 March 2014)

1 155 40 76 49

496 40 29 21

Human Capital Interventions

Succession Planning and Critical Skills Talent Management

There has been focus on the leadership, executive resources and critical skills of the company, and significant progress has been made in managing key talent for executive leadership and other critical roles across the company.

A formalized process for managing the company’s top talent in key roles is in place at company level for cross-company leadership and key roles requirements, while each operating company has talent management processes for operations’ specific skills requirements and to provide long-term skills needs for the company. Talent management incorporates succession planning, talent development and talent retention aimed at building capacity for both immediate and long-term skills needs. The company’s key talent has been ‘segmented’ and prioritized, based on business skills needs and challenges, key roles, individuals’ performance and potential, as well as in line with employee transformation aspirations in Mozambique, South African and Zimbabwean operations. The diversity of skills in the businesses talent pool is steadily improving, including females being appointed into the senior and executive leadership roles in South Africa and Zimbabwe so far.

Talent management programme interventions are proactive and dynamic, as they continuously re-calibrate skills and capacity requirements and an ongoing identification of talented individuals from within the entire employee base, and providing development experiences and support for each employee to reach their potential.

There has been focus on the leadership, executive resources and critical skills of the company, and significant progress has been made in managing key talent for executive leadership and other critical roles across the company.

Employee Training & Development

The employee training and development interventions are informed by business needs, operating challenges, existing skills supply and levels of competence, against the skills requirement for each of the operating companies. The interventions that were prioritized for the reporting period include artisan training, graduate development programmes, supervisory skills training, agriculture management skills and Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) training. Agriculture skills training, motorised equipment (such as fork-lifts) training, and SHE training received the highest priority, in line with operations goals and continued focus on employee safety and welfare. Furthermore, employees were provided opportunities to study further through the employee study support scheme, improving their skills and career opportunities. Spend on training and development for the year exceeded R50 million.

Compliance with Legislation & Regulations in Employee Management

Tongaat Hulett complies with the various legislative and regulatory frameworks with regards to employee management and skills development reporting. The information below, is presented in terms of South African legislation, and therefore excludes other company operating geographies.

The various categories of training and development courses are in the table below:

Categories of
Number of
employees who
attended training

from 1 April 2013
to 31 March 2014

Management and
supervisory skills
429 3,0%
3 671 25,7%
745 5,2%

6 690 46,8%
2 055 14,4%
Human resources
129 0,9%
125 0,9%
456 3,2%
Total 14 300  

Training and related information in respect of South African Operations for the period 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014

The operating companies in South Africa, which incorporate Sugar, Starch, and Developments, comply with the various employment legislation relating to affirmative action, employment equity, labour relations, skills development and other relevant laws. Within the overall training costs of R45,3m; a total of R28,1m was training costs for the South African operations, with the different categories of spend detailed below:

1 percent skills levy   R12,3 million
Training spend as a % of leviable amount   2,3%
No of person days trained   6 934
Number of person days available   1 222 590
% trained person days   0,6%
No of persons trained   1 453
Expenditure on African, Coloured & Indian employees   R23 399 803
Expenditure on African, Coloured & Indian Women   R6 247 327
Expenditure on employees with disabilities   R140 958

Graduate Development Programme

In line with the company’s goal of managing skills supply proactively, the graduate development programme continues to receive focused attention. Tongaat Hulett has rolled out interventions such as further education bursaries, engineers in training (EIT), in-service training and learnerships, targeting graduates from universities, further education institutions and universities of technology.

The various interventions, which are longer-term and varied based on skills needs in different operations, also take cognizance of the local socio-economic factors impacting education and training of school-leavers and further education graduates, job opportunities and levels of business knowledge and employment readiness among graduates. The company had 472 school-leavers and graduates in training, at various levels of exposure and development. These interventions are of different lengths, and are structured in line with company skills needs, university in-service requirements, and on work-readiness levels and knowledge of graduates. Apprenticeship, which is directly related to artisan and technical skills requirements, received priority.



When Andrew heard about a vacancy for an Electrical Engineer in the Technology & Engineering Group at Tongaat Hulett in 2008 he jumped at the chance of a mid-career change. Andrew’s uncle, Murray Gielink, had worked for many years as an electrical engineer in the sugar industry and had shared many stories of working in this challenging and fulfilling environment, making this seem like an ideal opportunity.


To read more about Andrew go to


Summary of trainees:

Persons with Disabilities

Tongaat Hulett is committed to providing a work environment that supports people with disabilities, and the Company is putting in place interventions to ensure that they reach their potential and contributes fully to the running of the functions in which they work.

There were 68 employees with disabilities as at 31 March 2014 in South Africa, which constituted 1,4 percent of the total employee complement.

Employee Diversity: Indigenization, Localization, Employment Equity & Affirmative Action

The objective to transform the diversity and employee profile of the company’s employee base informs various specific interventions across the business. Specific interventions and processes were put in place, taking into account the various operating environments and specific skills supply and challenges of the various geographies in which we operate. While all operating companies and geographies pay attention to employee transformation and diversity, the prioritized geographies for employee transformation interventions for the reporting period were Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

In South Africa, in response to the need to address the imbalances of the past; a strong employment equity culture has been fostered over many years. There has been steady and significant achievements in the various segments, as illustrated by improvements in the representation of designated groups, with particular emphasis on Africans, black women and persons with disabilities. As at 31 March 2014, 62,3 percent of management and 84,6 percent of skilled and supervisory positions are filled by black employees. Women constitute 29,9 percent of the workforce across South African operations. In terms of the professional skills profile, 76,1 percent of the graduates and diplomates employees are black, with women constituting 46,8 percent.

The overall proportion of black representation in management as at 31 March 2014 was 62,3 percent of permanent staff at this level, compared to 61,2 percent as at 31 March 2013. Females at senior management level increased from 14,5 percent to 16,2 percent as at 31 March 2014, the proportion of black females in top management increased from 22,2 percent to 28,0 percent as at 31 March 2014 and black females in management increased from 20,9 percent to 22,2 percent in March 2014.

In Mozambique, employee transformation is focussed on localisation of the skills base, within the legislated quotas of the government of Mozambique. Proactive processes were rolled out to identify skilled local nationals within the company and in the external labour market. There is also accelerated training and development of local nationals, ensuring that time to full productivity (where required) is shortened. Furthermore, focus will be on the gender diversity of the employee base.

In line with the company’s employee transformation aspirations, vacancies although limited during the reporting period; were utilized as opportunities for recruitment and promotion of locals and females in Mozambique, for recruitment of females into senior roles in Zimbabwe, and for females and Africans into senior roles in the South African operations. The intention is to have a diverse supply of highly skilled individuals for all key roles in the company in our targeted operating geographies, managed proactively and coordinated to ensure adequate labour supply, critical skills retention and provide career development opportunities for all employees.

Industrial relations

Human rights

Within its sphere of influence, Tongaat Hulett implements 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 and/or 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. These guidelines and operating philosophies are embedded in the company’s operating ethos, and the company expects all employees to share its commitment to high moral, ethical and legal standards.

Child labour, forced and compulsory labour

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.

Freedom of association and collective bargaining

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. 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 11 different unions as at 31 March 2014 and approximately 75,5 percent of permanent employees are members of unions.


  • • Botswana Beverages and Allied Workers Union (BBAWU)


  • • Sindicato Nacional dos Trabalhadores da Industria Do Açucar e Afins (SINTIA)


  • • 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)
  • National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW)
  • Swaziland – Swaziland Agriculture and Plant Workers Union (SAPWU)


  • Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry Workers Union (ZSMIWU)
  • Zimbabwe Hotel and Catering Workers Union (ZHCWU)

There was one strike incidents which resulted in seven days lost in Sugar SA, with a financial cost implication of R13,7 million for the period under review.

Disciplinary procedures

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.

Grievance procedures

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.

Anti-Bribery and Corruption

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.