RDM investing in schools and the children of South Africa’s future

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Rheinmetall Denel Munition is geared to a three step approach, focussing on investing in education in South Africa, which starts at kindergarten, high school, universities and entrepreneurship.

In September 2020, the eagerly awaited childcare centre, Bundles of Joy, finally opened its doors. The centre that can accommodate 160 learners, is sponsored by Rheinmetall Denel Munition as a public benefit organisation for the community and is situated across Rheinmetall Denel Munition’s headquarters, in Somerset West. The centre caters for children from the ages of 3 months to 6 years old.

This project forms part of RDM’s commitment to socio-economic development and caters not only for the needs of the company’s own employees, but also serves as an affordable day care facility for children of the surrounding communities. This project has significantly contributed to job creation by creating at least 24 permanent positions.

“It is our pledge to nurture these young lives – they are the future. We have the opportunity to bring hope and invest in the community/uplift the community, by ensuring that these children thrive in the right environment,” says Dudu Letseli, the Human Resources General Manager at RDM.

Beyond the 11 million rand investment made by RDM, RDM’s Management and its employees continues to support the day care by sponsoring the children’s enrolment fees through subsidies.

In 2016, Rheinmetall Denel Munition adopted a High School in rural KwaZulu Natal, called Sonyongwana High School. The area is disadvantaged due to the low infrastructure and remoteness. The pass rate in Matric was between 39% and 41%, one of the lowest in the country.

No electricity, no water, no flushing toilets, no means of transport were the pressing needs around the infrastructure to resolve. RDM has taken this school under its wing, by connecting the school in 2016 to the grid, installing Wi-Fi access points and donated three fully equipped computer, chemistry and physical science laboratories. These laboratories boasted state-of-the-art chemistry and physical science apparatus, with teaching aids, as well as 40 new computers.

In 2017, RDM’s Academy interns devoted their time to host a Winter Week tutoring Sonyongwana matriculants in Maths and Science. This proved to be highly successful as the pass rate increased to 91%. Moreover, during the year, RDM initiated a water sanitation project that includes the upgrade of ablution facilities and installation of flush toilet systems and the establishment of a borehole to provide a sustainable source of drinking water.

In 2018, the company donated 920 bicycles to the learners and also equipped a maintenance workshop in the local community to keep the bikes going. RDM has forged a long term relationship with this school through continuous bursaries and internship opportunities.

Over and above, RDM has made donations to various universities across South Africa for Black Engineering students who were owing fees at the end of the year. The RDM Academy recruits 15 of the best graduates from Universities across South Africa and forges them in a paid internship programme for a period of 1 year. From 2016 to date, RDM has permanently placed 74 which is 100% of our interns in the company as young and ambitious staff members. In addition to that there are other interns from different categories where more than 100 of them were successfully placed in permanent positions.

To date, RDM has trained 457 Military Veterans in the skills of Plumbing, Welding, Electricity, Plastering and Painting. In addition to these Technical Skills, RDM added Business Skills to ensure that the Military Veterans can create livelihood for themselves. Another pride and joy of the organisation is the 11 companies that the company started to increase the database of Black Suppliers.

Since the existing joint venture began in 2008, when Rheinmetall Waffe Munition bought a controlling share in Denel Munition and formed Rheinmetall Denel Munition, the company has invested 1 billion rand in infrastructure, 1.5 billion rand in technology and product development, 200 million rand in training and bursaries, 100 million rand in skills development levies and 400 million rand in third- income party tax.

“Companies can and must play a role in building educational opportunity not only for the betterment of individuals, but in order to train and expand the qualifications of the local workforce in order to create meaningful job opportunities and increase hiring from within the local community,” stated the CEO, Jan-Patrick Helmsen.