DRDGold has 41 programmes to take mine communities out of poverty

16th February 2022 By: Martin Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

DRDGold has 41 programmes to take mine communities out of poverty

More than 4 000 families involved in DRDGold's livelihoods project.
Photo by: Creamer Media

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Surface gold recovery company DRDGold, which on Wednesday continued its uninterrupted 15-year run of dividend paying, highlighted its R100-milllion-plus half-year contribution to the fiscus in income tax as an important current underpin of social systems that are helping the country to avoid abject poverty.

DRDGold CEO Niël Pretorius described current government social expenditure as "one of the most important things that is happening in South Africa" to keep abject poverty at bay during these tough and changing economic times. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.)

Pretorius described the healthy current social support as “one of the main things standing between us and abject poverty as a nation”, and spoke of the social grant system monies pleasingly finding their way back into the communities where DRDGold operates.

Cash-flush and debt-free DRDGold on Wednesday declared an interim dividend of 20c a share for the six months to the end of December, its strong finish attributed mainly to an increase in gold recoveries and a higher average gold price compared with the first three months of the company’s 2022 financial year.

DRDGold ended its half-year financial period with cash and cash equivalents of R2 239.1-million, after paying a cash dividend of R345.5-million in September 2021.

The Johannesburg- and New York-listed company is focusing a lot of its social effort on the development of the informal economy.

Flashed on to the screen during the presentation of results was the picture shown above, which reflects community members taking the next steps in small agricultural enterprise into something slightly bigger and on its way to becoming a sustainable enterprise.

Of that network, which is in excess of 4 000 families in and around Johannesburg and now also the Carletonville area, DRDGold is at the start of initiating a broad-based livelihoods project with the University of Pretoria’s enterprise research department. Participants in the broad-based livelihoods programme learn how to preserve their excess produce.

“They have come up with 41 different programmes aimed squarely not just at the quality of life but also on the development of the informal sector.

“We believe that the informal economy is the best and the surest way out of poverty. The formal economy, especially now with the industrial revolution and employment becoming so much harder, the formal economy is not going to be able to absorb the majority of employable individuals in South Africa and ultimately also in the world," said Pretorius at the results presentation covered by Mining Weekly.

“There will be more people unemployed at some point in the future than people that are employed. You will have large companies generating big revenues, paying income tax, and that income tax finding its way into social grants, which is what we call it, or the universal income, which will be the international notion. That will be the source of capital of the informal economy and that’s where we’re going to be busy over the next few years, in assisting communities and the informal sector towards becoming sustainable.

“The one thing we will not do is to participate in some sort of a false redistributive economy of taking work away from value-adding participants in the informal sector and just pretending to be empowering individuals or companies when in fact all you’re doing is just moving capital around and not really adding value. That seems to be an expectation that is emerging and we're not going to be part of any false economy in that regard,” Pretorius emphasised.

Meanwhile, the process of distributing the R152-million proceeds of the DRD Empowerment Trust’s sale of DRDGold's shares has begun.

In 2020, the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies rated DRDGold first, reflecting its strong dividend and invest-back momentum.

“We're still the best-performing gold company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and that's something that we're really proud of,” said Pretorius.