NYSE-listed GE has been recognised by the South African government for the significant impact the business has had on the nation’s economy.
The inaugural Siyabonga Awards, for which Brand SA was one of the sponsors, was presented by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene at the South Africa Tomorrow conference, in New York, this week.
The new annual awards ceremony aimed to recognise US businesses and individuals making an “exceptional contribution” to South Africa’s economy.
GE, the first recipient of the Business Award for Economic Impact, was recognised for its commitment to localisation and skills development.
In June, GE committed R500-million for the creation of a research and development facility that would also become the company’s local centre of excellence for innovation and technology transfer.
Another R200-million was invested in a supplier development vehicle aimed at supporting and enabling an environment in which small and medium-sized enterprises could compete.
Further, GE South Africa Technologies (Gesat) and its black economic-empowerment partner, the Mineworkers Investment Company, were currently collaborating with Transnet Engineering to build next-generation locomotives at a facility near Pretoria.
“To date, Gesat has worked with Transnet Engineering to upskill its employees through 150 000 hours of skills development training worth more than R480-million. In addition, the company has invested R1.7-billion over the last three years in preferential procurement as part of a competitive supplier-development programme,” the company said in a statement.
Earlier this year, GE donated R10-million to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, as well as two fully-equipped classroom containers and a service container to the Kromdraai community, near Johannesburg.
International Housing Solutions managing partner Soula Proxenos and Standard New York Securities president and CEO Albert Maartens were each awarded Siyabonga Global South African Awards for the roles they played in boosting the South African economy while opening the country’s investment environment up to global players in the US, besides other achievements.
Shared Interest executive director Donna Katzin and South Africa Partners executive director Mary Tiseo shared the first Siyabonga Friend of South Africa Award for their contributions in helping South Africa achieve its democracy and enabling previously disadvantaged South Africans, Brand SA explained.
Former New York Mayor David Dinkins received the Siyabonga Lifetime Commitment Award for promoting freedom and inclusive prosperity in South Africa.
Standard Bank and the departments of Trade and Industry and International Relations and Cooperation supported the awards gala, which was held at the Marriott Marquis hotel on Times Square.
The venue was selected in recognition of the vote of confidence Marriott recently gave South Africa and the broader region in acquiring South Africa's Protea Hotel Group.