Can Corporate Social Investment Get it Wrong?

A new report commissioned by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) illustrates the shortcomings of well-meaning social investment programmes.

Amplats invested over R100 million between 2009-12 in education initiatives for mining communities. The results of an external impact assessment show that, for a myriad of reasons, this huge investment made little to no positive impact at all.

Vincent Maphai, member of the National Planning Commission and former SABMiller executive, suggests that systemic political and economic issues may be too big for corporate social investment to solve.

"Whether we like it or not, particularly at the basic education level, the problems are largely not technical or about resources, but are largely political," Maphai said. "It is not for Anglo Platinum to disentangle political programmes, but it is the job of government."

We think Amplats is to be applauded for making the report public, and perhaps it will help spark thoughtful debate about how to best to use CSI resources to help solve South Africa’s problems.


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