Together with milling company IL Molino Specialty Grains and the Mogale City municipality, the South African Breweries (SAB) has donated over five tonnes of ground and packaged wheat to invigorate 13 small bakeries across the West Rand Townships of Gauteng. This wheat will provide much needed support for these local bakeries and relief for the surrounding impoverished communities. The wheat will be used as flour for baking biscuits.
As these are small businesses, 60% of these bakeries are female owned, while close to 40% are youth driven.
Corporate Affairs Manager at SAB Thabang Mashia said this partnership demonstrates the strength and creativity all South African corporates need to exercise in these challenging times. "We all know we have to flatten the curve and adhere to lockdown restrictions, but the economic impact cannot be ignored. Especially when you able to do something about it," he said.
This donation was made possible thanks to the generosity of Mohamed Essack, Director of IL Molino Speciality Grains, who answered the call from Mogale City. When it was clear the wheat from SAB needed further processing, he immediately volunteered his operations at no cost to SAB or the bakeries. All he needed was money for the packaging.
"The reality is that the poorest of South Africans have had to bear the brunt of the lockdown," said Mashia. "Although these communities may protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19, many people don't know where their next meal is coming from. It has therefor become crucial for corporate South Africa to play a role in uplifting SMMEs that provide food security for these communities."
Situated in Johannesburg South, IL Molino is the only 100% black-owned wheat miller in the country. Having overcome many challenges in an anti-competitive environment dominated by JSE-owned big millers, IL Molino has increased production from an initial 500 metric ton per month to potentially processing over 6,000 metric ton per month of wheat.
Mashia believes that partnering with businesses like IL Molino to uplift small businesses that, in turn, provide security for South Africa's impoverished goes a lot further than a simple cash donation.
"Through this initiative, we have created massive opportunities for small bakeries to become suppliers of baking flour produced by Il Molino. This network of break makers is likely to grow way beyond the end of the lockdown," he said.