By Anna Shilongo
Shell Country Chairman Willie Mokgatlhe has called on businesses not to merely focus on profit making but also to help protect the environment in which they operate.
Mokgatlhe said the expectations of society are increasing on a daily basis and at the same time it requires business to assist where it can.
He said the Government cannot go it alone, adding it was high time stakeholders and the private sector joined hands to improve the living conditions of their people.
He made these remarks recently in the capital when his company contributed N$100 000 for those affected by the floods in the north.
“We believe that granting the necessary support, in the most appropriate ways, to all our stakeholders, that is the Government, our customers and the communities we operate, will improve their personal, social and economic circumstances,” said Mokgatlhe.
He said life after the floods will not be the same for the thousands of people who have been negatively affected, as many of the families would not be able to return to their homes and business due to damaged infrastructure.
“It is our hope that their lives will normalise speedily and that the necessary assistance will be forthcoming to rebuild their lives,” he said.
The donation was handed over to the Minister of Mines and Energy, Erkki Nghimtina.
“Our contribution is just not to invest in the people of our country, but is indeed driven by our core values – honesty, integrity and respect for people – which have always been integral to what we do,” he said.
Mokgatlhe said it was hard to escape reading and hearing daily of the plight of fellow Namibians residing in the northern parts who have been badly affected by floods. The nation has seen media reports highlighting the devastation that is experienced, and indeed people were and still are affected in various ways.
“People’s lives were lost, others are displaced, and sources of livelihood were also lost as a result of damage to agricultural fields and infrastructure,” he stressed.
On the other hand, he noted that the education of children has also been severely disrupted while infrastructure such as buildings and roads have been damaged.
“It is our responsibility to help improve their situation, a duty we embrace. It is our right and privilege to contribute to the efforts of Government.”
As a corporate citizen, he said, they have been monitoring the situation and have observed the generosity of both the public and private sectors in assisting Government to help ease the plight of affected people.
Minister Nghimtina welcomed the good gesture, calling on other companies in the country to follow suit.
“Good business responsibly calls for good corporate citizen behaviour and social investment such as the donation received today are important parts, yielding positive social partnerships in a country such as Namibia, as it promotes harmonious coexistence,” said the minister.
As much as all are aware that Namibia is a dry country, the country appreciates every drop of rain it received, but this year the country was way too blessed with good rain, which unfortunately resulted in heavy flood mainly in the northern parts of the country, he said.
“The good rain caused loss of lives and devastated homesteads, crop fields, businesses and a lot of infrastructure,” said Nghimtina.
At the same time he singled out most socio-economic challenges facing the country.
“High fuel prices, higher food prices, unemployment, lack of food security resulting from adverse weather phenomena such as droughts and floods, as well as HIV/AIDS. Therefore partnership between the public and private sectors is of vital importance in confronting these social challenges and making Namibia a better place for all,” said the minister.
He made the assurance the donation would be put to good use, to address the plight of people in the flood-stricken areas.