South Africa—Sishen Iron Ore Company Community Development Trust

Client: Sishen Iron Ore Company

Duration: 2011-2015

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: South Africa

Solutions: Sustainable Business

In September 2011, the South Africa-based Sishen Iron Ore Company Community Development Trust learned it would receive dividends of more than $1 billion. It also understood it was at risk of spending millions, but achieving little in terms of improving lives in its beneficiary local mining communities.

DAI developed a long-term strategy—named Vision 2030—to guide the Trust’s decisions during the next 20 years. The goal: help the Trust achieve real systemic socioeconomic change rather than mere individual transactions between the community and private sector. On the back of this strategy, we proposed interventions to help the Trust achieve its 20-year goals: catalyze economic diversification, improve education outcomes and conditions, develop economically relevant skills, improve social and living conditions, and play an advocacy role for economic inclusion. Sustainability is a high priority of the Trust, and we realize it is critical to leverage partnerships with other institutions, focus on proactive programs, and strengthen the advocacy and debottlenecking roles of the Trust.

Emerging from our long-term strategy planning with the Trust was the need for an effective mechanism to screen and implement infrastructure projects. We were subsequently contracted by the Trust to establish and operate its project management unit through 2015. Its projects are now addressing local needs in areas such as education, business, health, agriculture, and welfare.

Select Results

  • Reviewed projects considered by the Trust to ensure they are a strategic fit, the business case is sound, all approvals with stakeholders (e.g., Departments of Education and Water Affairs, local municipalities) are sufficient, and pricing is realistic.
  • Ensured adherence to procedure, governance requirements, and quality assurance during construction.
  • Transferred project management, governance, and technical skills to the permanent staff of the beneficiary Trusts, as well as the construction contractors at the sites.


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