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Doing good while doing business

Bigen News


Bigen Africa – your socio-economic development partner

Ms Fatima Collins, Bigen Africa’s Socio-Economic Development Principal, has a wealth of experience and heads up the Group’s SED division.

At Bigen Africa the core focus of infrastructure development is to create sustainable social and economic benefits for countries, regions and communities – this has been the philosophy of the leading infrastructure-development group since its inception more than four decades ago and it has been the major driver in its aggressive growth during this period.

The group’s claims that it is a development activist and does good while doing business, carry substance. Its multi-pronged approach to infrastructure development enables the provision of a regional and local delivery platform for government and the private sector ensuring that infrastructure projects drive sustainable social and economic development.

Its product offering, often in partnerships that boost end-results effectively, is tailored to ensure socially desirable outcomes emanating from the use of social and economic infrastructure. The group’s recently launched socio-economic development division provides sustainable infrastructure solutions through the implementation, monitoring and reporting of:
– Service delivery;
– Skills development;
– Community social investment;
– Economic inclusion;
– Infrastructure investment; and the
– Environment.

This approach maximises local economic participation resulting in sustainable benefits that allow organisations to accurately report on their triple bottom line.

Benchmarks followed by the Bigen Africa SED team to achieve optimum results include the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) and the National Treasury Standard for Infrastructure Procurement and Delivery Management (SIPDM). Planning of solutions includes consultative community assessments to address the most urgent social needs of local communities. In addition to these, there are policies that govern supplier development, capacity building and skills transfer in the sector. For Bigen Africa, these policies are much more than a regulatory compliance exercise – it is a business philosophy born from experience and a desire to do good while doing business.

Bigen Africa conducts business guided by a strict corporate-governance framework with zero tolerance for unethical behaviour or practices, compliance with the King III and an empowerment drive that has already earned it a B-BBEE Level 2 certification. Projects outside South Africa adhere to country specific empowerment goals.

Through its innovative, holistic and partner-focused approach, Bigen Africa provides sustainable infrastructure solutions across key development sectors, customised to customer and regional requirements to deliver bankable projects which are fit-for-purpose and benefit the communities that access the infrastructure. It boasts a proven track record of infrastructure development solutions across the African continent, with positive, award-winning impacts in social and infrastructure development.

By doing good while doing business, Bigen Africa realises a lasting development impact to provide access to services, reduce poverty, build capacity and generate opportunities for increased economic participation and employment.

For more information contact Ms Fatima Collins, Bigen Africa SED Principal on 012 842 8774.


Bigen Africa launches Health division with key senior appointment

Bigen Africa, a thought-leading, solutions-driven infrastructure development Group with a firm foothold in southern Africa and a fast-growing Africa footprint, is expanding its service offering to South African clients with a new focus on healthcare provision facilitation, and has appointed an expert in the field to spearhead this new development.

As the Group’s new Managing Director for Health, Dr Victor Letsoejane Litlhakanyane is determined to realise his long-held aspiration of improving access to quality healthcare services to underprivileged communities on the Africa continent.

“The extreme disparity in access to quality healthcare between the impoverished and the wealthy has come under the spotlight with the South African government putting plans in place to introduce national health insurance,” says Dr Victor, as he is affectionately known. “According to research, more than 80% of the country’s population depends on the public healthcare system that is simply not sufficient in its service provision. There is a pressing need for improvements to access, facilities and staffing at both hospitals as well as primary health care clinics.”

Acutely aware of these needs, and based on his extensive experience in the medical and healthcare sectors, he has long felt the calling to help make a difference to those in need of better healthcare, a mission that resonates strongly with Bigen Africa’s creed of “doing good while doing business”. A leading provider of value-based and integrated engineering, management consulting, development financing and advisory services, Bigen Africa’s vision is to improve the quality of life of all through the development of sustainable infrastructure solutions, with an emphasis on the socio-economic impact of all activities undertaken. As a group of “engineers with a conscience”, Bigen Africa is changing the engineering landscape across Africa, where its footprint covers 19 countries, by not only helping governments achieve their infrastructure development goals, but also ensuring socio-economic benefits for local populations where projects are undertaken. Establishing a Health division has been a priority and Dr Victor, with his particular background and credentials, is deemed the ideal catalyst for the envisaged services.

His vision for the Group’s role is largely to ensure that the difference between healthcare provided to the privileged and the underprivileged is bridged, and that technology and education are used to streamline the processes involved in the provision of healthcare.

“Bigen Africa aims to provide an end-to-end service, from feasibility and fund sourcing to designing and managing healthcare facilities,” Dr Victor explains. “This vision will be achieved by leveraging both public and private sector resources, and identifying communities which are lacking in basic healthcare.”

His commitment to making a difference in the healthcare sector stems from his own determination to be a doctor despite challenges he faced. He acknowledges the role that his community played in his upbringing and support whilst at Medical School. That support enabled him to enroll at the University of Natal and complete his MB ChB degrees. He thrived at university and was elected in leadership roles at the Medical Students’ Representative Council, Alan Taylor Residence House Committee, Black Sport Union and the Happy Valley Clinic Committee.

After graduating and registering as a Radiation and Clinical Oncologist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), he was ready to pursue a career in clinical practice and mentoring of others, but the universe had other plans. Shortly after the national elections in 1994 he was encouraged to apply for the role of Chief Director of Health in the Free State province. It was not easy to put his career plans on hold, but his vision and sense of responsibility prevailed and he accepted the role, only to assume a second leadership position in healthcare nine years later, this time in the private sector where he spent seven years as Executive Director and Chief Operations Officer for the healthcare group Netcare.

However, he remained dissatisfied with the lack of adequate access to quality healthcare experienced by a large section of the South African population and clung to his dream of making a difference. His opportunity came in 2011, when he was able to create Ditau Health Solutions, an African company developing innovative solutions for African health challenges.

“I was not actively looking to get back into the corporate sphere because I had a vision of private- public partnerships in healthcare systems,” Dr Victor explains. “Healthcare is not made up solely of medical care, but also involves a wider range of facets, from the provision of shelter, running water to sanitation and female health education. I accepted my new role at Bigen Africa because of the good work that the Group has already done in these spheres and in highlighting the differentiators involved in providing quality healthcare on the African continent.”

He has been extensively involved in private public projects in the healthcare sector on the African continent and these prototypes have operated successfully across the continent.

“I proudly pay my taxes because I know my contribution helps to ensure that a family obtains an RDP house, or an impoverished student is able to complete tertiary studies,” he says. “However, there is so much more that can and must be done to ensure that Africa emerges from under the cloud of poverty and lack of basic living requirements such as healthcare.

“Our role is to ‘do good’ in those communities that are not in a position to uplift themselves. This does not diminish the communities’ and individuals’ own responsibility to ensure that the facilities provided are maintained and respected, and that the lives and well-being of those medical and healthcare professionals who work in the townships and rural areas are treated with due courtesy.”

Bigen Africa is proud to welcome Dr Victor on board and excited about working together on health service offerings that will make a real difference to the people of Africa in terms of access to healthcare.


Bigen Africa appoints Ruan Minnaar as Human Capital and Marketing Director

Bigen Africa appointed Ruan Minnaar as Human Capital and Marketing Director. He is a dynamic executive with an excellent academic, business and personal record across a wide range of disciplines.

“Ruan is a focused and performance-driven executive with a strategic mind-set and a proven ability to deliver long-term value,” says Anton Boshoff, Bigen Africa CEO.

He started his career as a business economics teacher at the Langenhoven, and later, Garsfontein High Schools in Pretoria, where his strategic approach, analytical skills, innovative thinking, and leadership qualities were immediately recognised at local and at provincial level.

In 2008, he joined the health and nutrition organisation, Your Life, to launch its Pretoria branch with 24 staff members, following his passion of working with people. There he structured and implemented programmes and policies in the areas of training, compensation structures, benefits and incentive packages and employee orientation. His management style followed an open-door approach to foster teamwork and positive dialogue, which, combined with dynamic marketing initiatives, saw the business establish and rapidly grow its footprint.

In 2013, he joined Angel Lifestyle, a direct sales company, as managing director with his main responsibilities being sales and business development in 12 African countries. A natural leader, he successfully led a team of 600 000 sales consultants and 150 professional staff members in eight branches. The depth of his governance exposure increased to include strategic business plans and liaison with governments and regulatory bodies. On a business level, he achieved success with innovative, strategic ideas to improve workflow and introduce technology efficiencies, driving costs down and improving the gross profit margin. He remained active in his involvement in human-capital, revising existing and implementing new policies and generally streamlining the HR processes.

Towards the end of 2009, Ruan founded and ran Dunamis Properties, recruiting and building a team of 30-odd agents in three cities, eventually achieving sales in excess of R150 million a year. Factors behind his success included championing diversity, introducing leadership initiatives and maintaining a culture of appreciation for staff achievements. His business acumen is underpinned by an MBA in general management from the Regent University in Virginia Beach, USA.

Some five years later Ruan returned to the human-capital arena where his passion lies, and joined CCI Consulting as a strategic consultant. He established the Leadership Academy, achieving master-training status for all of European Xpand’s products, processes and training materials. Overseeing a team of ten consultants across the country, he was responsible for implementing strategic leadership-development programmes at businesses, and non-profit and educational organisations.

In 2015, Ruan was the co-founder of Lifework Leadership, a group of business professionals who are eager to create a platform to develop a strong community of Christian business leaders in Pretoria. The Lifework Leadership programme is designed for leaders who desire transformation from the inside out and has benefitted a number of prominent leaders in the transformation of their companies, churches and communities, across vocation, denomination and race.  Ruan continues to lead this programme in his capacity as Executive Director of Lifework Leadership.

Ruan’s experience across the full business spectrum, in various sectors and across the African continent, makes him ideally suited to guide and manage the Bigen Africa human capital strategy and implementation. His proven expertise in talent selection and retention, performance monitoring and strategic relationship building, combined with his management approach in terms of risk management, governance and problem-solving, will guide Bigen Africa’s Human Capital Department to contribute in no small way to the group achieving its Vision objectives.

Ruan Minnaar, described as a communicator par excellence, an activator, maximiser and inspirational leader, took up his position at Bigen Africa on 1 January 2017.


Bigen Africa appoints Henk Bester to lead Transport directorate

Solutions-driven infrastructure development group, Bigen Africa, has appointed Henk Bester as Managing Director of its Transport directorate. Bester, formerly managing director of rail at Hatch Consultants, will play a key role in driving the group’s business development goals, which include growing its road, rail and transport logistics capabilities.

“Bigen Africa’s Transport directorate is expected to play a prominent role in helping to unlock economic progress in Africa through the development of transport systems that are critical for bulk cargo transportation and regional integration driven by governments,” says Anton Boshoff, Bigen Africa’s Chief Executive Officer. “Road and rail, specifically, are critical to growing economies in Africa, where most bulk commodities are landlocked and remote from ports. On the continent, many of the major consulting companies have relatively small rail groups and depend on a few specialists to catalyse major rail projects.

“The appointment of Henk Bester will ensure that the Transport directorate will continue to maximise its capabilities so that it is fully able to meet the unique and often urgent needs of our different clients throughout the continent.”

Based on his extensive local and international industry experience, proven strategic leadership skills and impressive track record in growing business capacity, Bester has the expertise and qualities needed to meet – and exceed – these expectations. A registered professional civil engineer, he has blazed a career trail of note across South Africa and globally since completing his BEng (Civil) degree at the University of Stellenbosch and joining Spoornet (now Transnet), where, at 24 years of age, he became the youngest district engineer at the time. He soon progressed to national lead and coordinator for all mobile heavy on-track maintenance machines and to senior engineer in the Western Cape district with responsibilities from Cape Town to De Aar. His solid transport grounding includes exposure to the George Koch Track Testing Centre in Jeppestown and the heavy-haul Sishen-Saldanha rail line, the world leader in high axle load on narrow gauge track.

Subsequently joining R&H Railway Consultants in Randburg, Bester progressed to the position of managing director within four years, expanding the company from 15 to 70 employees by the end of 2008. Since 2006, he was involved in Hatch, first as sub-consultant and since 2008 progressing quickly to global director and head of rail.

Having built a rail team globally with a major focus in countries such as Africa, Australia and Brazil, Bester was promoted to managing director of Hatch International and was instrumental in securing the Transnet Manganese Phase 2 project for the Hatch, MottMcDonald and Aurecon JV, for which he was also appointed Project Director.

As a leader in rail, he enjoys global recognition and has been involved in various challenging international projects for clients all over the world, such as Anglo American, Arcellor Mittal, Vale, BHP Billiton and African Rainbow Minerals. He was also instrumental in growing a formidable rail group and business for Hatch outside Canada, which became the biggest privately owned rail consultancy in Africa.

Bester is a fellow member of the South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE), and registered at ECSA as professional engineer (Pr Eng) and as professional construction manager at the South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPMP). He served on the SAICE Membership and Railway and Harbour Committees.

Henk joined Bigen Africa on 1 October 2016. The company, established in 1971, now employs over 400 full-time professionals in 17 offices (operational offices, project offices and an office in Mauritius) throughout Africa. Bigen Africa’s proven expertise in engineering and advisory services forms the core of a product offering that proactively seeks the best outcome for client, community and country. Bigen Africa’s mantra of “doing good while doing business” underpins the group’s full value chain of infrastructure development activism to change lives through positive and sustainable infrastructure development in five key sectors namely real estate, energy, water, health and transport. The group’s value proposition is further supported by its partnership strategy to formally integrate the group’s partners within its delivery model and ultimately the capital structure to enhance mutual value creation and incentives for all partners participating in its structure.


Bigen Africa’s Akaretsa campaign to raise millions in funds for beneficiaries

Bigen Africa, a leading multinational provider of sustainable infrastructure development solutions with a particular focus on “doing good while doing business”, has set itself an audacious fundraising target for 2016 – to hand over R2 million to various beneficiaries by the end of September 2016.

This bold decision was taken last year, after the Group had met its target of raising R1 million through its Akaretsa CSI campaign which was generously supported by employees as well as partners, suppliers and clients. Encouraged by this success, Bigen Africa decided to double its target for this year.

Bigen Africa’s ambitious Akaretsa campaign not only aims to raise R2 million in funds for charity this year, but also includes actively “doing good while doing business”, as per the Group’s official creed. In the Lephalale Municipality, Bigen Africa’s Revenue and Financial Management team identified three underprivileged families in May, as part of a housing intervention, and designed and constructed houses for them within two months. Shown here are is one of the deserving recipients of the donated houses.

Bigen Africa’s ambitious Akaretsa campaign not only aims to raise R2 million in funds for charity this year, but also includes actively “doing good while doing business”, as per the Group’s official creed. In the Lephalale Municipality, Bigen Africa’s Revenue and Financial Management team identified three underprivileged families in May, as part of a housing intervention, and designed and constructed houses for them within two months. Shown here are is one of the deserving recipients of the donated houses.

Social conscience
“A social conscience is a part of the Bigen Africa DNA,” says Anton Boshoff, Chief Executive Officer. “It is an integral aspect of the corporate culture. With an official creed of ‘doing good while doing business’, the Group has a rich history of being active in CSI, undertaking developmental projects to benefit local communities beyond commercial value or demand. In 2014, management also established the Akaretsa campaign to support various non-profit organisations.”

The funds raised in 2015 were donated to various beneficiaries – skills developer POPUP, Mamelodi Hospice, the charitable trust Funanani and Vanani Primary School near East London. Some of the funds were also used to purchase a minibus for Word for the Nations Ministries in Bon Accord and a scholarship to University College Dublin was given to Sifiso Kumalo of Orlando West. With expansion into Africa being a major goal of the Bigen Africa Group, substantial donations were also given to the companies’ social partners in Ghana, Zambia and Botswana.

Fundraising efforts included Bigen Africa’s annual Golf Day, a fun event for all stakeholders involving golf challenges, prizes, sponsorships, and auction and branding opportunities. Partners and clients were furthermore invited to participate in this drive by contributing towards the Akaretsa Fund.

“The success of Bigen Africa’s Akaretsa campaign is rooted in the Group’s commitment to socio-economic upliftment,” says Boshoff, “and the fact that so many of our stakeholders have adopted this philosophy to participate in our initiatives. As we see the results of our efforts – countless lives being improved, doors opening thanks to training and development, and the sick receiving the care they need – we are rewarded and encouraged to keep ‘doing good while doing business’.”


Fundraising efforts in 2015 included the Bigen Africa Annual Golf Day , the proceeds of which were donated to deserving causes. Pictured here are Bigen Africa” CEO Mr Anton Boshoff, and CFO Ms Sulette van Graan, handing over a cheque for R300 000.00 to POPUP CEO Marlene Freislich. POPUP was one of numerous charitable organisations which benefitted from the Akaretsa campaign.

Meaningful, positive and lasting change
As part of Bigen Africa’s CSI drive, the Group has also entered into a partnership agreement with Tshikululu Sustainable Solutions, South Africa’s leading CSI manager. This partnership hones Bigen Africa’s ability to assist its clients to develop social development strategies that are designed to achieve, meaningful, positive and long-lasting change.

“In line with the Group’s vision – to improve quality of life through the development of sustainable infrastructure solutions – projects undertaken help to ensure access to services, reduce poverty, build capacity and generate opportunities for increased economic participation and employment.” says Boshoff. “The cornerstones of this vision are job creation, SMME development, targeted procurement, community liaison through ward councillors, and local labour emancipation and remuneration management.”

In this, partnering with Tshikululu affords Bigen Africa a competitive edge, thereby optimising the economic, social and environmental development impact of infrastructure development projects for governments, clients and communities. Through its in-house capabilities and strategic partnerships, Bigen Africa is able to integrate the entire value chain in providing engineering, management consulting, development financing and advisory services, and has successfully delivered many cost-effective, sustainable infrastructure projects in South Africa and several other African countries. Numerous industry awards attest to Bigen Africa’s unwavering quality focus and service excellence.

Please contact Bigen Africa’s Akaretsa Manager, Gilliam Swiegers on: Tel: +27 12 843 9012 should you wish to make a contribution to this worthy cause.


Dr Snowy Khoza in new role at Bigen Africa


The CEO of infrastructure development company Bigen Africa, Dr Snowy Khoza, has been elevated to Executive Chairperson of the Bigen Group of Companies, effective 1 July 2016. The repositioning allows her more time to increase her involvement on a strategic level, to boost the group’s expansion in and outside the African continent, to deal with international strategic partners and investors, international development-financing institutions and, to chair the company boards within the Bigen group across various sectors.

Outgoing non-executive chairman, Dr Iraj Abedian [who remains a member of the Board], is excited about Dr Khoza stepping into an executive role at a higher level. “She delivered a sterling performance in executing the five-year strategy (S-Vision 2016) cycle which ends this year. Her accolades support the shareholders’ 100% vote to her new position – she was recently recognised as an International African Women in business by London-based Women4Africa and awarded Top Performing Business Leader in South Africa, after receiving a Lifetime Achiever’s Award as one of the most influential women in Africa.”

Snowy looks forward to her new role, underscoring the fact that: “Bigen Africa is in an exciting growth phase – not only are we extending our strategic partnerships to bolster our service offering on the continent, we are also expanding into new sectors such as health. I look forward to a vibrant period in the group’s growth and I thank Dr Abedian for his leadership support and guidance throughout. I am pleased to still have Anton Boshoff as my right hand having worked together for the past six years.”

Anton who has been appointed as CEO says: “It is reassuring to still have our dynamic leader to lead the way in Bigen Africa. Dr Khoza’s track record is impeccable, as reflected by our robust financial results, reach and development impact outcomes of our infrastructure delivery over the past five years.”


Bigen Africa aims for R2 million fundraiser target


Bigen Africa, a solutions-driven infrastructure development Group based in South Africa with a growing Africa footprint, has set itself an ambitious target of R2 million for its Akaretsa fundraising campaign this year. So far, the Group has surprised contributors, beneficiaries, the public (and even itself!) by raising the bar significantly every year since launching Akaretsa in 2013 with its first target of R50 000 – and making target every time!

“Bigen Africa is no stranger to the challenges of fundraising,” says Dr Snowy Khoza, Chief Executive Officer. “The Group’s team of ‘engineers with a conscience’ have shown their total commitment since 2013, when R50 000 was raised and donated to selected non-profit organisations. In 2014, Bigen Africa aimed to raise R500 000 and in 2015, raised the bar even further to R1 million – and achieved these targets every time!”

Spurred on by its highly successful fundraising campaign last year, Bigen Africa decided to double the target amount this year and aim for R2 million.

“In fact, the Group exceeded its target last year, as a result of a very active campaign which included the annual Bigen Golf Day, employee contributions of non-billable time, tithing by management and CSI contributions,” says Dr Khoza. “The Bigen Africa team itself gives generously of its time, effort and funds. However, the Akaretsa campaign is also very generously supported by the Group’s partners, suppliers and other stakeholders, without whom it would not have been possible to make target.”

Making a difference

Proceeds from the Akaretsa campaign are earmarked for various non-profit organisations in the areas where the Group has undertaken infrastructure development projects. Social partners who have benefitted from the 2015 campaign include POPUP; Mamelodi Hospice; Funanani; Word for the Nations Ministries; Saint Theresa’s Parish and the Lighthouse Ministries in Ghana; and In-Community Care for Orphans in Zambia.  Through these funds, most of it generously donated by the Group’s partners and suppliers, these beneficiaries had the means to improve hopeless lives, educate those with no future and care for the terminally ill.

“Bigen Africa is deeply grateful to all contributors whose simple actions of donating have lightened the heavy burdens of many,” says Dr Khoza. “We appeal to our stakeholders and even the public to participate in Akaretsa and again help make a difference to many needy people this year.”

The Akaretsa campaign reflects the inclusive culture of the Group, which partners with stakeholders in both business and CSI initiatives. This year, fundraising activities will include sponsorship of employees in mass participation events such as the comrades and Iron Man, a gala fundraising event, an internal divisional target challenge and encouragement of external donations.

The Group’s enthusiasm for a good cause is inspired by its creed of “doing good while doing business”, which is not only applied to fundraising and CSI, but also in the communities where projects are undertaken. Here, “doing good” means channeling job and procurement opportunities to local community members.

Bigen Africa provides innovative infrastructure solutions at sites across South Africa as well as in several other African countries. With its vision of improving the quality of life through the development of sustainable infrastructure solutions, the Group integrates the entire value chain through in-house capabilities and strategic partnerships, providing engineering, management consulting, development financing and advisory services on cost-effective, sustainable infrastructure projects.

Make your contributions!

Anyone interested in contributing to Akaretsa, can please contact Kesvin Govender on Tel: 012 – 842 8743 or e-mail:


Bigen Africa reports more sustainable growth and exciting prospects

Bigen-Africa-reportsBigen Africa Group’s fourth integrated annual report, for the financial year ended September 2015, provides an overview of sustainable achievements in market penetration, operational efficiencies, financial prudence, enhanced governance protocols and social economic development. Some highlights include:

  • Strengthening of the brand in Africa;
  • Expanding projects pipeline;
  • Deeper involvement in the South African government’s strategic infrastructure programmes;
  • Forging of new partnerships in both private and public sectors across the continent;
  • Achievement of a strong financial performance;
  • Achieved Level 2 BBBEE Contributor status by BEE Verification Agency CC, and
  • Growth in revenue amidst robust economy.

The company’s objective of “doing good while doing business” is now firmly established and has resulted in value-add for communities where infrastructure projects are undertaken, as well as significant tangible benefits for several non-profit organisations.

Bigen Africa initiated many large projects during the year, for both the private and public sectors, including;

  • The Cipla Distribution Centre in Rivergate Park, Cape Town
  • The Clairwood Logistics Park in Mobeni East, Durban;
  • The Clanwilliam Dam wall extension project in the Cederberg Local Municipality,Western Cape;
  • Lufhereng housing project west of Soweto, Gauteng;
  • Infantcare Ward Upgrade at the Sebokeng Hospital, Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng;
  • Upgrading and Extension of Baviaanspoort WWTW, Pretoria; and
  • Maintenance and upgrade plans for 14 museums and monuments in Western Cape.

Bigen Africa’s growth strategy has resulted in a sustainable pipeline of work and the company structure and workforce have been adjusted to accommodate growth.

Bigen Africa’s chairman – Dr Iraj Abedian, said he is ‘grateful to all its stakeholders for their belief in its vision to create wealth and development impact, as well as to Dr Snowy Khoza, Chief Executive Officer for her visionary leadership; Bigen Africa EXCO and management for their commitment and interventions and staff for their dedication, loyalty and support’.

For more information on developments at Bigen Africa, follow the link to access the 2015 Annual Report.


Bigen Africa hones its social-development capability towards delivery of NDP


In a move to hone its ability to assist public and private clients to achieve their infrastructure and social and economic development objectives, leading African infrastructure development company Bigen Africa entered into a partnership with social development company Tshikululu Sustainable Solutions.

“Our objective is to optimise the impact of our social-development activities, because the value of infrastructure development goes far beyond commercial gain – it includes the sustainable and socially desirable benefits it offers communities.  Infrastructure should provide access to services, reduce poverty, build capacity and generate opportunities for increased economic participation and employment. Tshikululu has the experience and skills to optimise our social investments to the benefit of communities in the areas where we manage projects,” says Dr Snowy Khoza, Bigen Africa chief executive officer.

“Tshikululu is excited by the prospect of working with Bigen Africa. Bigen Africa’s social focus is aptly described by their vision, to develop sustainable infrastructure to improve the quality of life, and underpinned by their pay-off line, doing good while doing business,” says Dr Mthandazo Ngwenya, Tshikululu managing director. “This resonates with our own belief of making a lasting social and economic difference to communities.”

At Bigen Africa, project proposals to customers contain five key elements, namely equity, local content and participation, empowerment and transformation outcomes, cultural preservation and social mobility and improvements in quality of life. The company combines these elements to optimise the economic, social and environmental development impact of the project for customers and the communities that benefit from the projects.

Anton Boshoff, Bigen Africa chief operating officer, recalls the Bigen Africa learning curve towards achieving sustainability.

“We worked at root level with people who were not exposed to normal employment opportunities, in rural areas such as Winterveldt, Mabopane, Garankuwa, Temba, Gianyi , Transkei, Venda, Kwandebele. We overcame challenges of the time and to learn the languages, cultures and customs. We realised that infrastructure becomes more sustainable if one is sensitive to local participation – and that local participation can escalate to local economic participation, which can lead to local economic development.

“For these reasons, we set ourselves stringent targets for the business and the impact of our projects on the lives of the communities that we work in. These targets are linked to job creation, meaningful local economic participation in projects through a range of initiatives that focus mainly on SMME development, targeted procurement to include women and the youth, community liaison to improve communication to communities through ward councillors, and local labour emancipation and remuneration management in consultation with the larger contractors, SMME’s and ward councillors,” says Mr Boshoff.

He says the Tshikululu-Bigen partnership offers a holistic approach through best practice focussed on outcomes-orientated solutions that offer customers peace of mind.

“Tshikululu achieves success by helping its clients to develop social development strategies that are designed to achieve meaningful, positive, and long-lasting change. We develop customised performance-management systems and plan for improvement by conducting specialist reviews of individual projects and broader programmes. These three elements foster understanding of the impact of social-investment initiatives,” says Dr Ngwenya.

Tshikululu currently manages five of the top ten corporate funds with the greatest development impact as ranked by NPOs and three of the top 10 as ranked by corporates in South Africa. The company has more than R2 billion under fund management and has achieved unqualified audits from Deloitte for the past 17 years.

Bigen Africa has been involved with mega projects throughout Africa and has recently expanded its legal and physical presence from South Africa, Namibia and Botswana to include Zambia and Ghana.

“The experience and objectives of both Bigen Africa and Tshikululu make them ideal to participate in the government’s National Development Plan, an ambitious project that aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030,” says Dr Khoza.

The plan will be project-managed to draw on the energies of the South African people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society. This will result in creating more jobs, empowering people through skills development, expanding economic infrastructure, developing sustainable communities and advancing social cohesion.

At this stage, government plans for infrastructure spend over the next three years include:

  • R38 billion on basic education infrastructure;
  • R108 billion for public housing;
  • R102 billion on water resources and bulk infrastructure; and
  • R30 billion to strengthen and improve the national non-toll road network.

Bigen Africa has been lauded for its meaningful contribution to social and economic development. The company bases its decisions on a social development theory adopted by South Africa and most African countries in infrastructure development, namely to achieve qualitative changes in the structure and framework of households, communities, societies and countries to better realise their aims and objectives in improving the quality of life. The company strives to drive social and economic change through a better understanding, knowledge and application of clients’ expectations of development impacts.

“This approach supports the essence of sustainable development as expressed in a frequently-used definition, namely to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” says Dr Khoza.

Examples of sustainable-development projects undertaken by Bigen Africa include:

  • The Roodeplaat Temba Water Supply Scheme within the Pienaars River Government Water Scheme and the Zeekoegat Waste Water Treatment Plant, which created construction jobs to local labourers, a reduction in water services backlogs and the drastic improvement in the quality of water provided, which improved the quality of life of community members.
  • The upgrading and extension of the water and sewage treatment works and the utilisation of local water resources within the Greater Rustenburg Region through the Rustenburg Water Services Trust to provide 28 Ml/day of industrial water to mines and 12 Ml/day of potable water to the Rustenburg Local Municipality. The project created construction jobs and enabled Rustenburg to further develop the town.
  • The construction supervision and administration of the Abstraction, Treatment and Bulk Distribution of Water from the Lower Thukela River to Ilembe District Municipality, which provide the infrastructure required to abstract, treat and distribute raw water from the Thukela River to the existing network to provide water for various district and local municipalities.

Landmark projects undertaken by Tshikululu include:

  • The design and deployment of one of the first capacity-building public-private partnerships in conjunction with Department of Health in the Free State, as a sub-recipient of a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant. The programme saw district Department of Health managers being mentored by leaders in the private sector. Appetite for the programme has seen it being extended to a further five districts.
  • Tshikululu successfully assisted Scatec Solar in the strategic development and management of its three solar plants under the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. Scatec aspires that each host community comes to value the presence of the renewable energy project as an asset – not only as a producer of environmentally sustainable electricity, but as a significant contributor to the social and economic well-being of the community itself. Tshikululu’s SED management is to be used to guide and inform all SED development in each of the targeted communities going forward.
  • Tshikululu assisted Mainstream, a European wind and solar photo-voltaic producer, to develop a corporate foundation to support educational initiatives and fund a bursary programme, included drafting trust deeds and a strategy for the foundation and developing a bursary programme.

Current projects that can immediately benefit through increased development impact from this partnership include the following:

  • Raising of Clanwilliam Dam by the Department of Water and Sanitation
  • Various large scale integrated housing developments, such as Lufhereng and Leeupoort, delivering in access of 40,000 affordable housing units. (ENDS)



Bigen Africa COO, Anton Boshoff elected to CESA board

Anton Boshoff, Chief Operating Officer of the Bigen Africa Group, has been elected a member of the Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) Board.

Anton Boshoff, Chief Operating Officer of the Bigen Africa Group, has been elected a member of the Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) Board.

In his current role as COO of Bigen Africa, he is responsible for strategic planning, risk management, project integration, the Group’s Africa expansion programme, mergers and acquisitions.

Bigen has developed many cost effective solutions on the continent with a passion for “Doing Good while doing Business”. The company has grown a solid reputation for service excellence, high ethics and undertaking projects with strong social development outcomes such as improved access to services, reduction in poverty, community empowerment, capacity building, regional integration and indigenisation.

Under his leadership as commercial director for the company, the company and management team has won numerous awards in recent years as testimony to its business excellence including the National Business Awards: Infrastructure Development Company of the Year 2015, various annual CESA Business Excellence awards, PMR Gold and Bronze awards, Impumelelo Award for Empowerment, Ten Best Companies to work for, SA Top 300 Managed Companies, Top 2 Managed Engineering Companies

“I am very blessed and honoured by this appointment,” says Boshoff. “For me personally, and for Bigen Africa, being associated with CESA and its stringent code of conduct is a huge honour. Bigen Africa similarly upholds the highest level of business ethics.”

CESA is the hallmark of credibility in South Africa, charged with the role of promoting excellence in the consulting engineering industry on behalf of its members. Through its members, it seeks to continuously improve the quality of life for all people, by interpreting the environment and pioneering change in partnership with all its key stakeholders.

All members are obliged to comply with CESA’s strict Business Integrity Management System (BIMS) as a condition of membership.

“Bigen Africa appreciates CESA’s commitment to integrity and, Bigen Africa’s vision to be the preferred African provider of sustainable infrastructure solutions improving quality of life, also resonates with CESA’s mission to improve the quality of life for all South Africans by promoting engineering excellence,” says Boshoff.

Boshoff has completed BEng (Civil) and Project Management qualifications, and is a member of the South African Institute of Civil Engineers; South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions; and Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa.