According to a local media source, the floods wrecked both social and economic damage. More than 40,000 people were displaced, and over 460 lost their lives. Business, too, in the southern province ground to a halt for at least 875 companies, and damage to infrastructure was estimated at more than R20bn (£952bn).
Natural partner of choice
PepsiCo entered the South African market in 1997 with an investment in South African snack manufacturer Simba, wholly acquiring the business in 1999. The $1.7bn acquisition of another South African entity, Pioneer Foods, in March 2020 is one of the largest deals made by PepsiCo outside the US.
The company currently employs around 13,000 South Africans across multiple sites, including more than 40 production facilities, producing key brands like Sasko, Weet-Bix, White Star and LiquiFruit.
Under its global pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) strategy, the company is committed to helping and empowering South Africa’s people, communities and economies, including the establishment of the R600m Kgodiso Development Fund to support education, agricultural activities, disadvantaged emerging farmers and black-owned businesses.
Devendri Adari, PepsiCo Foundation lead for Sub-Saharan Africa, said PepsiCo is aiming to help 50 million people gain access to nutritious foods by 2030 as part of its Food for Good programme.
Adari said the Foundation has partnered with Gift of the Givers to provide social relief and help build resilience in the flood-torn communities of KwaZulu Natal.
He added the Foundation’s ability to “go deep in its communities was a result of the lasting relationships it has with partners on the ground.
At the coalface
“Thanks to strong partnerships with NGOs across the globe, we are able to reach even more communities and individuals. In this case, Gift of the Givers was already on the ground working to help those affected, so it was the natural choice to partner in this endeavour.”
The Gift of the Givers Foundation is an iconic image of the spirit of ‘ubuntu’ – a widely used term meaning ‘humanity towards others’ – working to bring hope and restore dignity to the most vulnerable. Over the past three decades, the non-profit has distributed R4.5bn in aid to 45 countries across the African continent.