From the first day OBC opened its doors for business back in 1987, the aim was to offer customers quality food items and other household necessities at prices they could afford. They also strove to become an integral part of the communities they serve and frequently contributed to local charitable causes. Their contributions were modest at first but as they expanded their footprint, their charitable efforts became more impactful.
According to Tony Da Fonseca, MD of the OBC Group, “having evolved to become one of South Africa’s fastest-growing retailers in the sector, we feel that the time has come to place our charitable efforts onto a more formal and sustainable footing. The current COVID-19 epidemic has prompted us to establish the OBC Thusanang Fund (Thusanang means ‘helping each other’ in Sotho).”
OBC has made a R500 000 in seed capital available but do not see this as a once-off initiative. Even before the official launch of the fund, two OBC franchisees pledged contributions of R25 000 each and added contributions by suppliers, service providers and private individuals brought the fund’s initial capitalisation to R646 000.
Because the current restrictions will have caused administrative backlogs at the CIPC, OBC have decided to launch the Fund informally at first but will be looking to register it as a charitable institution as soon as the situation has normalized.
In the meantime OBC has started to assemble hampers filled with basic foodstuffs for distribution to the needy through their national stores network. The Fund’s starting capital will pay for 3 000 hampers. To ensure that deserving recipients receive them, they will either use SASSA’s databases, work with local churches or a mix of both, says Da Fonseca. “It’s a promising start but more is needed. That is why we are asking our suppliers to also assist as well as encourage our franchisees, their staff and our stores’ customers to contribute to the OBC Fund to the best of their ability.”
Until such time as the Fund is registered with the CIPC, initial donations will not be tax deductible but weighting this up against the reality that millions of South Africans go hungry and need relief NOW, red tape will have to take a back seat. Substantial donations will be individually acknowledged and recognized in OBC’s newsletters and in an Honours Roll to be displayed at all their stores. Their auditors will also certify that all donations received are used exclusively to fill hampers.
“There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that COVID-19 poses the greatest challenge our beloved South Africa has ever faced” concludes Tony da Fonseca. “I, for one, remain convinced that by working together, we can beat it! The way I see it, there is no realistic alternative.
- OBC launches Thusanang Trust Fund - 4th June 2020
- Competition Commission puts an end to shopping mall exclusivity leases - 3rd December 2019
- How store revamps can boost a franchise brand – setting the record straight - 10th October 2019