In March Ali Smeeton travelled to Tshwaranang to meet Mama Sofia who started the Tshwaranang Center for the Disabled in 2001.

Having just retired, Mama Sofia found the Moemaneng community needed a caring facility for children and young adults with disabilities.  Mama Sofia opened the centre with five children and it now provides food, shelter and education to 40 persons with disabilities.

Last month Ali Smeeton was asked by Lynette, director of Sparta, to help Mama Sofia.  Mama Sofia and her volunteers were to be trained on how to provide an education for the children and adults and to find 13 wheelchairs.

Tammy Jordaan, an occupational therapist at the Arise & Shine Centre for children with disabilities in Umhlanga  and Margaux d’Hangest d’Yvoy,  an Occupational Therapist at the Ethembeni School in Valley of a Thousand Hills, KZN we brought in to help.

On arriving at the Centre, Ali was overwhelmed at the work Mama Sofia and her team were doing and also their need for assistance.  Mama Sofia as asked to list the top five things she needed and she mentioned: Tables, chairs, large nappies, plastic covered mattresses and big pots.  I Can! was expected to train the staff  but many basic needs were not being met.

It took six hours to measure the children/adults for wheelchairs.  And Mama Sofia and her team were trained on a caseload of educational games.

I Can! will return to screen the children/adults and separate them into an early childhood development, academic stream  and skills groups.  Mama Sofia will be assisted in designing design a schedule to ensure that each child/adult and their full potential.

Thanks to Sparta for sponsoring airfares and bringing I Can! to be part of the centre. Also, thank you to Tammy and Margaux for their help with the wheelchairs.  And finally, thanks to Ethembeni School and Arise & Shine.


I Can! together with our partners Khulisani and PMI held the first Client Information sessions in last month in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg where our three biggest academies are situated. This was not only to provide our clients with an opportunity to visit our academies and meet our learners, but also to learn more about the new BBBEE codes.

Our guest speaker, John Botha, has spent the last 6 years at NEDLAC as a business representative. He is also a consultant in transformation, human capital development and labour law. Mr. Botha discussed the impact that the new BBBEE codes will have on companies that are not proactive, innovative and who do not adopt an integrated approach to BBBEE.

He predicted that the amended codes and the changes to the acts  may result in the average verification will become level 7. It may also result in a 15-20% staff cost increase and a 4-10% increase in referrals to conciliation and arbitration to name but a few.

Mr. Botha urged that all companies need to act now and will have to address the following administrative matters immediately:

  • Revisit entire BBBEE strategy.
  • Draft and maintain a risk statement.
  • Update fixed-term contracts,
  • Update TES Service Level Agreements.
  • Arrange an audit of TES.
  • Begin an investigation into equal treatment risk exposure and

strategic options to minimize risk & employee cost increases.

  • Review IR policies such as retrenchments, employment equity and  similar issues.
  • Establish impact on collective agreements.
  • Commission and audit into the entire employment equity compliance domain on the basis of the requirements of the DG review.
  • Draft new a-typical employment and equal treatment/pay for work of equal value policies.

Finally, he explained the priority elements on the new BBBEE scorecard and how companies can use Skills Development as an anchor to approach BBBEE. According to Mr. Botha, companies can target 85 points with a single integrated strategy and address a priority element. By utilizing I Can’s proposition, companies can be assured to gain maximum points on the required spend as well as impact the lives of people with disabilities.

See CNBC interview with John Botha discussing the impact of the new labour law and BBBEE amendments on local business.



Newly amended BBBEE Codes were published by the dti minister, Dr Rob Davies on 11 October 2013 and will be used to verify businesses whose financial year ends 10 October 2014. The codes will replace the existing BEE codes of Good Practice. Those businesses that are verified after October 2014 will be subject to the amended codes.

The amended codes are fairly similar to the existing codes, although some weightings and names of some elements have been changed.  There is a general improvement in the targets which should result in better transformation. More points on skills development can be earned than ever before showing the importance of skills development in the economy and we see this as a positive move.

Amended generic principles include:

  • A generic scorecard adjusted in accordance with government key priorities.
  • Five scorecard elements with employment equity and management control as well as  consolidation of preferential procurement and enterprise development.
  • Broad based groups elevated into the main ownership scorecard.
  • All companies except Exempted Micro Enterprises to comply with all elements.
  • Scorecard points and qualification criteria for awarding of B-BBEE status levels seriously adjusted.
  • Employment equity and management control merged into one element: Management Control (MC) weighted at 15 points collectively.
  • Preferential procurement and enterprise development merged into one element: Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) weighted at 40 points collectively
  • Importantly, skills development has been increased to 6% of payroll spend and the 0.3% of payroll spend for persons with disabilities has been retained but the weighting has been increased to four points from the previous three.
  • Introduced minimum requirements of priority elements: Ownership, skills development, and enterprise and supplier development, with the implication that if these are not achieved the overall verification level will dilute by one point.
  • The thresholds for exempted micro enterprises and qualifying small enterprises have been adjusted to R10m and R50m turnover per annum respectively.
  • Enhanced the recognition status of black owned EMEs and QSEs.

The amended BBBEE codes will probably result in the average verification level being a level 7 for those businesses who are not innovative or who do not adopt an integrated approach to BBBEE

I Can! will be hosting a ‘Client Info Sessions’ nationally in January and have invited John Botha to present on the amended B-BBEE codes.  John has spent the last six years at NEDLAC as a business representative and who is a consultant in transformation, human capital development and labour law.

For more on revised scorecards B-BBEE recognition, see full dti report:



One of I Can!’s clients in Durban, Super Clean (Shanela Cleaning Services) agreed to give our hygiene and cleaning learners from the Prospecton Academy some on-site practical work experience. On Monday 18 November, 28 learners arrived at the Super Clean offices in Morningside.

The learners were introduced to the company and explained how their week of training was going to work. The learners were divided into different groups and allocated to a different area manager.

Later in the morning they were issued with uniforms for the training and taken out to their sites and introduced to the Super Clean team that they would be working with for the week. The learners spent the week learning a variety of new skills – from cleaning floors and offices, to bathrooms and kitchens, and gaining knowledge about the different cleaning materials to be used on different surfaces.

A BIG THANK YOU to Super Clean management for affording our leaners the opportunity of going on-site for a week with their cleaners and gaining valuable experience to improve their cleaning skills! A special mention of appreciation to Chantal Rammanhor and Siza Khumalo for their assistance. All the learners really enjoyed the experience and are motivated to doing well as they work towards completing their learnership in March next year.


In 2013 one of our clients, Capacity Outsourcing, began a new pilot program for a group of our intellectually disabled learners that had completed the Domestic Services learnership on ABET Literacy 1.  Capacity  has over the last 3 years sponsored 40 plus learners with a disability on a learnership.

We have identified a massive need for our learners with an intellectual disability to do ABET and asked Capacity to partner with us to pilot the first group.  Capacity  then took it one step further and approached one of their clients, Pharma Natura, to provide our ABET learners with the valuable work-place experience that they require.

Pharma Natura agreed to allow our learners onto their site.  The learners attended classes twice a week and worked at Pharma Natura twice a week.  The learners rotated among several workstations including the kitchen, admin department and the production line.  Prior to the learners starting at Pharma Natura, I Can! ran complementary Sensitisation Workshops with its line managers.

This project has been a huge success.  Not only did the learners do extremely well in their ABET exam, but they flourished with the opportunity to gain workplace experience.  The feedback from the Pharma Natura managers was how “capable” the learners were! Pharma Natura have expressed interest in employing some of the learners!

Thank you to Pharma Natura and Capacity Outsourcing for providing our learners with this wonderful opportunity!

If you would like to participate in this program, either by sponsoring ABET for persons with disabilities or providing our learners with workplace experience, please contact Ali Smeeton on 0846050821.


People with disabilities are often overlooked as working in the manufacturing/engineering environment as companies presume they will not have the ability to perform at the same level as an able bodied person would. In the past we have shown that disabled employees can in fact out-perform non-disabled employees at various jobs or tasks for example, counting, queue management and archiving.

The Hearing Impaired Artisan Development Project was a pilot project aimed to investigate the possibility of a disabled persons working in the manufacturing/engineering environment as a skilled tradesperson as well insight into some of the challenges experienced by both learners and facilitators.

The workshop was conducted at PMI technical Training in Jet Park during the last week of August 2013. This facility is a state of the art accredited technical training centre that specializes in Artisan Development for the Engineering and Mining sector.

The group of learners consisted of ten hearing impaired youths between the ages 20 and 24 of which half were females and half males. All candidates had completed a business practices learnership through I Can! within the last few months. They were also accompanied by a female sign language interpreter. The learners were left in the capable hands of seasoned Boilermaker instructor Lafras Muller, a 30-year veteran trainer and ETDP (Education and Training Development Practitioner) and Electrical Instructor Patrick Weitz.

The learners were exposed to two different trades;  Plater/Welder(Boilermaking) and Electrical.  After undergoing a general safety induction the learners immediately got started. The facilitators had pulled unit standards from the full qualification and adapted them for the purposed of this intervention. Each exercise had a theoretical as well as a practical component. This was done to ensure that the learners were comfortably familiar and worked safely with the equipment.

This intervention can definitely be seen as a counseling setting in that it addresses key issues and biases which may often create a divide within the work context. It looks at the assumptions people make about each other and how we are often mistaken in our assumptions. 

Key problem areas were identified that can be used as building blocks for future interventions.   Suggestions from the facilitators to be considered:

  • When in the workplace these learners will need to be paired with mentors that can communicate in sign language, alternatively instructions will need to be given by means of writing them down.
  • Developing a qualification that is more practically based would suit these learners better.
  • With regard to Artisan learnerships for these learners, one will first have to up skill one person with a hearing impairment as a qualified trainer (minimum of 4 years) who can then facilitate training for Deaf groups.
  • Alternatively current trainers need to be taught sign language which may be much quicker than training up a hearing impaired trainer.

What was most interesting was the impact this session had on the facilitators. By the last day they had already learned different ways of communicating with the learners instead of only working through the interpreter.

This report  is very valuable to the I Can! team in order to assess the validity of this exercise as well as to determine the possibility of developing these learners in the engineering field.