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Wrapping up women’s month: a message from the CEO

September 2020

South Africa marks Women’s Month every year in August, and Women’s Day on the ninth of this particular month. As a country, we remember and pay tribute to the more than 20,000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 to protest against the extension of the then Pass Laws.

‘A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water,’ said Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States from 04 March 1933 to 12 April 1945, during her husband Franklin D Roosevelt’s four terms in office. As we wrapped Women’s Month in August, I thought of the many strong women in our company and the appropriateness of this saying. Currently, 54 percent of our total Networks Unlimited employees in South Africa are women, while in the whole of Africa, the number is 56.7 percent.

I would like to pay particular attention to the women in our management team, including Kameshre Pillay, HR manager; Risna Steenkamp, General Manager for ESM; Siyandiswa Mthanti, Marketing Manager; and Cherilyn Stoltz, Internal Sales Team Manager. Thank you all for your contributions to our company - they are invaluable, and always appreciated.

I need to point out that it is not simply a case of Networks Unlimited empowering women, but also a case of NU’s powerful women inspiring and galvanising those with whom they interact, both at work and through other outreach occasions. I would like to earmark one recent initiative which highlights the efforts that are made by the women in our team in going the extra mile.

As an NU partner, you will be aware that our company has a 53 percent broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) partnership with The Love Trust, a local non-profit educational organisation that supports vulnerable children in disadvantaged communities through educational and community upliftment support.

Among other facilities, the organisation has established a school in Tembisa, namely Nokuphila School, which provides quality education, supplemented by quality nutrition and access to transport, to underprivileged and vulnerable children there. Recently, Risna Steenkamp, together with the ESM team and our partner NETSCOUT, took part in a very worthy initiative at Nokuphila School.

In Risna’s own words: “A group of us from NU and NETSCOUT got together as part of Women’s Month to give away 29 sanitary hampers to some of the older girls at Nokuphila school, as well as an extra hamper for the school itself. This is because it is a harsh reality that disposable sanitary products are prohibitively unaffordable for many girls and women.

“The South African Human Rights Commission notes that women’s reproductive health is not just a women’s issue, but a societal issue. The product pricing constraint may result in women and girls in our country being denied basic human rights, including both dignity and education opportunities. And so it is our hope that because of our effort this past Women’s Month, the young women at Nokuphila School, under the umbrella of our worthy B-BBEE partner, will be able to continue their education and won’t have to miss school days at key moments due to lack of funding.”

Once again thank you to Risna, NetScout and the rest of the team for this worthy effort. Here at Networks Unlimited, we are always proud to show our ongoing commitment towards building up South Africa by helping to advance some of its most vulnerable children in their brave march towards a brighter future.

Warm regards

Anton Jacobsz
CEO

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