Airports Company South Africa's Socio-Economic Development (SED)

Airports Company South Africa through its Socio-Economic Development (SED) initiatives seeks to improve quality of life by facilitation and access to sustainable social and economic opportunities. Airports Company South Africa's Socio-Economic Development strategy focuses on Education, Youth and Women Development, Persons with Disabilities, Environmental Sustainability, Employee Volunteerism and Philanthropic Donations.

In the past year, Airports Company South Africa, has spent over R41 million on various projects that are aligned to the country's National Development Plan, the King III report, Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment and the Skills Development Act.

Airports Company South Africa mainly focuses on communities in and around the nine airports, that it operates. The company also contributes to other community development projects around South Africa that meet its SED criteria.  Most of the company's airports fall within poverty nodes, that the government has specifically identified as needing focused intervention.



Komazi high school: Maths & science initiative-Mpumalanga

Tucked away in a rural area between the borders of Swaziland and Mozambique is Inkomazi High School. Like many schools in South Africa, Inkomazi struggled to keep up with the modern way of learning. Being a poor area, IT and internet facilities were out of reach for most learners.

With instant internet access being provided throughout the year, the new facilities have opened many opportunities, for the learners, which they could never dream of before. 

Besides the learning issues, sanitation was also a big concern for the school. Due to lack of toilets learners would stand in queues until they ran out of break time.

Airports Company South Africa intervened by providing the school with 20 modern ablution facilities(10 female and 10 Male). Learners don't have to stand in long ques anymore and the school saw an instant improvement in its results.

Mgezeni high school computer donation

Mgezeni High School in the village of Ntambanani outside Empangeni in KwaZulu Natal, is a newly upgraded technical school. The school however needed the supply, installation and maintenance of ICT equipment for their two ICT centres to enhance their Mechanical, Electrical and Civil Technology curriculum.

Airports Company South Africa in partnership with the Air Traffic Navigation Services, known as ATNS, and the Department of Transport as a shareholder made a combined donation.  In addition, the Department of Transport made a donation of Shova Kalula bicycles as an intervention to improve the learners' mobility and access to the school.

More than 1400 learners currently benefit from the project.  Computer classes at the school are now run with two teachers handling each lesson.  The first teacher conducts the lesson, while the other teacher follows up to ensure that the learners understand what is being taught.

Teacher and learner development programme

Eastern Cape has been identified as one of the worst performing provinces by the Department of Education. Airports Company South Africa took a decision to improve education in the province by introducing a Learner/Teacher Development Programme in East London and Port Elizabeth.

Two schools were identified namely Walmer High School in Port Elizabeth and Umtiza High School in East London. Both schools are within a 5km distance from East London Airport and Port Elizabeth International Airport respectively. The programme, which commenced in April 2017 focuses on Mathematics, Physical Science and Accounting for learners in Grades 10 to 12. Learners continue to attend Saturday and Holiday classes and the teachers also receive capacity and development training.

Nooitgedacht school in Bishops Lavis, Cape Town

To support disadvantaged learners from the Cape Flats, the Nooitgedacht School in Bishops Lavis, Cape Town, needed to find a teaching system that worked for their community. The school adopted an early childhood development programme through a method espoused by Egyptian educator Caleb Gattegno, best known for his innovative approach to teaching and learning.

In order to assist the school to realise its objective, Airports Company South Africa contributed towards the establishment of a specialised reading room.The 'Words in Colour' curriculum, is a teaching method that uses a phonetics-based approach to emphasize letters, symbols and words to accelerate learning.

The system also trains educators to utilize the manuals, workbooks and resources methodology critical to the programme's success. The donated Airports Company South Africa Reading Room is filled with colourful books, toys and other gadgets to help children learn to read and write. 

The new facilities and materials have helped make the learners and educators more confident and awaken their desire for knowledge.

Ludeke Primary school construction programme

Ludeke Primary School in Mbizana, Eastern Cape is one of the oldest Eastern Cape mission schools. Unfortunately, as the years went by, the school which was built with pre-fabricated material, fell into disrepair with ragged floors, broken walls and windows.  Vandals had also added to the damage. 

Community members tried fixing some structures themselves but the school, with its historic legacy, had become a faded jewel. As the school is the alma mater of liberation struggle stalwart Oliver Reginal Tambo, after whom O.R. Tambo International airport was named, Airports Company South Africa became involved by enhancing the infrastructure of the school by building new classroom blocks.

Phase One of the programme was the construction of decent ablution facilities.  The second phase was the completion of a block with two offices and five classrooms. 

The new investments in the school have given an element of pride to both the learners and educators. 



Goodbye Malaria

Airports Company South Africa has partnered with Nandos and Goodbye Malaria with the aim of developing entrepreneurs through retail skills and knowledge development training. This initiative will create the platform for trainees to develop an understanding of the retail industry, staff management, finance and business models, thus allowing them the opportunity to ultimately run their own business.

Airports Company South Africa has provided Goodbye Malaria (GBM) with space for two kiosks, airside and landside, at no cost.  The concept was piloted at O R Tambo International Airport for one year in 2016.  The partnership has been extended for a further two years and the project is now operational in Cape Town International Airport and George Airport.

To date, 18 direct jobs have been created for youth who come from impoverished backgrounds. The youth have received training in various skills relevant for the retail positions. Furthermore, the goods sold at the kiosks are sourced from 100% black women owned businesses.  The funds also go towards fighting malaria in South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland.


As part of the partnership with Wits University, a Socio-Economic Development (SED) project was introduced for a three-year incubation programme targeted at 100 unemployed youth who have a potential to be IT entrepreneurs.

The first business case is based on the following:

•             Access to Application and security of information

•             Digital devices for persons with visual impairments

Five SMME's have been identified by WITS in the visual impaired devices space and internal training at WITS is in progress.

Environmental Sustainability

Due to the potential of airport operations interfering with wildlife habitats, Airports Company South Africa's business operations compels the company to focus on the conservation of wildlife. As such, Airports Company South Africa has formed strategic partnerships with leading non-governmental organisations to support their environmental programmes.

These projects focus on communities adjacent to the airports, while maintaining a link to national programmes. Partnerships with Ezemvelo Wildlife in KwaZulu Natal and BirdLife South Africa are amongst some of the major environmental projects.

Nature Guides Learnership

Airports Company South Africa and BirdLife South Africa, together with the City of Ekhuruleni are in partnership to train twelve youth to become Nature Guides. The City of Ekurhuleni provides a monthly stipend for the learners. The learners, who were all unemployed, will obtain an NQF 2 qualification at the completion of the programme.

In addition, learners will also receive Drivers Licenses, Public Driving Permits and First aid certificates and will be registered as national tour guides with Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The training includes both a practical course that takes place in a Nature Reserve in Phalaborwa and a Field Guides Association of Southern Africa written exam.

Hygiene and environmental programme

As part of the women empowerment and environmental sustainability initiatives, The Socio-Economic Development (SED) department has contracted Kgabotha which converts both virgin and recycled paper into toilet paper. In addition, Kgabotha will produce quality products in turn promoting hygiene in public areas paying particular focus to schools by ensuring that the ablution facilities are clean.

The project will benefit 3 schools around Gauteng and has the potential to uplift women as business owners and empower them to become self-sufficient. This project is aligned to Socio-Economic Development (SED), Supplier and Enterprise Development and the transformational strategy as it supports the emerging black industrialist and will create additional jobs. The intention is to extend the sourced services for the business as well.


Airports Company South Africa in partnership with the Department of Social Development and it focuses on Early Childhood Development programmes for children with disabilities. The project has started with a pilot in three centres in Ndwedwe, Umlazi and Port Shepstone in KZN. All centres have been sponsored with assistive devices. Over and above, the Socio-Economic Development (SED) department continues to support Umzumbe disability centre with the training of the care based assistants and assistive devices for the disabled kids.

South African National Deaf Association (SANDA)

The Socio-Economic Development (SED) department has sponsored SANDA which is the premier, human rights and advocacy organisation of, by and for Deaf people established in 2004.  The organisation epitomises the nucleus of the Deaf sector and represents the socio-economic and developmental aspirations of all Deaf people in South Africa.

As an advocacy organisation, SANDA is at the forefront in promoting and advancing the rights of Deaf people at all levels of society.  The organisation complements the work of government and provides a good basis for partnership particularly in relation to programmes in advocacy, awareness and public education; Deaf education, skills development and scholarship, Deaf arts and culture, economic empowerment; ICT; Deaf women and Deaf youth development programmes as well as mainstreaming of Deaf people in society.



Cape Town Runway Revamp Skills Development Programme

Airports Company South Africa and City of Cape Town signed an MOA in 2013 which is part of the development of land in and around the airport. The development will benefit communities, of Freedom Farm, Malawi Camp and Blikkiesdorp.

The City intends to develop this area specifically for housing. ACSA took this opportunity to empower the community with Community Based Housing skills so that they can build their own homes.

The selection process for the first 50 candidates for the construction skills training is done. CETA has pledged R 5 Million to increase the number of artisans to 100 for this financial year. Construction training for artisans started on the 4th September 2017. The first set of recruits from Blikkiesdorp started their training at the False Bay Westlake campus on 27 September 2017.

As part of the skills development programme, the Blikkiesdorp Football Programme was implemented in Association with the South African Football Association (SAFA) and its objective is to promote social cohesion in the community and to address some of the underlying causes leading to antisocial behavior amongst the youth. Through this programme 23 community members obtained SAFA, CAF and FIFA accredited coaching licenses and 10 community members obtained their SAFA, CAF and FIFA accredited referee licenses.

Consequently, to date there are football administration skills within the communities, which can also serve as an enabler for unemployed community members to earn an income through refereeing games. 26 Football teams from the community received the following items:

  • Referee kits
  • Soccer paraphernalia (whistles, stopwatches, soccer balls, training beacons, goal keeper gloves)
  • Football kits

In total 250 community members benefited directly through this programme.