Stakeholder relations

The Board has ultimate accountability for stakeholder strategy and engagement, recognising that developing and nurturing dialogue with key stakeholders is a driver of business sustainability.

Stakeholder relations

The Board acknowledges that Blue Label’s relationship with its stakeholders is a core capital, as defined by the framework for International Integrated Reporting. The responsibility for satisfactory stakeholder relationships vests with every employee in the Group, as we consider a good reputation to be a competitive advantage, which affords the Group the ability to create additional value.

We approach stakeholders with trust and respect and look to them for the same mutual good faith. A broad range of internal and external stakeholders with a material or potential interest in, or who are affected by us, have been identified.

We recognise the importance of identifying issues of a shared interest, but also value the opportunity for engagement, as it provides a unique insight into the expectations of each stakeholder group. We apply a measured approach to interacting with and responding to stakeholders, with a view to establishing enduring relationships. A stakeholder engagement programme has been formalised for key stakeholder groupings. This process takes into account the impact that each stakeholder group may have on our business, ensuring that the frequency and form of engagement is aligned to its estimated impact.

Some of the initiatives and methods used in the process of engaging with stakeholders comprise: face-to-face formal or informal, individual or group meetings (including the AGM), media and securities exchange news announcements, presentations, roadshows, telephone and conference calls, the Blue Label website ( za), investor site and trade visits. We rely on the results of perception studies, independent research, reputation audits, whistleblowing facilities and formal grievance mechanisms as well as financial and sustainability reports. In addition, we initiate newsletters, circulars and e-mail updates, regular customer, business partner and supplier meetings, below and above-the-line advertising and marketing across various channels, formal consultations and audit processes, and host management and sales conferences. Dialogue, review and feedback are encouraged wherever possible, which in turn are presented to Exco for consideration.

Prior to financial year-end, Blue Label announced a part-sponsorship of the national Springbok Rugby team, primarily in order to raise visibility and awareness of the name “Blue Label Telecoms”. Sponsorship rights enabled the Company to brand its name on the Springbok rugby jersey and in numerous on- and off-field advertising exposures.

Blue Label’s stakeholder engagement programme supports its efforts to be a successful, stable and ethical company contributing to the economic growth of the communities in which we operate.

In terms of King III and the Board’s requirement to address stakeholder management, the Board’s approach to stakeholder engagement includes:

  • identifying and engaging with important stakeholders;
  • appreciating that stakeholder perceptions affect reputation, and therefore managing reputation risk;
  • delegating to management the responsibility to deal with stakeholder relationships;
  • overseeing the mechanisms and processes for the constructive engagement of stakeholders;
  • disclosing stakeholder engagement in the integrated annual report;
  • striving to achieve a balance of stakeholders’ legitimate expectations in the best interests of the Group; and
  • ensuring equitable treatment of shareholders.

Stakeholder group   Nature of engagement   Method of engagement   Dialogue process and outcomes


– investing in the development of our people


Continuous communication with employees covers matters of a strategic, financial and operational nature, including new developments, product launches, health and safety initiatives, internal policies and practices such as the ethics hotline, competitions, business initiatives, charitable initiatives, human resource matters, staff wellness, staff-related news and regulatory and compliance matters.

Blue Label also holds an annual off-site conference attended by Directors and Senior Management. The purpose of the conference is to obtain input and feedback from attendees on strategic and common operational matters. Subsidiaries host their own management, sales and strategy conferences at least once a year.


Staff meetings, newsletters, posters, e-mails, staff notices posted on notice boards, in the canteen and in elevators, lunch and coffee station discussions, management presentations and briefings of strategy updates, financial and personal performance.

For those staff based in outside regions, access to relevant information is directed via the MyTrack portal. Other forms of engagement include wellness days, a carnival day, blood donor drives, health campaigns, the year-end awards ceremony, and social events with employees, customers and service providers. More details are provided in the human capital section on human capital.

From time to time, keynote and motivational speakers are invited to address discussion groups, breakaway sessions and team building exercises.


Newly appointed staff attend an induction programme held at the beginning of each month.

Innovation in our entrepreneurial environment is nurtured and motivation and values are reinforced in a safe and rewarding environment. Focus is on balancing the organisation’s entrepreneurial spirit with a structured work environment by streamlining processes and procedures in a relatively flat organogram and an open communication system.

Staff performance is reviewed bi-annually with the intention of measuring performance and reviewing salaries. There is a forum to which staff may make recommendations and/or requests.

External training, coaching and mentoring programmes are available to staff on the recommendation of their line manager.

See Social practices for more details.

Providers of capital, including shareholders, institutional and retail investors and financial analysts
– delivering value to Blue Label’s shareholders


Engagement includes ongoing and/or ad hoc meetings with senior management, involving presentations and discussions covering Group financial performance, overview of strategic direction and the investment proposition.

Visits to head office and the warehouse at No 75 Grayston Drive and to a local shopping centre, merchant trading grounds and our customers’ sites are arranged on request.

Individuals from this stakeholder group and their contact details are registered on the Blue Label investor database.

Questions received via telephone or e-mail are answered expediently, with a return time of no longer than 48 hours from receipt, with due regard of close periods.


Management undertakes local and international roadshows to existing and prospective institutional investors and analysts, at which one-on-one and group meetings take place.

Integrated annual report, interim report and AGM.

The highlights of the interim and year-end results are published in the press as a short-form advertisement, with the long form posted on the website.

Material announcements are issued through SENS via the JSE.

Ad hoc face-to-face meetings, group meetings, teleconference and videoconference calls with management and/or the Head of Investor Relations.

Speaker and presenter at investor conferences, JSE showcases and other workshops.

Investor alerts are e-mailed to those registered on our database.

Other activities as arranged by sell-side analysts, banks and financial communication and media houses.


To address this stakeholder group’s request to increase its understanding of the business model, the geographies and markets in which we operate, as well as the five categories of products and services distributed, management is available to take meetings and conference calls throughout the year, subject to close period dates. Presentations and webcasts are posted on the website.

A warehouse, situated at No 75 Grayston Drive, can be visited by prior arrangement.

Visits are arranged to local markets, petroleum forecourts, retail outlets, Mom & Pop stores and malls, where our merchants’ activities can be witnessed. By prior arrangement the truck and footsoldier model can be seen in action in nearby local communities. Visits of this nature were held in and around Johannesburg during the year.


– enhancing innovation


The Group’s customer base comprises corporate clients, chain stores, petroleum forecourts, large independent retail clients, wholesale/ cash-and-carry stores, and Mom & Pop stores.

Engagement involves servicing customers, through a dedicated call cycle where face-to-face meetings take place at which sharing of information on new products, market research and trends, business queries and other growth opportunities are discussed. Field technicians are deployed to assist customers with technical support and installation of terminals. Outbound calls to merchants measure customer satisfaction scores regarding touch points, trade marketing and Blu Approved branding.

Senior Management liaises regularly with its customers and supplier counterparts and, in so doing, continues building and strengthening long-term relationships, which in turn, enhances growth opportunities.

Merchants are categorised into three service tier groupings – gold, silver and bronze.


A dedicated, national helpdesk operating daily from 07:00 to 21:00, with a team of customer relationship and technical support consultants.

Face-to-face formal and informal meetings, as well as formal consultation.

The Group has a CRM system, self-help facilities and dedicated CRCs to enhance its customer engagement service. Customer satisfaction surveys are carried out across all customer segments on a regular basis.

Differing levels of after-sales service is offered in each customer tier.


Price and value for money drive the relationship with this stakeholder group. FAQs by customers usually involve technical matters or account queries. It is essential that queries are expeditiously resolved in order to impart a greater sense of value to the customer. A call-out is logged for technical matters and a technician will visit the site within 24 to 48 hours. Account queries that require escalation are dealt with by a CRC who will visit the merchant. The contact centre reports regular updates to the merchant base through SMS and e-mail communications.

CRCs and regional managers maintain good relationships through a scheduled call cycle that ensures open communication and updates on new product offerings. Support is also provided for POS material, branding, minor repairs and maintenance. Emphasis is placed on upselling and cross-selling opportunities within the Group’s products and services. Differentiating service levels incentivise merchants to upgrade to a higher level, enhancing their value proposition in selling more of our products and services.

Business partners and suppliers
– we collaborate to enhance the end customer’s experience


The relationships with business partners such as Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Telkom, Eskom, municipalities, utilities, parastatals, event, concert and sport organisers, transport providers, commercial banks and merchant acquirers, as well as service providers are managed in terms of written distributor and/or dealer agreements. The nature of agreements are generally long term.

Relationship managers are appointed to each partner to provide a single and dedicated point of contact.

Suppliers are managed in a formal procurement process, during which issues such as quality of product, creditworthiness and B-BBEE status are confirmed, prior to their appointment. Suppliers of services are, if appropriate, initially engaged through a tender process and, where successful, agreements are concluded. The majority of the Group’s goods and services are procured from locally based suppliers.

Engaging this group of stakeholders also provides a platform for product innovation, as well as line of sight into indicative market supply and demand trends.

Existing trading relationships with the network operators afford the Group a clear line of sight into cross- and up-selling opportunities.


Written distributor and/or dealer agreements.

Formal and informal meetinngs.

Site visits are held on request.

Supplier relationships may transform into customer service arrangements.


We recognise the need to work co-operatively in order to ensure quality and value for money in products and services. Adherence to contract terms and conditions and full payment for goods delivered and services rendered, are key to maintaining sound relationships with this stakeholder group. Matters raised pertain mostly to technical and operational issues, which are resolved timeously thereby ensuring a smooth service delivery.

Supplier relationships may transform into customer service arrangements.

Communities, educational institutions and research organisations

– participating with leaders in the communities in which we operate


By deepening our understanding of the interests of the communities in which we operate, we enhance trust and strengthen relationships.

The TPC community channel specialises in the development and empowerment of broadbased communities through the deployment of mobile technology and products. The community channel aims to distribute the Group’s products more widely, to create job opportunities for members of the communities and to share a portion of the revenue with them.

Senior Management, such as the Group Head of Human Resources and the Head of Investor and Media Relations, also engage regularly with the business community, professional associations and research organisations across various levels.

The Joint CEOs and Senior Management are involved in collaborative projects and workshops with local and international business and secondary schools.

Management also takes cognisance of the published works of Financial Technology Partners LP, Frost and Sullivan, and the Institute for Futures Research at the University of Stellenbosch. The outputs of relevant print, electronic and social media monitoring services are also noted.

The Joint CEOs are regularly recognised for their contributions to entrepreneurialism, business development and the community at large, if not as award recipients, then as judges. Some accolades are listed in each of their biographies on page 18.


Formal and informal meetings and forums.

Training and workshops. Outreach programmes, as requested.

Presentation at conferences, participation in panel and roundtable discussions.

Addressing public conferences, roundtable sessions on best practices, governance and sustainability.

Frequent engagement with lecturers, students and scholars at formal and informal settings. Case studies assist the Group and the community in gaining a better understanding of developments, challenges, achievements and failures.

The Group, represented by Executive Directors or Senior Management, frequently participates in group discussions with the community on business entrepreneurialism and administration.


The Group supports making responsible contributions to broader societal issues, be it through its charitable donations, CSI spend or in developing our business model among communities. See page 71 for more detail.

The communities in which the TPC community channel operates mainly focuses on the upliftment of their communities, the enhancement of skills and the delivery of services in their mostly rural areas. These issues are directly addressed by the community channel, in focusing on providing services, creating job opportunities and stimulating economic upliftment.

These opportunities provide extramural stimulus for senior staff and enable them to extend their knowledge, mentoring reach and networks.

This provides the Group access to talented individuals, while gaining direct line of sight into academia, where it may be able to offer and receive learning.


Members of the media, including journalists, reporters and editors
– engaging with outsiders to our business who may have difficulty understanding our activities


Briefings to media are held at the interim and full-year results, followed by Q&A. One-on-one interviews are conducted on radio, TV and with print and online journalists and editors.

Ad hoc requests for interviews and participation in panel discussions.

Daily media monitoring assists the Group in understanding the reach, interpretation and needs of this stakeholder group.


News releases are distributed to media and news services both locally and overseas, as per a database maintained by the Company.

Print, online, broadcast and social media monitoring is outsourced and reports of coverage are received and distributed daily among business segments, as appropriate.

A media agency is engaged to assist the Group in maximising its news-worthy activities.


Mid-cap companies do not readily gain news coverage. To raise this stakeholder group’s interest and awareness of the scope of business, products and services, media briefings and trade visits, were held throughout the year.

Numerous interviews with Senior Management resulted in articles being published in the press, clips aired on radio and TV, on subjects such as profiles of the CEOs, Group financial performance, various new products such as ticketing and prepaid water, and the recently proposed subscription for equity in a recapitalised Cell C.

Management participates on radio and TV at the release of interim and year-end financial results.

Government, regulatory bodies and the public sector

– we believe in partnering with regulators


The Group regularly engages national and local government, parastatals and other public organisations through various tender processes.

From a compliance perspective, the completion and rendition of statutory returns are undertaken diligently.

Blue Label is not a member of any industry association or national/international advocacy organisation in which the Company has positions in governance bodies, participates in projects or committees or provides substantive funding.

The Group occasionally consults the Department of Labour and physically lodges returns at the CIPC to expedite registration.


Formal personal meetings, written communications and tender processes.

The Group takes cognisance of the implications of the B-BBEE Codes of Best Practice.

Meetings are held covering matters such as health and safety, employment equity, and the Codes of Best Practice.

Meetings are held covering matters such as health and safety, employment equity, and the Codes of Best Practice.

The Group meets all its statutory filing obligations in respect of the Department of Labour, CIPC, SARS, etc.


Our sound reputation is our licence to operate and we therefore have to uphold our stature with all stakeholders.

During the year under review no prosecutions were brought against the Group for the contravention or non-compliance of any laws or regulations.