Who We Are

Our Purpose

The Trust’s core Purpose is to play an active and value-adding role in socio-economic transformation in South Africa.

Our Ideals

There is visible and acknowledged reduction in economic inequality brought about by the Trust and its various partners;

Black women who have been empowered by the Trust and its partners are publicly acknowledged for their successes;

100% pass rates are achieved by learners and students that the Trust has invested in;

The Trust enjoys status as an independent vehicle for value generation through equity and impact investments in social enterprise innovations that eradicate poverty and inequality;

(As a medium- to longer-term ideal) Recognition as being at the cutting edge of knowledge transfer in transitioning NGOs to social enterprises; and

(As a longer-term ideal) Recognition as having played a key role in making the achievement of Vision 2030 a reality through strategic partnerships focused on systemic economic impact investments.

Our Guiding Principles

In shaping the Trust’s purpose and future direction, the following key points are seen as critical drivers. These address WHAT and HOW the Trust wishes to achieve its purpose:

INNOVATION – In addressing the environmental and social challenges in the area in which it operates, the Trust will seek to use and provide innovative methodologies to ensure sound environmental and social governance;

RISK-TAKING – In achieving its purpose, the Trust looks to methodologies that are creative and non-linear and ground-breaking. This creates a trail of excellence for other corporates and stakeholders to follow and creates the foundation for a LEGACY that benefits all stakeholders – The Trust, the Distell Group, and the beneficiaries participating in programmes;

KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER – The Trust recognises that real and sustainable transformation will occur only where there is an effective transfer of knowledge to the community within which the change is sought. Transfer of knowledge must occur in an innovative manner to ensure that knowledge is deep-rooted;

COMMUNITY INVESTMENT – In order to encourage job creation and better economic opportunities, the Trust recognises that local communities must be supported in business creation and educational development to counter unemployment.

IMPACT MEASUREMENT – The impact of the Trust’s initiatives should be measurable so that we know what difference the Trust is making and so that it can learn and adapt continuously; and

LEGACY CREATION – The Trust looks to long-term change that will result in sustainability in relation to its programmes and the outcomes of those programmes. Programmes or initiatives must be solidly embedded, therefore, for sustainability to be achieved.

Our Values

The Trust has adopted the Distell Group’s set of values with appropriate adaptations. Our values are:

INNOVATION – In addressing the environmental and social challenges in the area in which it operates, the Trust will seek to use and provide innovative methodologies to ensure sound environmental and social governance;

COURAGE – We are courageous in exploring new paths and seeking innovative and entrepreneurial solutions.

INTEGRITY – We always conduct ourselves ethically and demonstrate integrity in everything we do or refrain from doing.

RESPECT – We take cognisance of the views, feelings and opinions of others.

RESPONSIBILITY – We take ownership of our words and actions and safeguard the reputation of the Trust.

BENEFICIARY FOCUS – Along with our partners and executing agencies, we serve our beneficiaries with humility, pride and passion.

COLLABORATION – We take pride in teamwork and respect the expertise of our partners and executing agencies.

Our Vision

The Distell Development Trust has a vision of better-performing schools, substantially improved economic equality, and a significantly higher level of employment in communities where the Trust has invested.

Our Mission

The Mission of the Distell Development Trust is to invest in and help capacitate programmes that take an innovative or entrepreneurial approach to:

Empowering women, particularly black women, in rural communities

Bringing about improvements in education and work-readiness and

Promoting youth employment and entrepreneurship in townships.

How We Work

The Distell Development Trust focuses on the following three strategic imperatives when deciding what initiatives to invest in. These focus areas are appropriately aligned with international, national and Distell Group focus areas.

  1. Empowerment of black women in rural communities
    • Encouraging innovative initiatives that benefit rural black women and restore the dignity of communities.
  2. Education and work-readiness
    • Improving basic schooling.
    • Assisting young people to complete their tertiary studies successfully so that they are better placed to get jobs.
  3. Youth employment and entrepreneurship in townships
    • Working with organisations that help youth to develop suitable skills that enable them to find suitable jobs.
    • Helping potential or prospective entrepreneurs to start businesses and run them successfully.

The Trust has opted for an approach of “Doing a few things well” rather than trying to be “all things to all people”.

The Trust prefers not to accept unsolicited proposals. Rather, the Chief Executive of the Trust and Trustees are constantly on the look-out for programmes or projects that are aligned with one or more of the three strategic imperatives. These initiatives are then approached by the Chief Executive who arranges a face-to-face meeting and one or more visits to the initiative(s) to be able to form a first-hand impression and do “on-site” due diligence. If there are evaluations or impact assessments of the initiatives available, the evaluation is studied as well.

Should the Trust decide to invest, a formal funding agreement is drawn up by the Trust and signed by the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Trust and by a senior officer of the beneficiary party.

The Trust’s financial year runs from 1 July to 30 June each year. The Trust thus budgets for a certain amount of financial investment in each year and is unlikely to exceed this budget.

The duration of the Trust’s commitment can vary between one and three years. Payments are usually made in instalments, and some are contingent upon the achievement of pre-agreed milestones that the beneficiary organisation has to achieve.

Once a memorandum of agreement for funding has been signed by the respective parties to the agreement, the beneficiary organisation has to register as a vendor on the Distell system. This registration process is done on-line. The registration need to happen only once and does not have to be renewed each year.

Mindful of the financial vulnerability of most beneficiary organisations, the Trust’s Administration Co-ordinator tries to ensure that payment is made within 21 working days after the Trust is satisfied that all the administrative requirements have been met.

Our Strategic Framework

Corporate Citizenship

An organization’s “strategy” is essentially its instrument for achieving its purpose, vision and mission. This strategy, therefore, is an instrument for delivering on Distell’s obligations as a corporate citizen while giving effect to the object of the Distell Development Trust (the Trust) as described below.

In respect of corporate citizenship, it has become imperative for corporate entities to act in a way that enhances and empowers the communities within which they operate. This imperative flows from various good-corporate-governance frameworks that have been developed and implemented both locally and internationally. Corporate entities must be seen, therefore, to adhere to good governance principles that are applicable both locally and internationally.

The Distell Group is a corporate presence both locally and internationally. As a significant corporate presence in the South African economy, its operations have the ability to impact the country in a substantial way. Consequently, it is critical that Distell operate in a way that advances the interests of its stakeholders and the country as a whole.

Distell has the ability to advance good corporate citizenship in two ways. First, it is able to advocate for and implement strategies and policies that have a positive effect within its sphere of operation and influence; and, secondly, it has an obligation to comply with the relevant legal and policy frameworks of the environment within which it operates.

Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment

The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Act and the policy and legislative frameworks flowing from that Act together make up the most significant body of legislation and policy within South Africa post 1994. In essence, the Act, together with its empowerment framework, seeks to address the legacy of economic disempowerment that affected and continues to affect many Black South Africans.

Initially focussed on economic empowerment through changing the ownership patterns within the economy, the empowerment framework now provides for the implementation and assessment of empowerment in its broader sense.

Consequently, B-BBEE encompasses a range of aspects, including the empowerment of Black people through training and through the development of communities in order to provide access to the mainstream economy. Ultimately, the Act may be envisaged as a tool that seeks to provide Black people with the means to enter, influence, and participate in the control of the South African economy. Distell therefore has the ability to play a significant role in the positive implementation of B-BBEE – both through its actual compliance and via the actual empowerment that it is able to bring about through the implementation of its policies.

The Distell Development Trust is a key facet of Distell’s recognition of its obligation to be a good corporate citizen and of its ability to make a positive impact within the South African economy. The stated purpose of the Trust is “to play an empowering role in socio-economic transformation in South Africa”. It is vital, therefore, that the Trust identifies the appropriate beneficiaries and interventions that will enable it to achieve its stated objective. The Trust and its operations also have a significant footprint within Distell’s overall empowerment credentials, because the Trust holds ring-fenced equity within Distell Limited through Distell Beverages (Pty) Ltd, and because the beneficiaries of the Trust are ultimately Black South Africans, particularly black women. This enhances Distell’s overall Black-ownership status.

The Trust came into being as a result of a B-BBEE (broad-based black economic empowerment deal) in 2005 between Distell Limited and Wiphold (Women’s Investment Portfolio Holdings). The deal was aimed specifically at providing economic benefits to women (via Wiphold), to Distell staff who had been in the company’s employ for at least one year, and to communities in which Distell does business.

In order to give effect to the deal, a consortium – Wip Beverages – was formed to acquire 15% of South African Distilleries and Wines (SADW), which held all Distell’s operations. Out of this 15%, Wiphold acquired 40%, the Distell Employee Share Ownership Programme Trust (ESOP) acquired 45%, and the Distell CSI Trust acquired the remaining 15%. At the conclusion of the deal in early 2014, Wiphold had gained around R500 million, the ESOP around R600 million, and the Trust’s 15% gained it 2.651 million Distell shares, which are currently worth around R375 million.

Wip Beverages subsequently became Distell Beverages (RF) (Pty) Ltd, and the Distell CSI Trust became the Distell Development Trust. The Trust’s shares are held by Distell Beverages. The Trust may not sell its shares, but the dividends paid twice annually to the Trust may be disbursed for the benefit of selected communities.

The operations of the Trust are governed by the Trust Deed. One of the salient provisions of the Trust Deed is:

6.1 The principal and sole object of the Trust is to identify opportunities with the general aim of advancing BEE ownership and empowerment in the interest of, and for the benefit of, the Beneficiaries. Such object shall include, but not be limited to, providing a vehicle through which the Beneficiaries acquire economic exposure to investments derived from the acquisition of ownership interests in commercial enterprises, subject to the principles contained in and as contemplated in the Code 100 Series.” (See Annexure F)

In the Definitions section, “Beneficiaries” are described as follows:

2.6 “Beneficiaries” means:

2.6.1 the members of a Community who are Black People;

2.6.2 any Public Benefit Organisation established for the sole benefit of Black People and which also directly or indirectly benefits any person detailed in clause 2.6.1 above and;

2.6.3 any association of persons carrying on one or more Public Benefit Activity in South Africa for the sole benefit of Black People and which also directly or indirectly benefits any person detailed in clause 2.6.1 above;

provided that: at least 85% (eighty five percent) of the value of the benefits allocated by the Trust shall accrue, directly or indirectly, to Black People; at least 50% (fifty percent) of the value of the benefits allocated by the Trust shall accrue, directly or indirectly, to Black People, who are women; ‘

As indicated previously, the Trust is thus an important contributor to Distell’s B-BBEE (Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment) score. Its contribution is to the Ownership element rather than the Socio-economic Development element (see more about the Ownership element in Annexure F). The B-BBEE points are awarded as long as the Trust fulfils its mandate. Fulfilment is assessed by Distell’s B-BBEE advisors, who provide an ICPR (Independent Competent Person’s Report). For the 2016-17 period, the Trust accounts for 17 of the 24 points awarded to Distell for Equity Ownership.

Distell’s stated purpose is to “provide unique moments of social enjoyment through the responsible marketing of well-crafted ciders, wines and spirits.” Its mission, among other things, is to ensure that the value it creates “enriches the lives of our people, shareholders and the communities within which we live and work”. Distell has also selected “Care and Contribute” as one of the Group’s six strategic themes. For Distell this means demonstrating that the company is a “caring, responsible corporate citizen who contributes to the countries and communities in which it invests. . . .”

Apart from the requirements of the Trust Deed, the Trust, as an organisation with a national footprint, also needs to be aligned with challenges and approaches identified and adopted internationally, nationally and by the Distell Group.

Internationally, some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are directly relevant, as are some of the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP). For example:

SDG number and descriptionNDP chapter and objective
1 – No poverty11 – Social protection
4 – Quality education9 – Improving education, training and innovation
5 – Gender equality12 – building safer communities
7 – Decent work and economic growth3 – Economy and employment
9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure4 –Economic infrastructure
10 – Reduced inequalities15 – Nation building and Social cohesion

At Distell Group level, a Sustainability Management Framework and Governance Structure commits Distell to a passion for community spirit, which includes such possible outcomes as:

Inspiring and motivating young people to pursue their dreams through a variety of programs including community service;

Seeing social challenges as opportunities for innovation; and working actively with partners to address social challenges.

Our Board of Trustees

Independent Chairman and Trustee (M Com)

Lisle Svenson

Lisle Svenson

Currently a lecturer and co-ordinator of graduate and undergraduate courses in Strategic Management and Introduction to the Economy and Business at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Lisle has over 8 years’ lecturing experience and 12 years’ experience in Business and Management Consulting. Prior to joining UWC, she served as Operations Director at Developmentnomics Pty Ltd. Her research interest includes Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (with a focus on inclusive development and supply chains), sustainable business models, empowerment of women, youth and marginalised actors, and empowerment of communities in townships and rural areas. Lisle is also a trustee of the Footsteps Foundation, an NPO that focuses on SMME and social-enterprise development in disenfranchised rural communities.

BCom (Accounting), H Dip Acc, CA(SA)

Gugu Dingaan

Gugu Dingaan

Gugu is currently the Investment Executive at Women Investment Portfolio Holdings (WIPHOLD) and non-executive board member and audit committee member of Distell, Landis+Gyr, SA Corporate Real Estate Limited and Novus Holdings. She is also a non-executive board member of Adcorp Holdings Limited. Gugu is the Chairperson of Distell’s social and ethics committee, and a member of the investment sub-committee.

B Com (Hons), CA(SA)

Lizelle Malan

Lizelle Malan

As Group Company Secretary for Distell, Lizelle performs all statutory company-secretarial functions and is also responsible for the company’s forensic compliance, risk management and legal divisions. She is a director of Distell Beverages RF (Pty) Ltd.


Anthony Madimetja Benny Mokaba

Anthony Madimetja Benny Mokaba

Dr. Benny Mokaba , is currently a Director of Moedi Investments Pty ltd, Trading as Moedi Leadership Quest. He held various leadership positions in both private and public sectors. Among others, he was non-Executive chairman of PetroSA, and Siemens. His executive roles include inte alia, CEO and Chairman of Shell South Africa 2001-2006, Group MD of Steinmüller Africa (1999 to 2001), and Executive Director of Sasol SA Energy Business (2006 to 2010). In the 1990s he served in the government’s RDP office and in 1997-98 was appointed acting DG of the Department of Social Development. Prior to returning to South Africa in 1993, Mokaba was Associate Professor for Research at Boston College Graduate School.

In 1996, a transforming DBSA, appointed Mokaba as its first head of operations evaluation unit. With a core team of 8 people Mokaba formulated the DBSA evaluation process having visited, the World bank, EDB, and the ADB.

In addition to BA hons degrees from Fort Hare university, Mokaba hold a Masters Degree from Boston College and a Ph.D. in Social Policy from Brandeis University in the USA. His business education includes several certificates from INSEAD, Berlin, and Cape Town Universities, and an Advanced Executive Programme from Unisa’s SBL (cum Laude). His hobbies, includes, classic Cars, and Cattle Breeding.

Among his awards and recognitions, are recognition as Trailblazer for 2007 and 2008, a Business Achiever award from Limpopo, and a Fulbright scholarship. He is a member of Alpha Zigma Nu Jesuits Honour Society of Boston since 1988 for scholarship and contribution to society.

As part of Moedi leadership Quest, he provides executive coaching to several leaders in South Africa.


Zeynab Titus

Zeynab Titus

“Currently a practising Advocate of the High Court of South Africa, and a member of the Cape Bar, Zeynab has a varied practice including corporate and commercial law, as well as administrative and constitutional law. Previously, practising as an attorney, she commenced her articles of clerkship at Webber Wentzel (then Webber Wentzel Bowens) until she held the position of senior associate in the Litigation department of the firm. She continued to practice as such at ENSafrica (Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs) until deciding in 2007 to complete pupillage and join the Bar. Zeynab has engaged in several matters acting pro bono, including for the Women’s Legal Centre and Equal Education. She also regularly sits as a Small Claims Court Commissioner. Not related to law, she is a mentor at the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.”


Ajay Lalu

Ajay Lalu

Ajay Lalu is the founder and Managing Director of the Black Lite Group. He is part of a new breed of Ecotrepreneurs and a leading black industrialist. In 2006 he left his post as Acting CEO of Utajiri Investments which negotiated and participated in the Deutsche Bank BEE transaction valued at an estimated R1 billion. Prior to negotiating the Deutsche Bank deal, Ajay was the Director for BEE services at Ernst & Young where he was responsible for growing the new business unit focused on Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE). Ajay spent 5 years at Ernst & Young in the Corporate Finance arena and was promoted to Director in July 2003.

Ajay is a regular commentator on BBBEE issues in the media and trusted advisor to the Department of Trade and Industry and large corporations which include Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, AIG, ABInBev, Coke Cola, IBM, 3M and Anglo American. In addition he is also a strategic advisor to listed companies like Sasol, MMI, Tiger Brands, and unlisted companies like Allan Gray, De Beers, Kagiso Tiso Holdings and Loreal.

Ajay is a Voting Member of Greenpeace Africa and was selected to be a global judge in the Energy [R]evolution contest, a global challenge to select sustainable solutions to Indian farmers’ reliance on diesel pumps.

Ajay is a keen photographer, runner and loves to travel. He is deeply committed to changing the lives of ordinary South Africans through his involvement in various NGOs. He is passionate about developing SMMEs based on his real life experiences.

© Distell Development Trust 2018 - A Partner Creation