For an example of transformation in the hospitality industry, take a look at BON Hotel Bloemfontein Central. The hotel has attained Level 2 B-BBEE Status and first began its certified transformation process in 2001, which concluded in 2017 with its employees owning 51% of the property via a trust fund structure.

The first step in the hotel’s journey was to create a profit-share scheme which saw staff members reimbursed annually. Depending on position and service to the hotel, reimbursements to staff were as much as two months salary. Next, in 2007, the owners appointed Lawrence Ndlovu, Josephine Mohapi and Blaise Guillaume to their Board of Directors, resulting in a 40% black representation on their board and a Level 1 B-BBEE rating. The hotel was recognised and awarded the Lilizela Tourism Award for the most empowered tourism business in South Africa.

In 2016, 30% of the shares in the company were transferred to the Bloemfontein Hotel Staff Trust, a trust fund that was set up by the company for the benefit of its existing employees. In 2017 a further 21% of the shares were transferred to the Trust, taking ownership of the hotel up to 51% of the shares in the business. The company now enjoys Level 2 B-BBEE rating.

Staff with a minimum of three years’ service qualify as members of the Trust, and are paid dividends accordingly. Commenting on the significance of the structure, Josephine Mohapi who has been working at the hotel since 1992 when the current owners took over management ownership, said: “We feel proud to own a part of the company; the financial assistance has helped us fulfil many a dream. Our guests should be proud to know that the money they spend with us will flow through to the people who are eagerly waiting to serve them.”

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