We are very pro-vaccination, says Capitec chief executive

Capitec Bank chief executive officer Gerrie Fourie, says that the group is actively encouraging employees to get Covid-19 vaccinations to prevent further waves and ‘get back to normal’.

Fourie presented a strong set of interim results for six months ended August 2021 on Thursday (30 September), which saw group headline earnings up 513% to R3.987 billion.

This resulted in 35.5% growth on the group headline earnings compared to August 2019, indicating a strong recovery to exceed pre-pandemic levels, the bank said, pushed by further developments in digital banking.

Shareholders were rewarded with an interim dividend of 1,200 cents per share.

The bank said it viewed the challenging socio-economic climate as an opportunity to assist clients by enhancing its digital offering. This has yielded results, with active digital banking clients (app, internet banking and USSD) growing by 22% to 8.9 million, of which clients using the banking app increased 46% to 6 million, it said.

“We bolstered our digital offering while staying true to our fundamentals of simplicity, affordability and personalised service. This combined with our continued commitment to our branch network and call centres, resonated with South Africans from all walks of life. Our retail client base has grown by 2.1 million to 16.7 million clients.

“They performed 623 million digital transactions, an increase of 21% over the past year. We’re seeing rapid growth in South Africa’s digital economy as clients also adopt contactless card payments and online shopping,” said Fourie.

The group listed the country’s vaccination rate and possible ‘next Covid-19 wave as an uncertainty. It said that despite a swift recovery from the pandemic, the long-term impact of the virus is still uncertain.

As at the end of August 2021, although South Africa has passed the third wave of Covid-19 infections and the roll-out of vaccinations has accelerated, the socio-economic climate is still uncertain, it said.

“Everyone talks about vaccinations. We are very pro-vaccinations, we encourage people to take vaccinations at Capitec,” he said, pointing to a programme in place to encourage staff to do so.
Fourie said around 70% of the company’s head office has been vaccinated.

The bank employs around 13,500 people, with around 2,000 located at its headquarters in Technopark, Stellenbosch.

Vaccination and corporates

Bloomberg reported earlier this week that media giant Naspers is considering making Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for staff after Discovery, the country’s largest private medical insurer took the step earlier this month.

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, head of Naspers South Africa, told the Nation Brand Forum on Tuesday (28 September), that the group is considering mandatory jabs to enable employees to travel safely.

“We are watching Discovery and seeing what they are doing because we would like to have something similar,” Mahanyele-Dabengwa said.

Discovery chief executive Adrian Gore said that the group will make vaccinations mandatory for all employees by 2022, adding that this policy will extend to all of the group’s properties across South Africa.

He said that Discovery would take steps to make all its buildings vaccinated-only zones.

PSG Group chief executive officer Piet Mouton has also expressed his support for vaccinations in recent weeks, saying that it was not only a social and health issue but, more vitally, an economic one.

Vaccination rollout programme

South Africa crossed the 17 million mark of the total number of Covid-19 doses administered, the Department of Health said in a statement on Thursday.

This comes after 164,097 jabs were distributed on Tuesday, pushing the tally to 17,176,603 since the start of the country’s vaccine rollout programme.

According to the Department of Health, the country is now home to 8,611,747 fully vaccinated adults. Of these, 102,399 people either received their second shot of Pfizer vaccine or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson jab in the last 24 hours.

In addition, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), reported 1,367 new Covid-19 cases. The majority of new infections were reported in KwaZulu-Natal after 372 people were confirmed to have contracted the virus.

The province is followed by 241 cases in the Western Cape, 190 in Gauteng, 185 in the Eastern Cape and 169 in Free State.

“This increase represents an 8.6% positivity rate,” the NICD said.

According to the latest data, the death toll now stands at 87,417 after 201 patients succumbed to the respiratory disease, while there has been an increase of 158 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.

Commenting on the rest of the financial year, Fourie said Capitec will maintain its focus on digitalisation to enhance clients’ banking experience and help South Africans live better.

“We believe our human connection and service ethos remains our key competitive advantage.  We will use advanced technology, data and AI to help scale our personalised banking experience for our clients while helping them to simplify their banking further.  This strategy will be assisted by our strategic partnerships with some of the world’s best technology providers.

“We are committed to our purpose to help people improve their financial lives. We maintain our small company culture and entrepreneurial mindset and will continue to innovate in relevant ways that help South Africans simplify their banking so that they can live better,” said Fourie.

Read: Capitec reports continued recovery on expanded digital offerings and strong customer growth

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We are very pro-vaccination, says Capitec chief executive