OUR BUSINESS - Reflections on the successes and challenges of the period under review

Chairperson's Report


... sluggish economic growth and deteriorating energy, water, and sanitation infrastructure affect the overall health of the population, leading to a projected rise in blood demand. We appreciate each donor’s invaluable gift of life, given without any expectation of reward."

Operating Context

The South African environment is a difficult one marked by deteriorating social conditions, intensified load shedding, and potential water shortages. Like other organisations, SANBS has taken measures to prepare for contingencies and mitigate the effects of these risks.

As far as the health sector specifically is concerned, South Africa is grappling with a severe shortage of nurses. Although most hospitals in the country have their own nursing colleges, only designated universities are authorised to issue professional nursing qualifications. This scarcity of nurses in South Africa is expected to worsen should there be no intervention with a significant proportion of health workers estimated to retire by 2030. SANBS is particularly exposed to this risk, with 650 nursing and 140 phlebotomists positions within its workforce and 114 healthcare related vacancies.

The uncertainty surrounding the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) is another matter that warrants consideration in our planning for the future. It will introduce new regulations and compliance requirements for healthcare providers but precise impact of NHI implementation on SANBS will hinge on the specific details including the funding thereof and implementation strategies that are adopted. Until the NHI regulations are issued it will be crucial for SANBS to closely monitor and navigate the uncertainty to ensure that we are able to keep fulfilling our vital role.

Meanwhile, the sluggish economic growth and deteriorating energy, water, and sanitation infrastructure affects the overall health of the population, leading to a projected rise in blood demand whilst simultaneously restricting the pool of potential blood donors. These unfavourable conditions are likely to be exacerbated by the impact of climate change on communities.

In addition, the national and provincial healthcare budgets are not nearly keeping pace with the increase in medical inflation. This together with the fact medical aids are also constraint in that members are opting for cheaper options means that SANBS may be faced with even more difficulty in collecting revenue for the delivery of blood products.


These are challenging times indeed, but SANBS performed admirably throughout the reporting period, successfully meeting most of the targets outlined for key initiatives in support of executing the iHEALTh strategy. Nonetheless, there were a few setbacks, most notably the delays encountered during the implementation of the Blood Establishment Computer System (BECS) project. The expansive scope of the project, coupled with its inherent complexities, placed significant pressure on the organisation and our people. Despite these challenges, we have clarity on the way forward and remain confident in achieving the revised implementation deadline.

Although we fell slightly short of our targets for Group O Whole Blood collections and debtors' days, we managed to meet blood demand with minimal cutbacks.

Our financial performance was exceptional, surpassing expectations with a 14% surplus to revenue (compared to 4.6% in FY2022). This impressive outcome was achieved despite grappling with the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.

A significant emphasis was placed on the ethics and culture programme for the organisation, resulting in the formalisation of a new code of ethics, approved by the Board after extensive discussions on its approach and objectives. This initiative was accompanied by a refresh of the organisation's values, which were subsequently disseminated through comprehensive training and communication efforts. Efforts towards strengthening the ethics and culture and its monitoring will remain a focus area for the Board and management.


One of the key activities of the Board was to conduct a comprehensive review of the Memorandum of Incorporation (MoI). This review involved removing the restriction that limited the election of the board chair from donor directors only and extending the chair's term to three years to ensure continuity in leadership.

In addition, the rules governing donor zones and branches underwent a review to enhance the process and timelines for election of zone and branch members and strengthen the terms of the code of conduct. Since the National Council members (who fulfil an equivalent role as shareholders do in a for profit company, including the election of directors) are elected from the zone structures, the formal rules for the elections, functioning and conduct of branches and zones are a critical component of the SANBS governance arrangements.

Another reinforcement of the corporate governance at SANBS was the bolstering of company secretarial office with the appointment of an assistant company secretary. This appointment aims to further strengthen the administrative functions and support the effective operation of the Board.

The following leadership changes took place during the reporting period:

  • We are delighted to welcome Ms Lerato Molefe, who was elected during the Annual General Meeting in November 2022. Lerato's appointment is part of our Board's succession planning efforts, ensuring a diverse and skilled mix of individuals. We are thrilled to have her on board, bringing her legal and governance expertise as a professional non-executive director
  • Mr Thabo Mokgatlha has been appointed as the Lead Independent Director from the Board-appointed directors. This crucial role assists the chair in helping to shoulder the responsibilities of leading the Board and ensures continuity, which is especially important as a new chair will assume the position by the end of 2023
  • As Dr John Black has emigrated, the Board is currently in the process of filling the position with a qualified medical practitioner possessing suitable experience to fulfill the requirements for clinical oversight. We deeply appreciate John's invaluable insights and contributions, and he will be greatly missed. We extend our best wishes to him and his family as they embark on this new and exciting chapter in their lives

Furthermore, my nine-year term will conclude at the upcoming Annual General Meeting in November. It has been a tremendous privilege and honour to serve at SANBS. I am confident in passing the leadership of the Board into the capable hands of Thabo who has been elected as my successor. I extend my sincerest well-wishes to Thabo as he assumes this role.


The iHEALTh scorecard for FY2023/24 emphasises the importance of "Going Back to Basics" to strengthen the foundations, ensuring long-term sustainability while maintaining a focus on innovation and growth. Our strategy remains consistent, with a renewed emphasis on enhancing execution effectiveness. Projects such as Order-to-Collect and Procure-to-Pay will play a significant role in improving processes and discipline. We also look forward to the implementation of the BECS system with all the benefits that it will be delivering to the operations of SANBS.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Board, executive, and employees for their unwavering dedication and contributions. Their commitment has been instrumental in our success. I have full confidence in the resilience and resourcefulness of the SANBS team, who consistently rises above the challenges we continue to face.

A heartfelt thanks goes out to our donors, whose selfless contributions enable us to fulfill our purpose of saving lives. We appreciate each donor for their invaluable gift of life, given without any expectation of reward.

Ansie Ramahlo