Chief Executive Officer’s Review


An introspective approach, while ensuring unwavering delivery of our mandate, has revealed opportunities to simplify our operations, enhance efficiencies, reduce costs, increase productivity and foster improved collaboration across teams.”

When reflecting back on the past year, it is heartening that SANBS has continued to be a cornerstone of healthcare in South Africa by providing the required blood products and services to meet the demands of patients. As South Africans, we have experienced unprecedented challenges during this period that have made getting through every day very demanding. Despite these challenges, I really admire the resilience that our employees have shown to roll up their sleeves and ensure the success of SANBS, and thereby ensure the excellent quality of service we continue to provide to patients.

Guided by our overall iHEALTh strategy, we identified a number of strategic projects to further strengthen our internal processes and service delivery. When looking at the work done and results achieved, it is evident that we have made significant progress in building upon the strong foundations that support our operations. We have also identified areas that require further strengthening and improvement.

Throughout the year, we have engaged in deep reflection and introspection, allowing us to gain valuable insights into our processes and procedures. This introspective approach has revealed opportunities to simplify our operations, enhance efficiencies, reduce costs, increase productivity, and foster improved collaboration across teams. By addressing these areas, we can solidify a sustainable business for the future, ensuring long-term value for SANBS and all its stakeholders.

Our iHEALTh strategy, which commenced in 2019, remains relevant and has been extended until 2025. We have made excellent progress against our balanced scorecard metrics supporting the iHEALTh strategy, albeit with a few disappointments.

I would like to start out by sharing some of the significant highlights for the year.

2022/2023 HIGHLIGHTS

  • Financial sustainability – It was a good year financially, with R80m alternate revenue generated against a target of R76m
  • Smart fridge – Our first smart fridge was launched, aimed at reducing turnaround times for patients to receive blood in areas where there tends to be a high mortality of mothers during childbirth
  • SANBS RAD Academy – We had a successful launch to internal employees fostering a culture of ongoing learning and growth. SANBS employees authored/co-authored 14 scientific papers showcasing research done
Human-Centred Collections
  • Innovative blood collection – A major focus has been on increasing platelet collections through the “Change a life” campaign. Platelets have a short shelf life and play a vital role in blood clotting and blood loss prevention during major surgery, organ and bone marrow transplants and treating leukaemia and cancer patients. We also launched the “Good Hood” campaign, encouraging ordinary citizens to host blood collection drives in their communities. We continue to look at ways of improving our donor base and increasing our geographic footprint for blood collection
  • Increasing the donor pool – It is important to constantly recruit new donors among the youth to ensure a sustainable donor base. We managed a significantly positive shift in the percentage of first time donors aged 16 to 30 years increasing to 71.6% against a target of >50% as well as blood collections from black donors increasing to 46.7% against a target of >37%
  • Percentage ordered vs. issued (red cells) – 99.40% against a target of 99% – Ensuring that we meet the demand for blood is extremely important. By achieving 99.40% we have ensured that we could successfully meet the demands for red blood cell transfusions based on the orders placed
  • Wastage – Percentage of blood discarded – It is inevitable that there will be some discard or wastage of blood due to various reasons. The overall wastage was 3.86% against a target of 5.6% and highlights the efficiency and effectiveness of SANBS’ internal processes and blood inventory management in minimising wastage and providing safe and adequate blood products to those in need
Administration Rigour
  • Collections Management System – Timely and adequate debt collection is essential to ensure financial sustainability. The implementation of the Collections Management System in FY22, enabled real time information and dashboards to enhance the debt collection process and ensure that we minimise bad debt
  • Procure to Pay optimisation – Good progress has been made in optimising the entire cycle of procurement, from the initial purchase requisition to the final payment of suppliers. This ensures that SANBS has greater control, is getting value for money and also maintains good stakeholder relations with our vendors
  • Management of critical stock levels – We managed availability of critical consumables at 96.2% against a target of 95%, despite various supply chain challenges occurring mainly due to the war in the Ukraine. This is an important measure to ensure consumable materials required as an input into SANBS production and related processes are readily available; so as not to negatively affect reliable provision of blood products and related services
Testing and quality
  • Blood safety index – We achieved 95.6% vs a target of 95% as we strive for ensuring the safety and quality of blood and blood products
Hearts and minds
  • Stakeholder management – There has been a renewed focus on building and maintaining a good relationship with our stakeholders. Key initiatives were to complete our stakeholder mapping and the appointment of a stakeholder manager to focus attention on building positive and mutually beneficial relationships with all our invaluable key stakeholders across the value chain
  • We have also invested in skills development and talent management for our employees, and the success of this initiative has resulted in a number of promotions internally

2022/2023 CHALLENGES

A major project which was initiated in 2020 is the implementation of a new Blood Establishment Computer System (BECS). It is unfortunate that we experienced delays with the implementation of the BECS system due to complexities that were underestimated with regards to various processes in SANBS.

We had to postpone the go-live, which was scheduled for early 2023, until November 2023. Significant work was done during the year to validate and test the new system and the frequency of project meetings has increased at executive level to track progress and keep the project on track.


It is critical to have competent and cohesive leadership to ensure that we deliver on our vision and mission. Mr. Tshepo Kgage was appointed as Chief Financial Officer in August 2022. Our Human Capital Management (HCM) Executive, Mr. Abbey Mothokoa, left SANBS at the end of November 2022. Mr. Daniel Olifant, who is the Senior Manager responsible for Learning and Development, was seconded to the position of HCM Executive while we embarked on a recruitment process to appoint the HCM Executive. After an intensive recruitment and selection process, Mr. Olifant emerged as the successful candidate and was appointed as the HCM Executive with effect from 1 May 2023.

A review of the executive structure was undertaken during the financial year and it was identified that a Corporate Services Executive would be required to direct the activities of Procurement, Administration/Facilities, Safety and Environment. This additional position was approved by SANBS’ Board and Ms. Sibusisiwe Sibanda was appointed as Corporate Services Executive from 1 June 2023. Also noteworthy is the appointment of Ernst Snyman as the Senior Manager: Enterprise Risk Management following the decision to bring risk management into SANBS after years of the function being led by an external service provider.


During 2022, a Procurement Committee was formalised to bring structure, transparency and accountability for our procurement process. It will further promote good governance, enhance compliance and management of risks, drive cost savings, foster strategic supplier relationships and facilitate continuous improvement and innovation.

It was also Identified that our Order-to-Collect processes had to be strengthened to ensure that we collect our debt timeously in a difficult economic environment. Good progress has been made in this regard and we anticipate improved debt collections going forward.


SANBS has embarked on a number of strategic projects over the past two years to ensure that we remain a centre of excellence well into the future. These included:

  • Implementation of the new BECS system
  • Upgrading of SAP and implementing SAP S4 HANA
  • Strengthening our Procure-to-Pay process
  • Innovating with regards to logistics with the rollout of Smart fridges and the drone project
  • Research and development through SANBS’ RAD Academy and expanding our footprint and targets for whole blood, source plasma and platelet collections

Looking ahead, we face significant headwinds, particularly with:

  • Business continuity challenges, mainly related to electricity and water disruptions, natural disasters and the potential for increased unrest as we head into elections in 2024
  • A weak economy, which places pressure on our collection of debt from both the public and private sector
  • Skills shortages, mainly that of nurses
  • Successful completion and bedding down of some key strategic projects

In planning for 2023/2024 we are going back to basics to ensure that we are effective in implementing the various important initiatives. We want to monitor the effectiveness and success of these changes in enhancing the services provided by SANBS. Our key focus areas will be the successful implementation of BECS, strengthening our relationships with stakeholders and further strengthening internal processes for debt collection and procurement.


In conclusion, I would like to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the success and mission of SANBS over the past year.

First and foremost, I want to acknowledge our selfless donors, who have been the cornerstone of our business. It is through their generous contributions that we can save lives and make a profound impact on the lives of others.

I would also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to our dedicated employees. Their steadfast commitment, hard work and focus on the greater good have been instrumental in driving our organisation forward. Their passion and dedication to the values that SANBS stands for have been truly inspiring, and without their efforts, we would not have achieved the level of success we can proudly celebrate today.

A special mention goes out to our invaluable volunteers who serve on the various Branch and Zone Donor committees. Your tireless efforts in supporting our campaigns and helping to grow our donor base are deeply appreciated.

I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the members of my Executive and Leadership team for their unwavering support and dedication throughout the year. I am truly grateful to the SANBS Board and Committee members for their outstanding leadership and support. Your role in providing strategic direction and ensuring a strong governance framework cannot be overstated.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to extend my appreciation to all our other important stakeholders who play a vital role in ensuring the effective functioning of SANBS on a daily basis. Your support and collaboration are essential in enabling us to save and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients each year. Together, we have accomplished great things, but our journey does not end here. Let us continue to work together, build upon our successes and strive for excellence in everything we do.

Ravi Reddy