We proactively monitored and managed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our employees and devised strategies to manage challenges and mitigate risks that arose in the year under review. The plans to manage our human capital aligned with national strategies and policies to minimise the spread of COVID-19, in line with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. COVID-19 workplace and people management response plan.

We implemented various measures to mitigate the risks and adapt to the changes caused by the pandemic. All COVID-19 health and safety protocols implemented across the organisation were in line with the guidelines and requirements as set out by National Departments. The following measures were put in place to manage the environment and safeguard employees from the impact of the pandemic:

  •  Implemented a risk-based approach to immunecompromised employees – we protected vulnerable employees by implementing a risk-based approach based on the employee’s vulnerability and risk exposure in their job.
  • Provided necessary personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Supported remote work based on job function and the availability of necessary equipment
  • Enforced all safety protocols to protect our employees and all stakeholders

Staff cost reduction and optimisation

Our workplace and people management recovery plan is underpinned by the need to reduce and optimise costs while optimising value. To achieve this, some employee remuneration and benefits have been reconsidered to preserve cash and afford monthly salary payments as part of the cost reduction and optimisation plan. The following have been affected:

  • No annual salary increases or performance bonuses in FY2020/21
  • Reduction of non-statutory payments and stand-by allowances
  • New uptake of the housing scheme has been suspended
  • Freeze on new bursary uptake (employee and children’s bursary)
  • Month-to-month reduction of fixed-term contractors
  • Reduction in acting positions and allowances by implementing blended roles and secondments where possible
  • Freeze on recruitment, except in critical positions where business continuity and gainful employment must be ensured

A roadmap was developed to provide direction for the implementation of staff cost reductions while considering the critical capabilities that will assist the organisation in achieving the revised strategy and Group key performance indicators. Staff costs accounted for 37% R1.8 billion of the total operational expenditure budget of R4.8 billion in 2020/21. The roadmap reduced staff costs by R300 million by 01 April 2021.

The Board-approved and Executive Committeeendorsed plan was announced to all employees through a CEO broadcast. Human resource management working teams and a data analysis dashboard were established to support the process.

Staff cost reduction roadmap

Following the reduction and optimisation of costs, we will enter a value-optimisation phase in line with the Governance Framework and Operating Model which is driven by the revised financial recovery plan to ensure business sustainability.

Employee satisfaction and value proposition

In the year under review, initiatives to measure employee satisfaction and improve our employee value were put on hold. We did not conduct an employee satisfaction survey, since COVID-19 people management initiatives were prioritised; and we did not participate in the Top Employer Institute’s Top Employer awards as we have in previous years. Our employee value proposition project was also placed on hold until the Governance Framework and Operating Model process is completed and the project is repositioned to embed the Governance Framework and Operating Model.

Training and development


Remuneration and performance management

Refer to page 36 of our Governance and Remuneration Report for a full account of our remuneration and performance management in FY2021/21.

Improving the lives of our people

In recent years, we have steadily increased our employees’ benefits including housing, transport schemes and learning support for employees and their children. In FY2020/21, however, we revised our offering to protect jobs while fulfilling our existing commitments.

Employee engagement and wellness interventions

In the year under review, we have engaged employees and supported their well-being through various initiatives.


Housing scheme

The housing scheme aims to assist employees in owning a home and improving their living conditions, leading to a better quality of life and greater security. The employee cost-reduction plan culminated in the freeze of all new applications for rental renewals, bond subsidies, upfront deposit subsidies and debt consolidation, effective from 1 August 2020.

Transport scheme

We initiated a staff transport programme to provide safe, reliable and comfortable transport to employees. After implementation, however, we faced several challenges including employee safety issues because of a misalignment of taxi associations, high operational expenses affecting the affordability of the programme and the exclusion of Gauteng as an operational region.

After careful consideration, the programme was modified from a shuttle service to a hybrid model with the introduction of a travel allowance. Within this context, a travel allowance of R1 000 was approved and offered to grade A and C shift workers.

Supporting learning for employees and their children

Airports Company South Africa offers children of employees at employment, grade A to C bursary support to pursue studies within the South African National Scarce Skills list. The programme also provides workplace exposure through vacation work to provide learners with practical work exposure. Ultimately, the programme aims to provide learners with permanent employment where opportunities exist. In FY2020/21, 50 bursaries were awarded to the value of R926 638.

Trade union relations

In the year under review, we continued work to complete a recognition and procedural agreement with the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU), which represents 33% of employees; and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), which represents 22% of employees. Finalisation of the agreement – which commenced in FY2019/20 – has been delayed owing to the pandemic.

Airports Company South Africa and the respective unions worked well together throughout the year to navigate the impact of COVID-19 on the Company. We would like to commend the trade unions for their support through these extremely challenging times.


Looking ahead, we remain committed to ensuring the wellbeing of our employees as we rely on them in these difficult times. At the same time, we must remain committed to our staff cost reduction roadmap to ensure our long-term sustainability. We believe this balance will be achieved through continued stakeholder engagement.