WATCH: Santam helps communities manage risk

Published Sep 8, 2022


Insurance is a grudge purchase that only gives pleasure when tragedy or emergency strikes. Sadly, the most vulnerable in our society are both susceptible to the most risk, and the most deprived of the insurance security blanket when it’s really needed.

Disaster and fire risk management for municipalities and schools

It’s not easy to be a deaf person. Sign language is the only way to can communicate with the outside world - and for students at Yingisani Special School in Tzaneen, the boarding school environment is the optimal way for them to access education and social interaction. However, the school’s location makes it susceptible to fires, floods, windstorms and other hazards - and managing these risks for deaf learners requires some careful intervention.

Santam’s support of the school - through smoke alarms attached to sirens, control panels and strobe lighting systems - has ensured the ability for a quick response, with mechanisms to alert students and secure their safety in the event of a crisis.

Informal locations also represent a high risk when it comes to fire management and control. Santam’s Partnership for Risk and Resilience, also known as P4RR, is designed to build resilience in vulnerable communities by working with the municipalities, fire services and community volunteers to develop practical solutions to the perils they face. From the installation of smoke detectors to the provision of skid units that can access where no fire truck can go, Santam is helping build the prevention and response capabilities of these municipalities - making good impact and good business as well.

The initiatives extend further to awareness training for children and community members, with a mobile trailer that attracts attention and interest in order to get the message across. There are also disaster simulations to help fire fighters and other service providers train and practise their response protocols in case of drastic emergencies.

But Santam is not only focused on risk management. It realises that entrepreneurs are going to be the backbone of our economy into the future, and indeed the backbone of the company’s customer base. With initiatives like the Santam Woman of the Future Award, in association with Fair Lady and True Love, Santam is supporting and encouraging the growth of SMMEs and inspiring more people to take the first step on this exciting and important journey.


Sewes Pretorius is the Deputy Fire Chief for the Breede Valley Municipality. Part of his job is to prevent the extent of human casualties often resulting from house fires in informal settlements. With the tiny makeshift roads and drooping power lines, access with a fire truck is near impossible. With the Santam sponsored skid units, however, his fire fighters can do their jobs, reaching where they need to be to save property, and most importantly, lives.

Matome Mohlagafazi is the chairperson of the school governing body at Yingisani Special School. His daughter was born deaf and he recounts the challenges he experienced with her frustration and anger as they battled to understand each other. Now that she is boarder at the school, she feels understood. He is learning the sign language he needs to have a positive relationship with his child, and chuckles that now they can see that she’s not so cheeky because they know her a little bit better. With the safety and risk management interventions implemented by Santam, Mohlagafazi knows that his precious daughter is both happy and safe in her boarding school environment.

Cara Saven of Cara Saven Wall Design was gloriously surprised when she was awarded the Santam Woman of the Future Award for 2021 in association with Fair Lady and True Love. Saven’s business is rather niche, and every single one of her wall coverings is unique. She describes the work of wall design as complex, because you are working at such a large scale. Saven had a successful career in the corporate space before deciding that she wanted to be a stay-at-home mother. She paced her life in a highly organised and considered way - and she now has a wonderful team bringing to life her design ideas at scale. Sharing about her excitement at receiving the award, she admits that when she started her business, she never imagined she would get that level of acknowledgement for “just trying to make a living”.

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