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Sasria celebrates its 30th by paying tribute to the “Class of 76”

21 September 2009 Sasria

Tuesday 15 September 2009 marked a milestone in the existence of South Africa’s only special risks insurer, Sasria Limited. Leaders of government, sports and civil organisations and key players in the short-term insurance industry were just some of the dignitaries who attended the exclusive, yet humbling occasion.

Vibrant colours, music, dance and the spirit of Ubuntu set the tone for the evening which took place at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. The event was nothing short of a spectacular. Guests were entertained by local talents such as the Rainbow Tenors, Umoja, Abigail Kubeka and the Bana ba Thari Quintet, ensuring that they were able to celebrate Sasria’s existence with the beauty and talents of South Africa.

In her address, Phyllis Mabasa, Sasria’s managing director, thanked all the key players in the insurance industry for contributing to the success Sasria has experienced over the past 30 years. She also emphasised Sasria’s role in providing special risks insurance cover to the people of South Africa and the company’s commitment to exploring new avenues by expanding the business and increasing shareholder value.

“Sasria has proved that it is still a relevant player in the South African insurance industry. We will continue to find new avenues and improve our product offering to help us grow the business. Sasria is determined to fulfil its mandate of being Africa’s leading special risks insurer by increasing our presence in Africa by providing relevant and comprehensive insurance cover to include the rest of Africa,” said Mabasa.

Cyril Ramaphosa, the chairperson of Sasria’s board of directors, referred to Sasria as a valuable work of art, forgotten in the attic but beautiful and more valuable today than it ever was before. “Sasria was born from the struggle that was sparked by the 1976 Soweto uprisings. Today, Sasria has transformed dramatically and covers the extraordinary risks that traditional insurers are unable cover,” said Ramaphosa.

After giving the audience a detailed review of Sasria’s 30 years of evolution, Ramaphosa echoed Mabasa’s sentiments saying, “Sasria will continue to use its resources affectively in order to provide relevant special risks insurance cover locally as well as in other African countries.”

Ramaphosa also placed emphasis on the fact that Sasria has contributed to the pool of qualified black actuaries in the country through its relationship with the South African Actuaries Development Program (SAADP). Its primary aim is to unearth and harness mathematical and analytical skills amongst black students and introduce them to career opportunities in the field of Actuarial Science. The SAADP has been around for seven years and has already produced 39 graduates and two fully qualified actuaries, one of which is employed at Sasria.

The 1976 uprisings by school children in Soweto played a significant role in the creation of Sasria. The government of the day and the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) needed to provide insurance cover against political riots and politically motivated mass action. These uprisings sparked the unification of the masses and inevitably changed the face of South Africa.

Cyril Ramaphosa, Phyllis Mabasa and Collin Macheke, Business Development Executive for Sasria, paid tribute to 30 individuals who played a pivotal role in ushering in a new democratic South Africa by organising the 1976 uprisings. Macheke says, “We are grateful for the role they played in transforming our country. These individuals represent the masses of youths who fought in the struggle on our behalf, making South Africa a better place for all our children.”

The stalwarts, also referred to as “The Class of 76”, were grateful to be acknowledged at the event. It was clear that they had built an unwavering bond with each other on that fateful day. Most of the stalwarts were simply happy to be reunited with their friends at the celebration, having the opportunity to remember the day that South African youth united against an oppressive government and changed the history of our beautiful country forever.

Oupa Ngwenya, a member of the Class of 76 said, “Our plan was simply to petition change. None of us expected to be confronted by such brutal force from the police. Even though we were just children at the time, we felt strong in our numbers and faced the police head on. News of our resistance spread like wild fire across South Africa and the world. Soon, we were all standing in awe as Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as president of our country.”

There is no doubt that these stalwarts brought the struggle out the classroom into the streets. But as one of the stalwarts, who prefers to remain anonymous says, “One thing is certain, the memory of the day is far more painful and real than talking about it today. Sometimes I can still smell the rubber burning and feel the dust in my eyes.”

Sasria’s 30th birthday celebration marked another significant day in the history of South Africa. It marked the last day that one of South Africa’s greatest legal minds, Justice Albie Sachs would sit as a constitutional court judge. Ramaphosa praised Sachs as being filled with compassion for the people and expressed his sadness in seeing Sachs retire from the legal profession. Sachs was presented with a traditional beaded stick to commemorate his contribution to the struggle. During the presentation Ramaphosa said, “This stick is symbolic. It should not be seen as a walking stick but as a stick to be used to protect the rights of the people.”

Sasria has proved that even after 30 years of service to the South African people, it is still a relevant player in providing specials risks cover and has the needs of the people at heart. Professionalism, integrity, teamwork and innovation are the values that have helped Sasria become the successful business it is today. One thing is certain, Sasria played a pivotal role in the success of South Africa and it seems that the next thirty years will be no different.

Quick Polls

QUESTION

Is the commission procurement rule introduced via clause 5.14 of the Amended Financial Services Sector Code (AFSSC) an important piece of the transformation puzzle?

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The clause’s implementation coincides with an increase in the minimum spend targets, which further complicates matters
Many FSPs still view the AFSSC as a matter of choice and consequence rather than compliance
Transformation represents a great opportunity for growth and penetration by brokers
Brokers are unlikely to find their commission business yanked away from them by insurers looking to influence procurement scorecards
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