Sep 11, 2012
Mondi Recycling, a stand‐alone unit of Mondi Packaging South Africa (MPSA), has reconfigured its entire supply chain of recovered fibre, as used paper is known in the industry, by outsourcing an essential link of the recovery process to former employees through an owner‐driver scheme, establishing independent sorting and bailing operations, relying on a network of buy‐back centres and, further down the chain, a large network of individual hawkers. While this outsourcing model does not come without its own set of questions and limitations, it has provided substantial benefits to the actors involved, mainly for the owner‐drivers and their employees, sorting and bailing companies and their employees, and to a lesser degree the managers of buy‐back centres.
The owner‐driver scheme involves many hundreds of people and does not revolve around a particular personality. It is fair, however, to say that several key figures are instrumental in shaping the model: they include personalities such as Roxley Ravuku, the general manager of Mondi Recycling, and his small team who are in charge of the overall coordination. The owner‐drivers are a mixed set of characters, but typical profiles would be former Mondi employees already well‐schooled in the paper recycling industry. Such owner‐drivers, while having lost the relative security of permanent salaried employment with Mondi, have mostly grown into successful entrepreneurs, providing a living for a total of several hundred South Africans from poor or very poor backgrounds. Other key figures in the model include the owners and employees of sorting and bailing companies, owners and managers of the 117‐odd buy‐back centres, who are also typically from low‐income backgrounds, and, in the shadows, the estimated 12,000 informal hawkers who play an important role in feeding Mondi Recycling’s recovered fibre supply chain.