MARCH 2012
PDF PDF format [2.104MB]  

Winning against the odds


Murray & Roberts presents a number of awards annually to recognise and reward initiatives that contribute to the enhancement of society. These are the winners of the 2011 awards.

Jack Cheetham Memorial Award and Letsema Award

The Johannesburg Gymnastics Centre won the 2011 Murray & Roberts Jack Cheetham Memorial Award and the Cape Town-based Chaeli Sports & Recreation Club won the Letsema Award.

Jack Cheetham Winners
Ilse Laing and protea gymnasts, Kyla Phillips and Ashleigh Heldsinger of the Johannesburg Gymnastics Club receive the 2011 Jack Cheetham award from Murray & Roberts chairman, Roy Andersen and Paralymic champion, Hilton Langenhoven.

Commenting of the winners, Murray & Roberts CE Henry Laas said: “The recipients of both prizes are using sport as a vehicle to transform the lives of many young people in their communities. As has been the case with the previous winners of these two awards, we believe that with additional resources they will have an even greater positive impact in future.”

The winners of the awards each receive prize money of R500 000, payable over five years. A runner up of each award receives R150 000 over three years and two second runners up receive R75 000 each over three years. These awards are funded by the Letsema Sizwe Broad-Based Community Trust, part of the broad-based BEE shareholder structure established by Murray & Roberts in 2005.

Johannesburg Gymnastics Centre

The Johannesburg Gymnastics Centre (JGC) is a Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Club that teaches gymnasts from Beginner to Olympic level. An affiliate of the South African Gymnastics Federation (SAGF), the centre has approximately 100 members, 50% of whom are from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

The centre has developed an exceptional track record, outperforming other clubs in novice competitions this year and representing the majority of gymnasts in the team that attended the 2011 World Championships in Japan. Six of the centre’s gymnasts were ranked in the top three in the South African 2011 Junior and Senior Olympic trials and 30 have been selected for a prestigious squad that is preparing for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. Testimony to this excellence is the fact that many gymnasts in South Africa’s national team train under the watchful eyes of the JGC’s coaches: former Protea gymnast and club owner, Ilse Laing (who is one of only three FIG Brevet coaches in South Africa), SAGF Vice President Shirley Watson and Glen Hlongwane.

With limited funding, the centre uses sport to transform the lives of children in need. It has a volunteer based feeding scheme for children who do not receive adequate nutrition at home and offers life skills and emotional support to those who face significant social challenges. Children with special needs are welcomed at the facility under the guidance of the club’s occupational therapist, while a capacity building programme is currently training three coaches from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, all of whom have been earmarked to represent South Africa as coaches in major international events.

Chaeli Sports & Recreation Club

The Chaeli Campaign was founded in 2004 by teenager, Chaeli Mycroft, along with her sister and family friends as a means of raising funds for a motorised wheelchair for Chaeli who has cerebral palsy. After raising R20 000 in just seven weeks, Chaeli and her team realised that this presented a valuable opportunity to help other South African children with disabilities.

Seven years later, the Chaeli Campaign has grown into a highly effective non-profit organisation that offers nine programmes in support of children with disabilities and reaches approximately 3 000 direct beneficiaries. The original founders have been entrenched as the founding committee and are supported by a team of adult managers led by Chaeli’s mother, Zelda Mycroft.

Jack Cheetham Winners
Zelda (far left) and Chaeli Mycroft (second from right) and their team with Roy Andersen and Hilton Langenhoven after receiving the 2011 Letsema Award.

The Chaeli Sports & Recreation Club, one of the campaign’s programmes, promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in sport and recreational activities. The club’s main activities are ballroom and Latin American wheelchair dancing and dancing for the intellectually impaired, and the club has been a pioneer of dance sport for the disabled, introducing the first dedicated dance school for the disabled nationally under the FEDANSA banner. Disabled and able-bodied club members are also active participants in a range of other sporting codes including athletics, hand cycling, ten pin bowling, karate and boccia.

The Chaeli Campaign operates in an inclusive environment in which people with disabilities have the opportunity to learn, grow skills and excel, while engaging with broader society, to the benefit of all.

The Jack Cheetham Memorial Award was initiated by Murray & Roberts 30 years ago in recognition of the special qualities of Jack Cheetham, a former director of the company and the inspirational captain of the South African cricket team in the 1950s. The award targets sports development projects, focusing on individuals or teams that have the potential to be champions. The Murray & Roberts Letsema Award was initiated in 2009 and recognises sports development projects for people with disabilities.

The Des Baker Award

Students from the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Department of Architecture won the 2011 Murray & Roberts Des Baker Award for Architectural Design.

The project brief was Cradle to Grade 6: Designing a School in a Rural Areas. The winning team comprising BTech Architectural Technology students, Jessica Grobbelaar, Ruben Kruger and Anton Bouwer described their submission as follows: “Essentially, whilst we proposed an intervention that was intrinsic to the existing site and community, it was paralleled with a commentary that questioned the appropriateness and validity of a Grade 6 exit level OBE curriculum. This scheme identified an (in)visible reality, acknowledging an informal network as foundation for a sustainable learning environment.”

The award was initiated in 1983 in recognition of the late Des Baker, a former chairman of Murray & Roberts.

Des Baker award winners
Members of the winning team from UJ were BTech Architectural Technology students Jessica Grobbelaar, Ruben Kruger and Anton Bouwer.


The JD Roberts Award

The vast contribution by Geoff Abbott to the planning, design and management of health facilities in South Africa won him the 2011 JD Roberts Award.

A research architect at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Abbott plays a crucial role in a national project to provide new long-term accommodation for tuberculosis patients at nine hospitals. This will benefit more than 400 patients who suffer from multi-drug resistant TB.

The JD Roberts Award is held in partnership with the CSIR and was instituted by Murray & Roberts in remembrance of one of the Group’s founders, Dr JD Roberts. The award recognises and promotes competitive and environmentally sustainable solutions to human dilemmas, and encourages scientific research into technology that enhances the quality of life of all South Africans.

JD Roberts Award Winners
Geoff Abbott (centre) with Roy Andersen, Sibusisu Sibisi, Ann Jones and Henry Laas.