As beneficiaries of the ocean’s bounty, our corporate responsibilities go beyond mere improvements in productivity and profitability. Therefore, at Atlantis Seafood Products we seek new ways to solve social challenges through our business activities. As nurturing the needy community of Atlantis is at the forefront of our social responsibility philosophy, we decided to become directly involved in supporting worthwhile and much-needed local charitable organisations.
One such cause is The Dream Team.
Started in 2002 by Maggie Vaas with her meagre UIF money, she created this tiny charitable organisation in her garage where she fed around 30 people, mostly children, every week. There is a dire need for decent nutrition in Atlantis with many people in the area going hungry. This motivated her to seek sponsorship to provide food to an increasing number of impoverished Atlantis residents.
Maggie is full of cheerfulness and enthusiasm. She has one gas burner, a few big pots and a fridge in her converted garage. With this very basic equipment, she is able to feed 120 people twice a week by making up food parcels for the long queue outside her modest house. While this sounds like a large number of people, the reality is that she needs to turn many people away each time as the food runs out – and for many this is the only meal they get for the day.
Our donation comprised frozen hake fillets to the value of R3 000 that will assist in supplying nutritional food to the local impoverished children and adults that The Dream Team feeds.
At The Dream Team, Maggie is on a roll. The next phase of the Atlantis Dream Team is the construction and operation of a crèche and youth centre. There is a large tract of open land across the road from the Atlantis Dream Team, owned by the Cape Town City Council, which is maintained by Maggie and her team.
An agreement has been reached with the Council to purchase the land at a nominal fee. The next step is to raise the capital to purchase the land where they plan to build the crèche and youth centre. These are desperately-needed facilities as getting the children off the streets is the first step towards eradicating gangsterism and affording the youth access to early childhood development programmes.
“Supporting these much-needed grass-roots organisations is an important goal for us going forward. Atlantis Seafoods is committed to helping the community of Atlantis” said Luis Figueiredo, Atlantis Seafood Products Director.
Atlantis Seafood Products started investing in Atlantis in 2006 when the Figueiredo brothers, Luis and Sergio, recognised the need to build a production facility for specialised seafood products for the South African market. Starting with just 54 employees they decided to establish the business in Atlantis owing to the potential for community upliftment through employment and empowering a previously disadvantaged community.
What followed was a path of continuous growth resulting in the brothers selling the business along with the specialised equipment to the Atlantis Workers’ Trust in a ground-breaking BEE transaction that transferred 100% of the economic rights to Atlantis community members. That was in 2016 and by 2018, just two years later, the 385 previously disadvantaged beneficiaries of this deal received profits of over R2 million in the first year of trading. This was directly attributable to the small quota award granted in the Fishing Rights Allocation Process of 2015/2016.
Most of the previously disadvantaged employees are single mothers who are responsible for their extended families.
Soon after, Atlantis Seafoods started invested in local commercial fishing ventures. In 2019, they bought a shareholding in Lwandlekazi Fishing (Pty) Ltd, a commercial fishing venture that owns a hake vessel. This venture allowed for collaboration with other small quota holders to establish and sustain a viable fishing business.
In 2021, they became a shareholder in a hake longline vessel along with a pilchard and anchovy vessel, both operating in South African waters.
“Atlantis Seafood Products is committed to ongoing investment in the South African fishing industry. We believe that further quota granted to our business will directly benefit our workforce and the local Atlantis community that we support, for many years to come,” said Luis.
Atlantis Seafood Products remains dedicated to continue supporting initiatives that support the local community and aid in the battle for food security to progressively build a better South Africa.