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Sappi announces winners of Annual Achievement Awards

Press release from the issuing company

Global pulp and paper leader, Sappi, today announced the winners of its 2004 Achievement Awards for the southern African region. The awards recognise the outstanding dedication and commitment of Sappi's employees to the group and to their communities. They are made regardless of rank and any employee can nominate another for an award, ensuring that they are representative of both company and peer recognition. "Sappi's people are the mind, heart and soul of the business," said André Wagenaar, Sappi Forest Products' Chief Executive Officer, "and we believe in honouring them with these awards. Above all, we look to recognise and acknowledge employees who not only show a passion for their jobs, but who contribute to the general growth and well-being of the communities in which they live." The Gold Achievement Award this year went to Bheki Gumede, Jephred Ngubane and Rani Redhi, who have played a significant role in the development of Sappi's Project Grow in Maputaland since 1997. Project Grow provides seedlings, training, financial assistance and a guaranteed market for small timber growers from historically-disadvantaged communities. The project's vision statement, "Ukuvulela Umphakathi Amathuba" means "Growing Opportunities for People" and this dedicated team of Sappi employees has worked tirelessly to turn that vision into a reality for their community. In 1990, the first harvest delivered by Maputaland's Project Grow was a modest 1,850 tons. Fifteen years later, the growers delivered 120,000 tons to the value of R25 million in 2004. Since the project's inception, growers have earned a total of R135 million, positively impacting on the lives of approximately 80,000 people. Their contribution to this phenomenal success is an achievement of which Gumede, Ngubane and Redhi can be justifiably proud. The runners-up awards were also presented to Sappi Forests projects. Andie Immelman, Nicholas Tait and James Thorpe were nominated for developing an innovative Network Analysis product that significantly enhances the division's planning and reporting capacity and Robin Pretorius was recognised for working with suppliers to develop a more cost-efficient truck for the road transportation of timber. Other nominations recognised achievements in all aspects of the business. In Port Elizabeth, Ntobeko Boyana was nominated for his commitment to the local Protec (maths and science training) branch and through this establishing an innovative internship programme at Adamas Mill. In Springs, Gert van Rooyen of Enstra Mill was recognised for making a production process adjustment that enabled Sappi to deliver a large order to an extremely tight deadline. Sidney Nair of Stanger Mill was nominated for achieving a record cost saving of 86% against budget and for spearheading SAP training at the mill. At Sappi Cape Kraft, André Maritz was recognised for finding a new way to reduce repair time on the production line and, at Ngodwana Mill, Erwin Schroeder and Arthur Estment were nominated for engineering management that minimised the impact on production during a boiler upgrade. Nominations from Sappi Saiccor included Peter Morris for on-going excellence in the running of the four Mkomazi plants, Sid Thorne for his co-ordination of Project Journey, Sappi's business management systems upgrade project, Bill Visser for developing a cleaning process that saves the mill over R1million a year and André Woest for averting major equipment damage when poor quality water was taken up by a recovery boiler. "It is this kind of commitment, which shows a synergy between business interests and community development, that we are proud to acknowledge and reward with this programme," says Wagenaar. "This year's winning team has gone way beyond the call of duty to ensure that Sappi is a well-run, profitable business in a developing and thriving social environment." The Achievement Awards programme was launched by Sappi in 1984 and continues to recognise the far-reaching contributions to business and community made by Sappi employees. The awards are made in three categories, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Bronze Awards are made monthly throughout the organisation. Any employee may nominate another for consideration and evaluation for the award is based on an objective points system. On a quarterly basis, all Bronze Award winners are re-evaluated according to a more demanding points system and Silver Awards are then made. Gold Award winners are selected from the pool of Silver Award winners on an annual basis and are honoured at a gala event. "At Sappi, we believe in excellence in everything we do," concludes Wagenaar, "and it is my great honour to recognise the excellence of not only these three exemplary employees but all those employees who go the extra mile for Sappi."