Assessment of Ethics and Sustainability in Systems Management at Kuruman Abattoir in Northern Cape of South Africa

Environmental and Ethics Responsibility

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2016

48 Pages, Grade: 76%


Table of Contents

Gracious Banda



Glossary of terms and abbreviations:


1.1. General:
1.2. Background Information:
1.3. Aim:
1.4. Objectives:

2. Methodology and approach:

3. Ethical Issues:

4. Impact

5. Project Execution Plan

6. Scope of the assessment
6.1. Stakeholder Engagement
6.2. Conducting Site Assessment
6.2.3. Physical survey
6.3. Ethical and Sustainability practices analysis
6.3.1. Impact severity factor (ISF)
6.4. Sustainability practices opportunities analysis

7. Key outcomes

8. Recommendations
8.1. CSR Implementation Requirements

9. Discussion, Conclusion and Future Work
9.1. Discussion
9.2. Conclusion and Future work

10. Reference List

11. Appendix A

12. Appendix B
12.5. Red meat abattoir process resource utilization:


I declare that this paper originates from my independent work. It has never before been published at any University or higher institution of learning.

The contents in this project report are based on a field survey for which the “Introduction” content may reflect partial similarity to “Introduction” contents in my Assessment1, a Project Proposal for this paper which I submitted to University of Derby in June 2016.

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My gratitude goes to everyone who supported me during the course of my study of the module. Classwork using UDOL modern technologies especially the blackboard-collaborate, online library, and my engineering practice made it possible for me to conclude this assignment.

Above all else, the Lord God, has been “my glory and the lifter of mine head”. Psalms3:3.

Glossary of terms and abbreviations:

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List of Tables

Table 1; April 28, 2016 main Stakeholder meeting list of official role players.

Table 2; South African national human population (December, 2015) by province.

Table 3; National red meat abattoirs by province

Table 4; Ethical and Sustainability issues analysis table.

Table 5; SWOT Analysis on Ethics and Sustainability

Table 6; Key outcomes of high severity impact to medium severity impact distinguished by highlighting.

List of Figures

Figure 1; Map showing Geographical position of Kuruman abattoir (an identified Agri-hub)

Figure 2; Precinct aerial view based on Google map street view.

Figure 3; Project Work Breakdown Structure.

Figure 4; Project Schedule Gantt Chart.

Figure 5; Chart of April 28, 2016 main Stakeholder meeting list of official role players

Figure 6; South African human population, (December, 2015) pattern by province

Figure 7; National abattoirs pattern

Figure 8; Key Ethics and Sustainability issues analysis distribution

Figure 9; Ethics and Environmental Model Framework

Figure 10; CSR Implementation steps based on IISD, (2016).

List of Appendices




In this global age and in the cosmos which we all are a part of, corporate governance, good business conduct of economic responsibility, legal responsibility, ethical responsibility both socially and environmentally are all key elements and popular terminologies in the day-to-day operations and management of majority of organisations, private or public.

In a red meat abattoir business, whether it be in the high throughput or low throughput category, both ethical and environmental responsibility result in yielding of several benefits economically, socially and technologically which are a basis of sustainability for a happy and healthy society and its planet today and in the future.

Key words: Corporate governance, good business conduct, ethical responsibility, sustainability .


1.1. General:

The assessment of the Kuruman Abattoir reported in this paper resulted from the effort by the South African government’s introduction of the national Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) for identified and piloted sites named Agri-hubs across the country driven by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR). The Framework for Rural Development (FRD), which defines rural industrial development requirements and basic human needs in uplifting lives of the less fortunate communities was adopted as a result of the establishment of the CRDP in order to ensure that there exists a system of vibrant, equitable, sustainable rural communities.

This study on the Kuruman Abattoir site, focuses on ethical and environmental awareness in systems management at this establishment and the impact of such practices on sustainability of life, environment and systems within the abattoir as well as to the surrounding communities and to the globe at large.

1.2. Background Information:

Of the two abattoirs currently available in the town of Kuruman, the Rural Development and Land Reform department saw it most viable to choose the Kuruman Abattoir and negotiate with the family owners to procure this facility for the purpose of transforming it into an Agri-hub (livestock farming based for red meat commodity) because of its strategic location as well the currently reasonably acceptable operability conditions which would require low-level upgrade investment to satisfy the intended requirements. An Agri-hub is a short term for agricultural hub, a facility which links up and supports all farmer production support units of a zoned area, typically, a district municipality.

1.2.1. Site details:

illustration not visible in this excerpt Site Map1

The site map below shows the geographic location, within the southern African region, of the position of the Kuruman red meat abattoir also indicated as such on the map. It is based on the national piloted sites allocations as stated in section 1.1. of this paper.

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Figure 1; Map showing Geographical position of Kuruman abattoir (an identified Agri-hub) Site Map 2:

The site map below shows the precinct location, within the Kuruman town in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district municipality, of aerial street view of the Kuruman red meat abattoir based on coordinates captured during site survey.

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Figure 2; Precinct aerial view based on Google map street view.

The Abattoir as an Agri-hub, its near future management structure plan

The site currently still being transferred from a family business ownership to the new Local Community Cooperative (LCC) is to be managed by a resident project manager (departmental district manager) who reports directly to the director of Rural Infrastructure Development (RID) based in Kimberley, the provincial capital of the province for a 10year period within which governmental financial support to the Local Community Cooperative will be valid to allow the group of farmers to become self-reliant and economically stable. This red meat abattoir currently caters for slaughtering of a maximum of 100 cattle, 30 sheep and 30 goats per day suppling fresh red meat to communities within the town of Kuruman and the whole district municipality but also to meat processing plants within the province. It therefore falls under the category of high throughput type also referred to as A-Class. As part of the procurement and subsequent upgrade works required, a site assessment project was initiated by the government.


The assessment covered in this paper only focuses on elements of ethics and sustainability by exploring the analysis of Applied Ethics and practice of Standard Ethical Principles (SEP) of accuracy and rigour or actions of care and competence in systems approach to abattoir engineering activities which when put into practice, result in respect of autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice in working with a mix of stakeholders.

1.3. Aim:

The study aim is to assess and report on current Ethics and Sustainability practices in the systems management at the site and how they impact on the environment, the employees at the site, the local community and the public in the province as well as at a larger scale, globally.

1.4. Objectives:

The principal objective is to conduct an assessment to establish whether or not, the current practices in management of the case study site operations are ethical and sustainable and then use the study findings for the benefit of both concluding authoring an academic paper and improving the approach to socio-economic and sustainability issues at the case study site. The detail of this objective is split into specific and general approaches as follows:

a) Specific objectives are to

- Establish the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) aligned with ethical and sustainability issues at Kuruman red meat abattoir
- Advise on how the weaknesses and threats elements of the ethical and sustainability issues could be turned into strengths and benefits

b) General objectives;

- Resulting from the survey findings, map out how a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy if non-existent can be developed and implemented
- Use the outcomes of the survey to raise environmental awareness at the site and use the analysis of the outcomes to advise site management team and stakeholders on how to go about implementing methods which can lead to resource efficiency and cleaner productivity at the site ensuring that valued resources, the ecosystem and moral being are safeguarded against degradation and pollution
- Promote responsible and professional practice in respect of life, law and public good

2. Methodology and approach:

In order to achieve the project aim and objectives a methodology and approach was mapped with a mind set on key elements and tools that ought to be used for this purpose. Key to the methods to be employed and the approach to be used was to pre-plan a survey checklist and incorporate it into a questionnaire form to use for gathering site survey information. The site questionnaire and results included under section 6.2 of this paper was based on the checklist preparation activity.

2.1. Pre-site visit checklist preparation

The activity involved among other items listing salient possible areas that require investigative and quick-scan assessment including but not limited to checks on:

- The facility’s infrastructural design with a focus of renewable resource utilisation and sustainability
- The moral conduct of apex management and shareholders towards employees and the local community
- The ethics applicability in handling of both the red meat and the by-products after slaughter
- The exploration of possible hazards to both human health and environment as a result of the abattoir activities
- The safety of persons at work e.g. use of personal protective equipment
- The investigation of waste handling and waste treatment or disposal
- The rules and regulations governing the handling and care for live animals in the lairage or holding pens
- The house cleaning at the site
- The level of resource efficiency and cleaner productivity at the site including cost of energy and level of utilisation that has a direct bearing on carbon foot-print quality, availability of water (potable, storm, rain and waste types), the quantity of waste management chemicals used and how these chemicals are managed
- The interaction frequency between the veterinarian and the abattoir responsible personnel
- The management of non-process waste from offices, canteens, kitchens and change houses
- The identification of air-borne wastes by e.g. odour smell
- The level of dust contaminations
- The level of availability of fuel burning emissions
- The design and refrigerant type of cold-room chillers and freezers
- The type of effluent treatment plant at the facility

2.2. Resource planning and arrangements for travel to site

Planning for resource allocation and utilisation in order to effectively execute any size of a project requires responsible leadership with forethought in weighing and balancing issues which includes evaluating the probability of risk and how to manage such. This section is covered in detail under section 5 of this paper.

3. Ethical Issues:

Business Ethics by definition, according to Chapter 5 (p.125) of “Engineering, Business and Professional Ethics” by Robinson, S. (2007)., is the systematic study of right conduct within a business context as applicable to professions of accountants, managers, directors at corporate level of a business or organization. This includes wider responsibilities to the local communities, the environment at a niche level as well as at global scale in respect of which Business Ethics underlying principles ought to be put into perspective as follows:

- Ontological theory - a business ethics theory based on the general principles of existence
- Utilitarian theory - a business ethics theory based on maximization of the good for the greatest number of people, both within a business and outside it. Robinson, S. (2007).

Businesses benefit from Business ethics if Ethics Policy is used as a tool

According to Chapter 5 (pp.126-128) of “Engineering, Business and Professional Ethics” by Robinson, S. (2007)., the concept introduces an exploration of how an Ethical Policy or code of conduct or a set of business principles can be used as management tools for upholding the good image of an organisation. The Ethical Policy dictates the way the business functions and how this impacts on and applies to the stakeholders, local community and beyond to the globe.

3.1. Types of ethical issues

The main types of ethical issues are Corporate socio-economic or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability or Environmental Responsibility.

3.2. Modern day Perspectives of ethical issues

What is Corporate Social Responsibility (SCR)?

International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) definition: “SCR means open and transparent business practices that are based on ethical values and respect for employees, communities and environment designed to deliver sustainable value to society at large as well as shareholders.” It sets out the main reason why corporations and businesses at any level ought to have a CSR policy.

“The essence of CSR is that companies behave in a responsible manner beyond their commercial and regulatory requirements.” Robinson, S. (2007). This is closely related to the concept of ‘Corporate citizenship’. According to Andriof and McIntosh, (2001)., Corporate citizenship is the understanding and managing a company’s wider influences on society for the benefit of the company and society as a whole.

Based on the Ten CSR Principles of the United Nations Global Compact (p.32) in the UN Global Compact Management Model, (2010)., the pillars for establishing a CSR policy for any business including this case study site ought to be;

Promotion of equality and prevention of unfair discrimination, human resource development, employee labour relations, consumer relations, supplier relations, environmental health and public safety, socio-economic and community development, anticorruption and whistleblowing of un-ethical conduct.

Sustainability ethics

There is a strong belief (ethical theories and religions) that the purpose for existence of humanity was for sustainability of the earth, tend and care for the environment. The principle of stewardship, arguing that the earth belongs to God and that human beings have the role of care for the earth and all there is. Robinson, S. (1992).

With regards to modern society, a professional engineer’s sustainable ethics should morally promote ethical principles for the good of continued sustenance of the environment for the present and future generations. EC, UK-SPEC. (2013, pp.28-29).

According to Hurka, T. (1992)., sustainability ethics is an amalgamation of concepts of business and environmental ethics integrated with a focus on the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of an organisation.

Becoming sustainable makes business sense that not only focuses on profits but equally considers people and the planet but sometimes organisations tend to falsely paint a picture of disinformation on sustainability. The term, according to Chapter 7 (p.175) of “Engineering, Business and Professional Ethics” by Robinson. S (2007)., for such an act is “Greenwashing.”

4. Impact

Business ethics is the heart of professional practice with clear understanding of responsibility and accountability to stakeholders to avoid loss of purpose and reputation which is the basis of trust with consumers and society in general. Lack of ethics in business or poor business conduct can impact negatively in all facets of a thriving business be it political, economic, social, technological or legal.

Wrong conduct or acting in unethical manner can result in considerable environmental damage and health risks affecting sustainability for both the current and future generations. The Ukrainian Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster (April 25 to 26, 1986) is regarded the worst of nuclear disasters! It resulted from a flawed reactor design with inadequately trained personnel (poor safety instructions), which was the ultimate human error cause for the explosion of the two reactors. The acute radioactive release and poisoning, resulted in immediate deaths varying from 56 to over 2500 according to Schrader-Fretchette, (1999). The negative impact was not only regional but global.

Lessons learnt, interface and mitigating actions

Global approach in reaction to and based on this catastrophic disaster was a Declaration against the environmental injustice at the Rio Declaration of 1992 which states that, “In order to protect the environment, States shall apply precautionary approach according to their capabilities where prevails threats of serious or irreversible damage. Lack of full scientific certainty shall not be excuse for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. Grace, D. and Cohen, S. (2005).

On the other hand, good business conduct results in respect of autonomy and motivation of employees in discharging their duties, non-maleficence or zero harm as a result of safe practices, beneficence due to the fact that a conducive work environment promotes learning of new ideas and innovations spring up, finally there is prevalence of social justice as well as economic justice and responsible decision making.

4.1. Global examples of current best practices (Positive Results):

· Drinking water for eMalahleni Municipality case study based on Anglo Coals Greenside Colliery mining activities in Witbank, Mpumalanga province of South Africa, the activities impact on the environment and communities of the area discusses an environmental problem and solution as stated below;

Storm water that leaks, seeps into the coal mines gets acidified by coal deposits. The water seepage hampers mining activities but the result of flowing through coal deposits is the unavoidable contamination of local water supplies to the local potable water reservoirs. Having realised a mining activity’s environmental liability, Anglo American engaged into a sustainable private-public partnership with Ingwe, a local organisation in establishing a plant that would convert waste-water from mines to drinking and potable water that would be monitored regularly. The project commenced in 2005 and was completed in 2007. It provides approximately 30 million litres per day or 20% of the total potable water requirements for eMalahleni municipality whilst employing 25 permanent workers and several periodic casual ones at the water purification plant. Gunther and Mey, (2007).

Lessons learnt, interface and mitigating actions

Responsible realisation of environmental liability led Anglo American to establish a socially sustainable water purification plant and create more employment thereby reducing poverty in the communities around its mines. Other mining companies are already adopting a similar approach. Anglo American has set a responsible and sustainable standard.

- The Société de Gestion des Abattoirs du Sénégal (SOGAS), a major player in the meat sector in Senegal, and its slaughterhouses ensures an environmentally sustainable daily supply of more than 20,000 tonnes of meat, most of which is consumed in the capital, Dakar. The systems operations and management is briefly discussed as follows;

According to UNIDO, (2014)., The company’s Dakar slaughterhouse is located near the seafront at Hann Bay, and previously the method of disposing of wastewater (blood, fat, hair, faeces, urine, etc.) from the slaughterhouse was to discharge it into the sea. Hann Bay got highly populated because of this as well as augmented with new industries developed along the seafront beginning in the late 1960s.

Lessons learnt, interface and mitigating actions

With technical assistance from UNIDO, SOGAS has implemented an upgrading project that uses an innovative solution to convert its production waste into energy.

SOGAS now uses bio-digester technology to produce natural gas for thermal energy and electricity from the waste at the site. The electricity is used to power the slaughterhouse fridges and the thermal energy to produce hot water used for cleaning.

Transforming bio-degradable waste into clean energy that powers the machines at the slaughterhouse is a windfall that has allowed SOGAS to significantly improve its competitiveness in the sector. The company has been able to cut its monthly electricity bill by approximately 70 per cent, as well as reduce the amount it previously paid in taxes related to pollution. The bio-gas process also provides SOGAS with by-products, such as natural fertilizer, which form an extra source of income for the company. The reduction in wastewater and bio-waste also helps lower greenhouse gas emissions. Further detail on impact analysis has been explored in section 5.3. in this paper.

5. Project Execution Plan

Project execution plan started with the development of a work breakdown structure (WBS) to guide the team members in the core responsibilities and expected deliverables. The key activity levels of the WBS have been planning, execution, control and monitoring, documentation of findings and management review.


Excerpt out of 48 pages


Assessment of Ethics and Sustainability in Systems Management at Kuruman Abattoir in Northern Cape of South Africa
Environmental and Ethics Responsibility
University of Derby  (College of Engineering and Technology)
Master of Science in Professional Engineering
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
2055 KB
This paper is based on project work concluded as part of both consulting Engineering Practice as well as a one of the Master of Science compulsory modules.
good business conduct, ethical responsibility, sustainability., corporate governance, CSR
Quote paper
Gracious Banda (Author), 2016, Assessment of Ethics and Sustainability in Systems Management at Kuruman Abattoir in Northern Cape of South Africa, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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