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How Does Business SA Meet the “Thuma Mina” Mandate?


How Does Business SA Meet the “Thuma Mina” Mandate?

Joanne Walsh

Managing Director – IDG SA

IDG South Africa hosted Kaizer Nyatsumba at their quarterly executive conversation with Supply Chain Professionals, in Sandton on the 13th July 2018. Joanne Walsh puts forward some of the delegate’s pressing questions to Kaizer.

Joanne Walsh: What is the current sentiment of business in response to the “Thuma Mina” Movement?

Kaizer Nyatsumba: Five months back, President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered an articulate professional SONA 2018. Filled with promise and inspired confidence. Now, citizens are despondent and frustrated with grudging consent on some milestones, a continued bloated cabinet – three times the size of British & American cabinets and a barrage of crude insults. That said, I believe, where there is complexity, there is opportunity.

In the spirit of “Thuma Mina”, how should business respond?

Traditionally business has had an adversarial relationship with government. This is most unfortunate and myopic. Business is crucial to our economic and social success. Business creates jobs, pays taxes, gives dignity to people, who in turn pay taxes. Business has every right to be heard and in the spirit of Thuma Mina they need to temper their needs with the best interests of the country. In the words of JFK – “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country.”

Lerato asked how best to communicate the “Thuma Mina” message to multi-national and global stakeholders?

Transformation is not an exclusively South African phenomenon. Affirmative Action was an American intervention amongst many other interventions to address inequalities in context historically. The risk for companies to deny the need for transformation could endanger their business interest in the long-term. If it is in South Africa’s interest, then they must support it. Therefore, it is in the best interest of those who want to do business here. South Africans need to become powerful ambassadors.

Supply Chain professionals, in particular, are privy to BBBEE compliance addressed as a “tick box” compliance exercise stating that the true intent is not being realised. How then do businesses get beyond compliance and contribute to transformation in a meaningful way?

Businesses need to embrace diversity as a success factor. This was realised by Boeing with diversity and inclusion as one of their highest values. Transformation is a culture with diversity contributing to significantly to their success.

How (and why should we) do we combat a culture of entitlement, shifting citizens to become givers rather than takers?

Social Welfare is something every civilised country should do. However, I suggest with caution, as it encourages a culture of entitlement. Job creation is the serious challenge. Everyone should have an opportunity to earn a living. People need to aspire to something they can contribute to meaningfully. Government does not create jobs. It is not a giver, it is a facilitator. We need a growing economy and business stands ready to work with government to build a better economy.

What is your advice to business as to how they should engage with government?

As corporate citizens businesses need to be alert and well advised to avoid backing one or other party. They should stand above the political fray.

We shared insights into our award-winning supplier welfare programme that has improved the welfare of 45,000 employees of supplier companies in an industry wide programme in the Middle East. Do you believe that South African businesses have responsibility for the welfare of employees of their suppliers?

Supplier welfare is the right thing to do. Businesses need to be consistent with their messaging across their value chain, otherwise they could be seen as opportunistic. Businesses that stand for dignity must care beyond compliance. It is hypocritical to say you stand for dignity and you don’t’ demonstrate care.


Joanne Walsh is the Managing Director of Inspirational Development Group South Africa. (IDG-SA).
Joanne’s extensive global experience, her intimate understanding of shareholder value and investor confidence in the world of capital markets, along with her passion to raise the bar for individuals, teams and organisations ensures that IDG’s business performance engagements deliver ROI.
“IDG-SA is a business performance company with access to truly extraordinary client interventions across the globe. Our global faculty of subject matter experts ensures that our leadership, followership and partnership model fully serves the cross-functional business processes, leveraging functional competencies and fulfilling behavioral change required to raise the commercial excellence bar.”
~ Joanne Walsh


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