ECO­NOMIC CHANGE

SA LEAD­ERS ARE A BIG IM­PED­I­MENT TO The po­lit­i­cal party that is go­ing to de­liver true democ­racy in this coun­try is yet to be formed, says the BMF’s Busi Mavuso

CityPress - - Business - LE­SETJA MALOPE le­setja.malope@city­press.co.za

The lack of de­ci­sive lead­er­ship from South Africa’s prin­ci­pals is a ma­jor im­ped­i­ment to trans­for­ma­tion, ac­cord­ing to Black Man­age­ment Fo­rum (BMF) man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Busi Mavuso. In an in­ter­view with City Press, Mavuso was crit­i­cal of the ANC, say­ing that the gov­ern­ing party was not tak­ing charge and was prov­ing to be a prob­lem.

“If you are the rul­ing party and have the power to make poli­cies that can ben­e­fit the ma­jor­ity of the peo­ple in this coun­try, 23 years later, why are we sit­ting where we are sit­ting? Why are we ro­manc­ing this no­tion of trans­for­ma­tion? Why are we not be­ing more force­ful to make sure that these white peo­ple un­der­stand that this thing needs to hap­pen be­cause the wealth that they got is ill-got­ten?” she said, re­call­ing a dis­cus­sion the BMF had with the ANC about the mat­ter.

“When you have power to in­flu­ence things, do that. I don’t see the ANC do­ing that,” she added.

She charged that “the ANC is not the party that is go­ing to de­liver this coun­try”.

“They have al­ready failed dis­mally. The po­lit­i­cal party that is go­ing to de­liver true democ­racy in this coun­try is yet to be formed.

“I don’t think it’s the EFF. I don’t think it’s the DA,” she said, sug­gest­ing that the #FeesMustFall move­ment might be best-placed to, in fu­ture, form an or­gan­i­sa­tion that might bring about trans­for­ma­tion.

Mavuso said part of the prob­lem was that the deal that gave birth to demo­cratic South Africa was the prod­uct of ne­go­ti­a­tions among un­equal par­ties.

“My view, not the BMF’s view, is that the terms upon which this democ­racy was achieved were flawed,” she said.

On the re­cent Min­ing Char­ter quota, Mavuso said the con­se­quence of call­ing for 30% black own­er­ship of min­ing li­cences was the im­pli­ca­tion that 70% should be white-owned.

She said this was an­other ex­am­ple of gov­ern­ment do­ing the same thing over and over again but ex­pect­ing dif­fer­ent re­sults.

She ac­cused cor­po­rate South Africa of not fully un­der­stand­ing the im­por­tance and busi­ness im­per­a­tive of trans­for­ma­tion.

Hav­ing started her ca­reer with a seven-year stint in the bank­ing sec­tor af­ter ma­tric­u­lat­ing as a 16-year-old, the chal­lenges of find­ing one’s place in an un­trans­formed en­vi­ron­ment is some­thing Mavuso is not only pas­sion­ate about but has had first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence with. The fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor is still con­sid­ered one of the most un­trans­formed in­dus­tries in South Africa.

Mavuso said that trans­for­ma­tion was not taken se­ri­ously in some ar­eas of busi­ness and that in the Western Cape as well as in a num­ber of big cor­po­rate com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing KMPG, the re­verse was true.

“Trans­for­ma­tion is a busi­ness im­per­a­tive. If the mid­dle class grows then your busi­ness will be se­cure be­cause they will af­ford [to buy] and not steal from it,” she said. She said a more de­sir­able econ­omy would be one that had 7 mil­lion peo­ple de­pen­dant on so­cial grants and 17 mil­lion tax­pay­ing cit­i­zens in­stead of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion where 17 mil­lion South Africans de­pend on so­cial grants and 7 mil­lion are tax­pay­ers.

She ad­mit­ted that the coun­try would at some point need to exit the trans­for­ma­tion agenda in pur­suit of for­mer pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela’s dream of a rain­bow na­tion.

How­ever, when asked how soon she thought that dream would be re­alised, Mavuso’s re­sponse was: “Not in my life­time, I am hop­ing it is go­ing to be in my kids’ life­time. But the way things are go­ing in this coun­try, it is not go­ing to be in my kids’ life­time ei­ther.

“We are sup­posed to put time frames to this be­cause if it is go­ing to take 24 years ... then it is no longer rad­i­cal, it’s grad­ual,” she said, adding that trans­for­ma­tion needed to be de­fined and reg­u­lated.

Be­ing part of an or­gan­i­sa­tion that has a his­tory of close links with the ANC, Mavuso’s elo­quence on trans­for­ma­tion of the econ­omy may just be the gospel needed to awaken the sleep­ing gi­ant that BMF is some­times con­sid­ered.

She warned that the daily protests across the coun­try were a sign that the cen­tre was not hold­ing and peo­ple were tak­ing mat­ters into their own hands.

Speak­ing to City Press in the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s Johannesburg of­fices, the Soweto-born ex­ec­u­tive, who holds a mas­ter’s de­gree in busi­ness lead­er­ship from the Uni­ver­sity of SA, said it was cru­cial that the terms for trans­for­ma­tion be set out by the coun­try’s lead­ers.

“Whether we like it or not trans­for­ma­tion in this coun­try is go­ing to come.

“We had bet­ter be smart enough as lead­ers to dic­tate the terms on which this trans­for­ma­tion is go­ing to hap­pen be­cause if we don’t set out the terms our­selves, then those terms are go­ing to be dic­tated to us by the masses,” said Mavuso.

Busi Mavuso

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