IT’S TAKEN SOME TIME, but the Marketing Advertising and Communication Transformation Charter has finally been Gazetted – an event that “can only spur on transformation”, says charter council chairman Nkwenkwe Nkomo. With it comes the ability to measure the success of transformation in the ad industry. The charter council, made up of industry stakeholders, has been set up to monitor progress.
Nkomo expresses “general happiness” with the charter, adding agencies have already been in general compliance – “doing so out of goodwill”. However, Communication and Advertising Forum for Empowerment (Café) chair Kagiso Musi is less positive. Musi, who is Jupiter Drawing Room Johannesburg’s business director, feels “change so far is insignificant. That’s why there was a need to introduce such a charter.” But she concedes that actual measurement is necessary to prove her point.
The charter sets a number of targets for black advancement by 2009 and 2014. For example, agencies are expected to achieve 45% black ownership and 50% of exercisable board voting rights by 2014. Other targets are set for employment equity, skills development and preferential procurement. Achieving those targets produces a scorecard, which becomes a factor when new business is awarded.
for such games and the design of the charter makes it impossible. We also don’t have the luxury because, by and large, we’re suppliers to clients and we’re expected to be alive to the needs for empowerment.”
Musi says the charter committee will monitor movements regularly to ensure reporting is correctly based on SA’s black empowerment codes.
Empowerment has been criticised for not being broad based enough and only producing a few industry elites with their fingers in every pie.
Nkomo states management must have equity (60% is the target) and outside investors aren’t enough. “That’s not to say black people will be stopped from investing in companies if they have the money. But it must be taken into consideration that others need the break.”
Is the charter enough to encourage transformation? Absolutely, declares Musi, though she says the focus must shift from the top levels to middle management and development.
The charter isn’t enforced by Government but industry-driven.