Kick-start­ing empowerment

Finweek English Edition - - Advertising & Marketing - POLOKO MO­FO­KENG

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.

Nk­wenkwe Nkomo

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