Trans­for­ma­tion is a key fac­tor in driv­ing SA to be a far bet­ter place than it is now

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Javed Ma­lik Javed Ma­lik is the for­mer Sky­wise co-chair.

TRANS­FOR­MA­TION is a key fac­tor in driv­ing South Africa to be­come a far bet­ter place than it is now. It is a very pow­er­ful and use­ful weapon, but if it is wrongly han­dled it will de­feat the whole pur­pose of what it is in­tended to achieve.

Presently it needs to shrug off its big­gest chal­lenges of per­ceived cor­rup­tion and lack of un­der­stand­ing and knowl­edge of its pur­pose. It must be backed by trans­parency, the right peo­ple in the right po­si­tions, buy-in from other races and de-politi­ci­sa­tion.

Fur­ther­more, my big­gest fear is that peo­ple are us­ing trans­for­ma­tion as a short cut to con­trol means to wealth as well as de­mand favours.

If you look at our avi­a­tion in­dus­try, so far trans­for­ma­tion is not tak­ing place or if it’s hap­pen­ing at all it is un­no­tice­able.

The avi­a­tion sec­tor in South Africa must see new blood in the form of young en­gi­neers be­ing trained and drafted in and tak­ing mean­ing­ful man­age­rial roles. This process must be done in a trans­par­ent man­ner, as it can be prone to ad­vanc­ing those who are po­lit­i­cally con­nected.

It is my ap­peal to cham­pi­ons of in­dus­tries, specif­i­cally avi­a­tion, to be trans­par­ent with a view to grow the air­line in­dus­try and the travel in­dus­try at large and the greater econ­omy in gen­eral.

As it is, many young peo­ple will soon give up on the prom­ise of trans­for­ma­tion, as they fear and in some cases clearly see the process ben­e­fit­ing un­de­serv­ing com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als where trans­for­ma­tion is tak­ing shape.

I strongly be­lieve in trans­for­ma­tion, as its ben­e­fits are there for every­one of the right or fair mind to see and ad­mire if well im­ple­mented.

Through a trans­formed South Africa the coun­try’s strate­gic in­dus­tries can be­gin to see young tal­ented or ed­u­cated peo­ple be­ing part of driv­ing the econ­omy to much greater heights. We will be­gin to see de­serv­ing com­pa­nies ben­e­fit­ing rather than those that are favoured ow­ing to their own­er­ship through pol­i­tics or colour or race.

The fact that we need trans­for­ma­tion must not mean tak­ing some­one who is not qual­i­fied and put him/her to take charge of the coun­try’s re­sources or to lead strate­gic in­sti­tu­tions or in­dus­tries.

Trans­for­ma­tion re­quires the right mind and to be un­der­stood as a way to bring in a bal­ance to ac­cess eco­nomic re­sources. It is not a one day process, but it has to take place speed­ily in or­der to ad­dress the cur­rent im­bal­ances in some sec­tors of the econ­omy.

As it is, con­sid­er­ing the seem­ing re­sis­tance it may take years to achieve, de­spite it be­ing a must in a coun­try like ours.

At the mo­ment I see trans­for­ma­tion be­ing per­ceived as a neg­a­tive means to take away re­sources from those that were or are priv­i­leged.

Those who are re­sist­ing it should un­der­stand that the process of trans­for­ma­tion is not tak­ing away re­sources from those that had op­por­tu­nity be­fore and merely plac­ing them be­fore those who need them hap­haz­ardly, but a process of good in­ten­tions aimed at spread­ing re­sources among those who lack but have tal­ent.

South Africa re­quires its trans­for­ma­tion process to be sup­ported by all stake­hold­ers and minds for it to be fully at­tained.

No place for pol­i­tics

Though the drive to trans­form is be­ing led by politi­cians, there must be no place for pol­i­tics in trans­for­ma­tion. Politi­cians should be seen as merely tak­ing the lead in a process that is del­i­cate and some­times too sen­si­tive for oth­ers to par­take in.

Trans­for­ma­tion should be viewed as a process of lead­ing with good in­ten­tions in var­i­ous spheres of busi­ness.

Trans­for­ma­tion calls for a to­tal de­coloni­sa­tion of the minds so as to see it progress fully to ben­e­fit all. It must be well thought out, in­tended and ex­e­cuted.

Trans­for­ma­tion must not be pay­ing lip ser­vice, but should be ac­tiv­i­ties that lead to tan­gi­ble re­sults that will bring in ev­ery per­son to en­joy the fruits of the na­tion. It is not a fight for re­sources, but should be seen as a right to those who lack eco­nomic means.

Per­haps more im­por­tantly, the process of trans­for­ma­tion re­quires thor­ough buy-in by those that be­lieve that it must not take place or that it is pol­i­tics or putting re­sources into wrong hands or be­fore an in­com­pe­tent race or races.

As I see it trans­for­ma­tion has all the in­gre­di­ents to usher peace and tran­quil­ity in a coun­try like ours, which some­times boils over in some sec­tors.

Trans­for­ma­tion must not be seen as neg­a­tive but positive for eco­nomic and wide spread na­tion build­ing and growth. It must take place in all spheres of the econ­omy – sports, ed­u­ca­tion, in­dus­try, tech­nol­ogy and oth­ers.

It must not be im­ple­mented as win­dow dress­ing, but as a gen­uine process that seeks to bal­ance the present go­ing into the fu­ture. The process of trans­for­ma­tion re­quires the re­al­i­sa­tion that the ma­jor­ity had not had the priv­i­lege of re­sources be­fore or re­sources where skewed to­wards a par­tic­u­lar race against an­other, and that this is now time or per­haps it is over­due to re­verse its neg­a­tive ef­fects how­ever in a trans­par­ent man­ner.

There must be ut­most trans­parency in all pro­cesses of trans­for­ma­tion.

There must be no hid­den agen­das, as it will lead the process into dis­re­pute. Trans­for­ma­tion is the lad­der to shar­ing equally all the re­sources that are avail­able in a coun­try of ours.

Wher­ever there is trans­for­ma­tion de­bate it must not be merely a talk shop, but ac­tion ori­en­tated. It must not be viewed as ret­ro­gres­sive or un­do­ing the gains of cer­tain in­dus­tries where it is ap­par­ent it is lack­ing like in sports, avi­a­tion and other sec­tors.

Long-term pros­per­ity

If prop­erly planned and ex­e­cuted trans­for­ma­tion can be a pil­lar on which the en­tire South African econ­omy can rest for its long-term pros­per­ity.

Trans­for­ma­tion is about gen­uine eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment for all peo­ple of all races, as op­posed to tak­ing over in­dus­tries where some races were the only par­tak­ers be­fore.

It must not be viewed as cor­rup­tion or bad lead­er­ship.

The process re­quires that it be led by peo­ple who have gen­uine in­ter­est of the na­tion at heart. It is about a new think­ing that places races as equal in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. It must not be clouded or mired in grey ar­eas or pol­i­tics or race cul­ture.

It must not be seen as a lose can­non, but a well di­rected con­cept aimed at achiev­ing its well in­tended goals of eco­nomic bal­ance across all in­dus­tries.

Trans­for­ma­tion should not be a bat­tle­ground to show po­lit­i­cal power, but should be about good or proper lead­er­ship. It is about tal­ented in­di­vid­u­als rather than mass pro­gres­sion of those that are not tal­ented, or pro­mo­tion of the best qual­i­fied for true eco­nomic pros­per­ity.

There must be no room for set­tling grudges on the road to achieve to­tal trans­for­ma­tion. Nei­ther should the process be al­lowed to be a haven for po­lit­i­cal games­man­ship or scor­ing po­lit­i­cal points.

Trans­for­ma­tion must not be about dis­ad­van­tag­ing an­other race, but co-opt­ing more races into en­joy­ing the fruits of eco­nomic par­tic­i­pa­tion and suc­cess.

For trans­for­ma­tion to fully be re­alised it must be em­braced by all – rather than be pushed by a sin­gle race or peo­ple in pol­i­tics.

In the end trans­for­ma­tion must be about the right in­for­ma­tion on who en­joys what or lack what for what rea­sons cur­rent or em­a­nat­ing from the past. In a nut­shell it must be re­flected in the de­mo­graphic and sta­tis­tics of the coun­try. But above all it must be about equal par­tic­i­pa­tion to eco­nomic gain for all through trans­parency.


SAA pre­par­ing to land at the OR Tambo Air­port, Johannesburg. The au­thor says that trans­for­ma­tion in our avi­a­tion in­dus­try is not tak­ing place or if it is hap­pen­ing at all it is un­no­tice­able.

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