Foray into the rest of Africa is a game-changer for AYO

Pretoria News - - BUSINESS REPORT - Sello Mashao Rasethaba is a di­rec­tor of both AYO Tech­nol­ogy So­lu­tions and Global Com­mand and Con­trol Tech­nolo­gies and writes in his per­sonal ca­pac­ity.

THE AN­NUAL Gen­eral Meet­ing (AGM) of AYO Tech­nol­ogy So­lu­tions has been de­layed to­day as a re­sult of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic – at a crit­i­cal time for the com­pany and for black eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment.

Pub­lic com­pa­nies are re­quired to hold AGMs.

How­ever, South Africa will see many AGMs de­layed in line with rec­om­men­da­tions made by the South African govern­ment to in­hibit the spread of Covid-19.

Ac­cord­ing to the Com­pa­nies and In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Com­mis­sion, AGMs must be held to pro­vide, among oth­ers, for pre­sen­ta­tion of the au­dited fi­nan­cial state­ments for the im­me­di­ately pre­ced­ing fi­nan­cial year and the ap­point­ment of the au­di­tors and the au­dit com­mit­tee.

PIC’s trans­for­ma­tion agenda

In Oc­to­ber 2019, the Pub­lic In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (PIC), “re­act­ing to a let­ter re­ceived from AYO, back­tracked on the al­le­ga­tions made – by its act­ing ex­ec­u­tive head of le­gal, gov­er­nance and com­pli­ance, Lindiwe Dlamini – in Par­lia­ment that Sekun­jalo In­vest­ment Hold­ings, through AYO, was si­phon­ing PIC-in­vested funds off­shore”.

Now that the re­port of the Ju­di­cial Com­mis­sion of In­quiry into the PIC is out, the PIC must pos­i­tively con­trib­ute to the sta­bil­ity in AYO and as­sist in build­ing it as a for­mi­da­ble black eco­nomic em­pow­ered com­pany.

The PIC must go back to its for­mer glory as an agent of trans­for­ma­tion when it brought share­holder ac­tivism to the fore in South Africa and its ex­ec­u­tives were not known as the ones who eas­ily shied away from cor­po­rate fights in pur­suit of in­clu­sive econ­omy.

The IOL web­site re­ported in 2010 trans­for­ma­tion and ex­or­bi­tant ex­ec­u­tive pay”. Molefe clashed with Sho­prite man­age­ment over chief ex­ec­u­tive Whitey Bas­son’s R59 mil­lion pay pack­age. This was dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions of a man­age­ment buy­out by Brait Pri­vate Cap­i­tal.”

In 2009, the PIC voted against the Mapitso con­sor­tium’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in Tiger Brand’s black eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment deal, be­cause the group com­prised cur­rent and for­mer nonex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors of the com­pany.

In 2007, the PIC took on Bar­loworld over the lack of trans­for­ma­tion at the com­pany. They gave no­tice that the PIC would be tak­ing a closer look at how ex­ec­u­tive re­mu­ner­a­tion lev­els were de­ter­mined at the com­pa­nies in which the PIC had in­vested.

The PIC had com­plained that Bar­loworld had never had a black ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. At the AGM, War­ren Clewlow also an­nounced that Isaac Shongwe, a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive in the lo­gis­tics di­vi­sion, would be­come the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Bar­loworld Lo­gis­tics Africa and would join Bar­loworld as an ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

Clewlow then said Shongwe, in his ca­pac­ity as the first black ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the group, would also have re­spon­si­bil­ity for em­pow­er­ment, trans­for­ma­tion and so­cial in­vest­ment.

Dur­ing those times the PIC sent out a mes­sage to listed com­pa­nies that “com­pa­nies that are not trans­formed as they should be, should take ac­tion them­selves rather than wait­ing their turn for us to en­gage them.” The PIC ruf­fled feath­ers. This is the role that we ex­pect the PIC to play in com­pa­nies they have in­vested in.

AYO and the de­fence in­dus­try Busi­ness from the African Union is very im­por­tant for AYO, be­cause of con­tin­u­ing de­fence bud­get cuts in South Africa.

On July 17, 2019, the IOL web­site re­ported that De­fence and Mil­i­tary Veter­ans Min­is­ter No­siviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the de­fence bud­get cuts were mak­ing the South African Na­tional De­fence Force (SANDF) more un­sus­tain­able.

Brief­ing the me­dia ahead of her bud­get vote speech, Mapisa-Nqakula said the depart­ment had been con­tin­u­ously forced to ad­just its plans down­wards in re­sponse to the de­clin­ing bud­get.

“The de­fence force is be­com­ing pro­gres­sively more un­sus­tain­able in terms of de­clin­ing de­fence al­lo­ca­tions. We have now reached the point where the Repub­lic must de­cide on the kind of de­fence force it wants and what it can af­ford,” she said.

In the up­com­ing AYO AGM, one of the high­lights will be dis­cussing the in­vest­ment it made in Global Com­mand and Con­trol Tech­nolo­gies (GC²T) in March 2017.

GC²T is a lead­ing tech­nol­ogy provider for en­abled aware­ness so­lu­tions across the com­mer­cial, se­cu­rity and mil­i­tary do­mains for the past 20 years.

Its so­lu­tions in­clude as­set and force tracking across the globe (land, air or mar­itime); in­te­grated sit­u­a­tional aware­ness pic­tures to sup­port man­agers, lead­ers and com­man­ders to make in­formed and timeous de­ci­sions; con­struc­tive sim­u­la­tion tech­nol­ogy to do plan­ning, op­ti­mi­sa­tion and re­hearsal from ground level to mis­sion HQs, op­er­a­tions cen­tres and war rooms.

African Eq­uity Em­pow­er­ment In­vest­ments to­gether with AYO now hold 100 per­cent of the shares in the new com­pany, called GC²T.

GC²T has ex­isted in var­i­ous forms since 1982, when it was moved out of the then An­dromeda (state-owned) into the Al­tech Group as the first phase of es­tab­lish­ment of a na­tional com­mand and con­trol strat­egy of the SANDF.

AYO is work­ing hard to find busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fer­ing its prod­ucts and com­pe­tence and is look­ing at African Union (AU) pos­si­bil­i­ties.

In 2019, the AU awarded the “Pro­vi­sion of com­mand, con­trol, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­for­ma­tion for Task Force MNJTF (Multi-Na­tional Joint Task Force)” to Saab Grin­tek with de­vel­op­ment aid from the EU. Saab di­vested the Com­mand Con­trol Train­ing & Sim­u­la­tion busi­ness from its sub­sidiary, Saab Grin­tek De­fence in South Africa.

On Au­gust 1, 2016, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is­sued a state­ment on the Joint Com­mu­niqué by Fed­er­ica Mogherini, EU High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and vice-pres­i­dent of the com­mis­sion; Neven Mim­ica, EU Com­mis­sioner for In­ter­na­tional Co-op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment; and Smail Cher­gui, AU Com­mis­sioner for Peace and Se­cu­rity.

The agree­ment was about a €50 mil­lion (R939.5m) sup­port from the EU’s

“African Peace Fa­cil­ity” to the MNJTF. It was also stated that the sup­port will al­low for the con­struc­tion and main­te­nance of MNJTF head­quar­ters in Nd­ja­mena, Chad, as well as of sec­tor head­quar­ters in Cameroon and Niger.

The aid would also pro­vide trans­port and com­mu­ni­ca­tion as­sets to the force head­quar­ters, al­low­ing for ef­fec­tive co-or­di­na­tion and com­mand of mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions. These as­sets, in­clud­ing ve­hi­cles, aerial trans­porta­tion and re­con­nais­sance ca­pac­i­ties and a com­mand, con­trol, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­for­ma­tion system, would put the cen­tral com­mand in a po­si­tion to co-or­di­nate op­er­a­tions among troop con­tribut­ing coun­tries in their re­spec­tive ter­ri­to­ries.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa on as­sum­ing the chair of the AU for 2020 in an ac­cep­tance speech said it was the task for all African coun­tries to build an Africa that was pros­per­ous and at peace with it­self.

He fur­ther said that African coun­tries must strive to deepen the unity of the con­ti­nent and ad­vance “in­clu­sive eco­nomic growth and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment”.

The in­vest­ment by AYO in GC²T will play a sig­nif­i­cant role in that re­gard. One of the Flag­ship Projects of AU’s Agenda 2063 is “Si­lenc­ing the guns by 2020.”

To achieve the goals of Agenda 2063, Africa needs to work to­wards ending all wars, civil con­flicts, gen­der-based vi­o­lence, vi­o­lent con­flicts and pre­vent­ing geno­cide.

SELLO MASHAO RASETHABA

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