Dispatch Dialogues: South Africa, the next five years
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The inaugural Daily Dispatch Business Summit held on the 15 June 2017 featured some of South Africa top brilliant minds, with our Vice Chancellor, Prof Sakhela Buhlungu as one of the keynote speakers. The summit’s theme is South Africa: The Next Five Years and plays out at a time when the country has been plunged into junk status and spiraled into recession. It was an attempt at looking at what business can expect over the next 5 years in the South Africa business environment.


The program featured Justice Malala (MC) Chris Ettmayr,   Zipho Sikhakhane, A business advisor and investor in small businesses and entrepreneurs across Africa and has also presented a TED Talks on Africa’s potential. In addition, there were John Sanei, Daniel Silke, Mcebisi Jonas Former Deputy Minister of Finance from 2014 until the end of March 2017 when he refused a bribe of R600-million and blew the whistle on state capture, together with Jonathan Goldberg, Dawie Roodt and our very own Vice Chancellor Prof Sakhela Buhlungu.


What was clear coming out of the summit is that something drastic needs to change and South Africa cannot carry on burying its head in the sandZipho Sikhakhanewho many found to be quite inspirational & authentic advised that “in South Africa’s tough economic and political climate, business owners need to look inwards to reflect on the action they can take to adapt their own skills and become better business leaders she went on to say that “while the economic reality had its challenges, businesses should not panic, freeze or cringe.


What was also fascinating was the importance that speakers have placed on being globally competitive but locally relevant which a big lesson for the Eastern Cape which they link to the 4th Industrial Revolution which is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace. Moreover, it is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance. This is a feature that is coming out on many platforms from the likes of Deon Chan an innovator, creative thinker, a walking ideas bank and professional cage rattler. 


Mcebisi Jonas bemoans the fall of civic society and its ability to hold the government to account, South Africa needs to rise again. In his view, the public trusted government too much after the advent of democracy and we are suffering the consequences with the state capture dispensation.


Prof Buhungu took Jonas’s theme further linking it to the loss of Social Fibre and the values that many of us grew up with “what is not yours, is not yours”. The fall of good citizenship. He singled out the challenge of the single parent home and questioned the fatherless state, saying it’s a tragedy that so many children grew up without fathers. 


Buhungu also questioned the meltdown of education holistically not just in the higher education sector asking “what happening in our schools” if children are not taught well and have poor values because of single parent homes how are we going to produce good graduates that the business community want” he went on to ask about the destruction of public property by our own citizens but specifically our students, unions & communities when embarking on service delivery protests together with the lack of work ethic we are heading for disaster. It seems to be that un-governability is the order of the day.


by Khotso Moabi