2 years ago

Opportunity Issue 96

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Opportunity, endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) is the mouthpiece for business in Southern Africa. The aim of the publication is to inform potential investors both nationally and internationally of the most relevant business news: trade, investment, financial, market-related information for each business sector, as well as to inform of the latest developments in business legislation from both the public and private sector.


FOREWORD NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: to restore hope, wealth and health After entering a new year filled with uncertainty, South Africa reverted to a stricter lockdown set by government, precipitated by the second unprecedented wave of a new strain of the Covid-19 virus infections. Scenes of chaos at our major border posts are recent in our memory. We see the UK’s Brexit causing retail stock shortages, as border chaos with France becomes a reality, and infection rates in the region reach catastrophic levels. Across the ocean, in the US, election pandemonium calls for the impeachment of the outgoing president. One would perfectly be within one’s right to ask if the world has gone mad. Logically, any flu virus dissipates in summer. We have experienced the opposite. Nothing can be taken for granted any more. The recent family fireside chat from President Ramaphosa extended a message of hope: the vaccines will be with us imminently and an immunisation programme has been structured to start with the frontline workers, and thereafter to address risk by administering the most vulnerable in a layered approach. In effect, the plan is to immunise enough people so that herd immunity will take over where the virus is “tamed” to manageable proportions by yearend. Hopefully. We have to build on this message of hope. The famous, some might say infamous, WWII allied general George Patton once said that success is measured by how high you bounce back after hitting rock bottom. SACCI, as the foremost organised business body, has undertaken a mammoth task to translate this message into an implementation programme that is intended to turn things around for our people, our economy, our country. A SURVIVAL STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS “No-one is coming to our rescue. It is now up to us,” SACCI CEO, Alan Mukoki, announced at a SACCI Board meeting earlier last year. The strategy that has been adopted is multi-pronged. During the past 18 months, SACCI has consistently motivated publicly for a review of how government operates in the absence of the required skill sets. Professionalism, a bureaucracy based on meritocracy and not cronyism, nepotism, jobs for pals and the cadre deployment, which has plagued our country for over a decade, has been contested by the organisation in favour of a non-politically partisan “best person for the job approach”. We are pleased that government heeded these calls and published a Gazette on 24 December 2020, proposing much of what has been advocated in the public messages from the SACCI CEO. This has to augur _____________ __ ___ __ _ _ At a time when fear rules, there is much that needs to be done to dispel myths and misunderstandings ___ __ ___ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 4 |

FOREWORD well for the country going forward, if this approach is distilled into action – and no doubt, SACCI will serve as a watchdog to see that this promise is fulfilled. In the last quarter of 2020, the SACCI Board adopted a strategic initiative that focuses on developing crucial and pragmatic workstreams aimed at revitalising the South African economy in the face of the Covid crisis. Eleven key sectors were identified and will be activated in stages during the first quarter of 2021, with a key focus on small business. The three key areas raised in the formulation of the action plan centre on: · Inclusivity · Innovation · Collaboration The first stage of this embarkation centred on identifying the main roleplayers in each sector expected to make the biggest impacts on the formulation of an action plan, based on their skill sets and experience. Most of the workstreams have the talent we now need to proceed. SACCI will draw on unemployed graduates to assist with the administrative work for the workstreams and will report on progress publicly to ensure that our communities are aware of what needs to be done and by when. We intend to generate a strong positive message asserting that we will win back our economy, create jobs and also grow as we push aside the challenges and do things differently than we did in the past. The situation demands that we think out of the box and generate a new way of doing things, which neutralises the dead ▲ ▲ ▲ space we find ourselves in currently. ___ _____ __ _ _ Inclusivity Innovation Collaboration ___ __ ___ __ _ _ TRADE PROMOTION In March 2020, SACCI signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Trade Industry and Competition (dtic) that formally recognises SACCI as the umbrella body in the private sector authorised to issue Certificates of Origin. SACCI was geared up and ready to launch the programme and a week later lockdown hit us. In 2021, SACCI will implement the programme although we have had to reconfigure our approach on how this can be executed in a lockdown environment where much of our interface is virtual. Nevertheless, technology has helped as SACCI draws on webinars to inform the market. The organisation is rapidly encouraging the issuance of electronic certificates to circumvent current challenges. At a time when fear rules, there is much that needs to be done to dispel myths and misunderstandings. The media noise is that the new virus strain emanated in South Africa. South African experts drew attention to the new strain, which was then confirmed in other countries and conveniently called the South African strain. It is doubtful that the mutation is purely traced from South Africa and exported to the rest of the world. It needs reminding that this started far away from Africa in the East… and viruses mutate for their survival. We also see our business community stepping up and creating new devices to ease the strain on our oxygen suppliers and our pharmaceutical manufacturers entering into agreements to produce vaccines for the world uptake. There can be no doubt that in 2021, South Africa is very capable of the success espoused by George Patton 76 odd years ago – to bounce back from rock bottom. Alan Mukoki, SACCI CEO

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