Is s u e 2 8 R2 9, 95
frica s ugust A Three Elections, ' A Three Retentions. www.theafricanpro.com
THE 3RD ANNUAL SA
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AWARDS
ENTRIES CLOSE 30 SEPTEMBER 2017 WHY TAKE PART? Measure your performance • Gain highly valuable media and PR Exposure Impress potential new clients • Raise your profile and create awareness Network with fellow professionals • Recognise the professionals in your firm Attract top talent • Promote your profession and its values Firms of engineers, accountants, architects, project managers, quantity surveyors, management consultants and lawyers are invited to participate. Visit www.saproawards.co.za for further information or contact us on 011 251 6325.
HELP STRENGTHEN GREEN ROOTS IN AFRICA! Greenpeace is independently funded from political or commercial interests. This means we do not accept any money from companies or governments. Individual contributions, along with foundation grants, are our only source of funding. Our independence gives us the unique authority to effectively tackle power and make real changes happen.
JOIN US TODAY BY BECOMING A FUNDING DONOR AT GREENPEACE.ORG/AFRICA/EN/DONATE
Greenpeace has booked victories against overfishing by European and Asian fleets along the West African coast. But the battle is not yet won. Our goal is to help West African nations in the fight to conserve one of the world’s richest fishing grounds.
FOOD FOR LIFE
The Food For Life campaign in East Africa promotes farming that is good for the plant and for the farmer. Ecological farming does not only give the farmer more economic stability, it also proves better for the environment, stepping away from chemical heavy agriculture while helping to endorse healthy food.
Greenpeace focuses on protecting the world’s 2nd largest rainforest - the Congo Basin forest, under threat from deforestation. This incredible rainforest is home to over 270 species of mammals, including endangered gorillas, the chimpanzee and the bonobo. We need to act fast to preserve it!
CLIMATE & ENERGY We take the lead in pushing for a renewable energy future and fighting to halt catastrophic climate change. There is no time like the present for an Energy [R]evolution in Africa. Solar and wind are in abundance, lets make the switch!
GREENPEACE IS AN INDEPENDENT GLOBAL CAMPAIGNING ORGANISATION THAT ACTS TO CHANGE ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOUR, TO PROTECT AND CONSERVE THE ENVIRONMENT AND TO PROMOTE PEACE. IT COMPRISES 28 INDEPENDENT NATIONAL/REGIONAL OFFICES IN OVER 40 COUNTRIES ACROSS EUROPE, THE AMERICAS, AFRICA, ASIA AND THE PACIFIC, AS WELL AS A CO-ORDINATING BODY, GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
10 Dr. Snowy Khoza - Executive Chair of Bigen Group
16 W. Consulting Partner - Tapiwa Njikizana
20 Paragon Group Co-Founder - H. Rasmuss
24 Why Parents Have Their Work Cut Out For Them
26 Book Review
28 E. Olwagen - Boogertman Design Team Leader
32 Corporate Corruption in South Africa
36 Help from IMF to fix SA Economy
39 In Conversation with Flavian Marwa
41 Why Elections Matter - The Case of Kenya and Rwanda www.theafricanpro.com
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PASSION. PRECISION. VISION. Precision prɪˈsɪʒ(ə)n/ [prĭ-sĭzh′ən] noun; the quality, condition, or fact of being exact and accurate.
CIDB 6GB PE | ISO 9001:2008 Certified | BBBEE Level 3 011 486 3315 011 486 3314 firstname.lastname@example.org www.akweni.co.za Headquartered in Johannesburg, and with offices in Accra
THREE ELECTIONS, THREE RETENTIONS. Uhuru Kenyatta won the elections in Kenya. Former US Secretary of State John Kerry leading a mission of election observers who monitored the vote and its aftermath said Kenya's leaders need to step up in the coming days and give people confidence amid post-election violence.
resident Jacob Gedley’hlekisa Zuma on Tuesday 8 August survived the eighth vote in a motion of ‘No Confidence’ against him as President of the Republic of South Africa. The opposition parties’ attempt to remove the president fell just short in a long voting process as 198 MPs voted in support of the President while 177 voted for his removal. Opposition parties called on African National Congress Members of Parliament to “vote with their conscience” after a spate of damning reports of state capture. Rough calculations point to about 30 ANC MPs voting for Zuma to be removed. There were nine abstentions of the total number of 384 votes cast. As the news broke after a two-hour debate and an extended voting process, the Rand immediately weakened. ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu said voting to remove the president would be tantamount to "dropping a nuclear bomb on the country", causing deep political and economic uncertainty.
The Rwandan National Electoral Commission (NEC) released the final results of the presidential elections, declaring that Paul Kagame had won a third term. According to NEC, the incumbent president Kagame won 98.79% of the vote, with over 6.6 million votes. Independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana stood at second with 0.73% of the vote, while candidate Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda got 0.48% of the vote. The elections were said to be free and fair. It is a case of three elections and three retentions of the incumbents. In this issue we discuss the case of elections in Kenya and Rwanda while also examining corporate corruption in SA and the suggestion the country needs IMF intervention. We speak to corporate leaders, Dr. Khoza of Bigen Africa, T. Njikizana of W Consulting, Boogertman’s E. Olwagen and Paragon’s H. Rasmuss. Enjoy the Read!
MZUKONA MANTSHONTSHO Publishing Executive www.theafricanpro.com
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Question the existing Imagine the impossible
Create the enduring wsp.com
DR SNOWY KHOZA EXECUTIVE
THE BIGEN GROUP
ormed at great depths in the earth under tremendous pressure and at high temperature, diamonds are the hardest material known to man and are used industrially to polish and shape other materials, including other diamonds. Similarly, exceptional human beings are strengthened under challenging circumstances to become not only noteworthy achievers, but also compassionate people who live to lift others out of their adversity and shape better futures for them.
Dr Snowy Khoza, Executive Chairperson of the Bigen Group, has proven herself to be one of these inspiringly resilient yet benevolent individuals who dedicate much of their time and energy to making a life-changing difference to others. In her private capacity, Dr Khoza is a passionate human rights activist and benefactor to the disadvantaged such as young people who cannot afford an education. At Bigen, an African solutions-driven infrastructure development Group, she leads a team of “engineers with a conscience” who not only actively pursue the Group’s vision of improving quality of life through the development of sustainable infrastructure solutions, but are also committed do “doing good while doing business”, the Group’s official creed. Dr Khoza subscribes to the highest personal and business ethics and has also strengthened the Bigen team’s anti-corruption stance. As a committed Christian, she is, despite her many achievements, prestigious awards and exceptional qualities, a humble woman
always seeking her Creator’s guidance in all aspects of her life. Tell us about your early life, what was your upbringing and training like? I did not so much overcome a childhood marked by poverty, deprivation and apartheid struggles in Hammanskraal and Mamelodi, but grew from these challenges that life threw at me at a tender age. With the support of bursaries from various organisations, I was able to complete my high school education as well as a PhD in Social Policy, an MBA, and various financial, economic and management courses. Earlier in my career, I was a Group Executive for over a 10 year period at the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). At the same time while at the DBSA, I was the founding chair of Knowledge Management Africa, a development knowledge engine for Africa. I also chaired the multibillionrand Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), and have chaired the Water Research Commission (WRC), as the first woman to fill the position. I also chaired the Centre for Social Development in Africa at the University of Johannesburg, Family and Marriage Society of South Africa, Bihati Holdings and Khayalabo Investments Holdings Boards. I also served as a board member of the National Housing Financing Cooperation (NHFC). Charing HS Risk committee. In addition, chaired the National Lotteries Commission Distribution Agency for Arts and Heritage. www.theafricanpro.com
Directorships held include those of Statistics South Africa, Freight Dynamics (Transnet), SekelaXabiso and Transport World Africa magazine. I have also served on the ministerial advisory panels for two government departments. I was also a trustee and chairperson of the Women Development Businesses (WDB) Trust, now I am a member of the advisory board of the Water Institute at the University of Pretoria and Board member of ANSYS chairing its Social and Ethics. When I was appointed CEO of Bigen Africa in 2010, I became the first woman to lead an engineering company as a non-engineer in the 40 years history of Bigen. It was my goal to spearhead its transformation from an engineering firm into a successful infrastructure development Group and thought leader with an extensive Africa footprint, currently spreading across 19 countries. In 2016 the shareholders elevated me to an Executive Chairperson to oversee the expansion of the Bigen Group in the continent through a restructured capital structure with its head offices in RSA and Mauritius. With core capabilities in socio-economic development, financial, technical, institutional and environmental services, and led by a dynamic leadership corps under the spirited guidance of its new CEO, Anton Boshoff, Bigen Africa offers the full value chain of infrastructure development including feasibility studies, funding applications and project preparation, management
and implementation. This one-stopshop approach results in tailor-made projects, honed to customer and regional requirements, and provides a regional and local delivery platform for multinational and international companies seeking to do work on the continent.
What does the role of being the Executive Chairperson at Bigen Africa mean to you? It has been very fulfilling to serve as Bigen Africa’s CEO for five years and play an active role in determining the business strategy of the Group. I am pleased to say that I have seen my ambitions for the Group fulfilled in terms of strengthening its positioning in the infrastructure development industry as a thought leader, respected service provider and socio-economic change agent in the continent particularly in Southern, Eastern and West Africa. Since becoming Executive Chairperson in 2016 and handing over the reins to my very capable successor, I have been freed up to focus on leading the Board in realising the Group’s broader aspirations of opening up its capital structure, reviewing its legal structure and operational structure thus creating an African Supermarket for partners in the continent and outside to deliver sustainable infrastructure so as to improve the quality of life of people in our beautiful continent. Bigen Group with now Bigen Global based in Mauritius and Bigen Africa Group Holdings in RSA, requires robust governance structures and proper
execution strategy of infrastructure development across the continent and well managed in such a way that all countries legislative protocols are met. Other than chairing both entities boards, I am also involved in the strategic positioning of the Group as brand ambassador and spokeswoman for the Group. All these mean a whole new set of exciting challenges for me. You have had several professional achievements. Please list them and indicate which one stands out for you and why? Having achieved high-ranking executive roles in a male-dominated industry through sheer determination and hard work, I was thrilled to be invited to present at the male-dominated Infrastructure Development Conference held in Khartoum Sudan in 2014. I was also invited to present two papers at the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) centenary congress in Barcelona in the same year, where my message was: “It is time for Africans to find African solutions to Africa’s infrastructure development challenges” and “how should we fund infrastructure projects to support governments”. Further I participated in 2015 at the Africa CEO Forum in Geneva in at various other infrastructure conferences in Zambia and the Intellectual Property Organization’s Conference in Senegal. I have been honoured to receive awards over the past few 3 years, named: • The Top Women Leaders in Africa Award by Women4Africa, a Londonbased organisation, in 2016. www.theafricanpro.com
• Named one of the three South African Women Ambassadors for Most Influential Women in Africa by CEO Global in 2015. • Top Performing Business Leader Award in South Africa at the 13th South African Business Awards in 2015. • Winner of the Business category in the Unashamedly Ethical awards in 2015. • The Africa Lifetime Achievers Award of Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government in the infrastructure sector in 2014. I am most honoured by being counted amongst the women achievers in the continent. It is necessary that the women of our country are made aware of the lifelong struggles, aspirations and achievements of those women who are dedicated to improving their own lives as well as making a difference to those of their fellow continental women. I thus continue to mentor a number of women to become top continental business women. Have you had any particular challenges as a woman professional that you think differ from your male counterparts? How have you tackled them? I have experienced: 1. Male Chauvinism- men doubting me as a woman that can manage and lead a male dominated division e.g. (DBSA) and company (Bigen) – I had proved them wrong through staying focused in my vision, being resilient and surrounding myself with capable men and women who understood my vision and help me to
deliver. 2. Women petticoat syndrome – women doubting me and tried the “pull her down” tricks through unwillingness to support me or bad-mouthing me unnecessarily - I made them my friends irrespective, pulled them up and mentored them. 3. Life-work balance – societal norms and expectations for women to be all-round irrespective of their positions in business. As a married woman and a mother, caregiver, social activist and entrepreneur I had to still do these irrespective of my role at work. I had to balance my work-life and remember that I am only one-person and me-time and family-time is critical. What advice do you have for younger professionals who are looking forward to joining the profession? Know who you are and where you want to go. Without a vision, people perish. Without faith, people succumb. I draw my strength from God, Jehovah. Capacitate yourself to obtain an education. Be determined to triumph in every situation. Be positive. Always do your best and be resilient and courageous, so that you can fight back to become even better than before. Walk your path with integrity and never accept mediocracy as the norm. And lastly, remain humble and live for more than just yourself. What are you currently working on and what can we expect from you going forward? I always have, and always will, invest my life in creating a better tomorrow
for others especially for women and children through various initiatives and projects. Driven by my strong Christian faith and principles, I am passionate about the development of those who face the same struggles and obstacles I experienced such as debilitating poverty, divorce and discrimination. I continually strive to create sustainable support systems for children and families in need of care and for poor and disabled people, as well as the youth at risk and women living in marginalised black communities. I believe in the importance of education as a transformational agent, and as such my family Trust funds some of these to aid child prisoners to obtain an education. I will continue to write books. Currently working on my website to encourage people as they journey in life. As a prominent African, what issues or challenges are you confronted with? In South Africa and on the rest of the continent, the most burning issue for me is social and economic inequality amongst people, including gender inequality, poverty and unemployment. Education deficits, in particular, are heart-breaking as education is the key to a better future for both the individual and society. The people who work to change this have to do so tirelessly because the need is so great. Nevertheless, we are making a difference and are rewarded by seeing previously disadvantaged people rise above their constraints to become productive members of society.
The infrastructure development industry plays a key role in this process, and I am gratified that many women and children in Africa are benefiting enormously from improvements and participating in investments in for example new road networks, water, sanitation, electricity provision, construction of schools and hospitals to name a few. In short, poverty, infrastructure backlogs, theft and corruption, poor governance, unemployment of youth, disease, political instability and environmental degradation remain high. Are these challenges unsolvable? NO. United we stand as a continent to address these. Progress is slow but governments, private sector and civil society are working together to address these. As an African I am hopeful that the future generation will lead Africa out of these someday. What principles and values do you think are important for any professional and why? A person operating upon a firm personal foundation based on his/her relationship with God, will easily maintain ethical behaviour and integrity-based decision making in business as well. People who value and respect others, communicate honestly and place team concerns before personal ones add value to the workplace. While pursuing business success is laudable, it must never be done at the cost of another person’s rights or dignity. So in short, godliness, Ubuntu, honesty, integrity and giving are the basic principles and values that drive my professional career.
What would you say are the most critical resources for your successful leadership? How would people describe you as a Leader? My critical resources are: • Vision led capabilities • Courage and resilience • Love for humanity • Passion to make a difference
People call me Mama Snowy. I believe they will say: “She is courageous and resilient, a visionary leader with a great heart. She is compassionate, loves humanity and want to improve the lives of others”. What is the legacy that you would want to leave by the time you retire? I have been fortunate to see the Bigen Group team strengthen its inherent dedication, creativity and social conscience, and it thrive despite very challenging economic climates over the past few years. It is my aspiration to see, upon my retirement, Bigen riding the crest of success as the leading infrastructure development Group on the continent, assisting governments in realising their infrastructure development goals through a “onestop” professional service incorporating a wide network of industry partners – an “African supermarket” of infrastructure development services. Bigen is already forging such a network, unlocking vast professional resources capable of radically transforming the economies of African nations. On a personal level, I want to see women and youth empowered to make contributions in all spheres of their lives and the lives
of others on the continent. I also want everyone to know who they are in Christ. How do you strike the balance of career, business and interpersonal skills? Acknowledging that you can’t know it all. Surround yourself with people smarter than you. Acknowledge others and let them contribute in making you a better leader. I know my weaknesses and that I’m not perfect, but always strive to be better. How is the company doing in terms of Transformation objectives? As a BEE-compliant company with a Level 2 rating, Bigen Africa is committed to empowerment and socioeconomic development within its own ranks as well as in broader community in different countries. Fast-tracking of black management also ownership, particularly women and youth, is a priority. I am particularly passionate about increasing female representation in business, both at Bigen Africa and in the industry in general. At Bigen, I have appointed women in many key positions and the company has excellent career development programmes in place to ensure that the right candidates will be fully groomed to step into the right role at the right time. The current CEO continues to drive black empowerment and ownership at senior management level. In the engineering field, there are only a few www.theafricanpro.com
women in Africa who are leading such a company at present. This means there is scope for black young people to enter and excel in this field – even more so for non-engineers to head an engineering company. As a company we also believe in transformation of communities where we work ensuring that we employ youth and women; empowering them to become entrepreneurs and transfer technical skills to them. Co-creating jobs means transforming people out of poverty thus improving quality of life of people. Transformation is about renewing of the mind. Communities need to feel empowered to take responsibility to partake in projects that improves their lives. Socio-economic transformation is what Bigen is all about. Doing good while doing business for the benefit of all. What makes you tick or keeps you awake at night? My strongest motivation is “how can I make a difference?” This is where I am fulfilled in life and this is what is meaningful to me, and also what excites and challenges me. Of course obstacles and discouragements are a part of life, especially when one is trying to change the world for the better, but I don’t allow them to derail me. If I lie awake at night, it is only because I am excited about a new project I am starting as that will bring meaningful improvements into the beneficiaries’ lives. What have been the highs and lows in your working career? The highs have been a transformed
organization, delivering best results for shareholders and improving the quality of life of people including our staff. The lows have been the tough economic environment and political unrests in some countries we work in. No matter how hard it is to work in some countries, we remain bullish to supporting improvements in the quality of life of people. How does the organisation take part in developing the profession you belong to? The Bigen leadership oversees a competent workforce, as a result one of its key enablers is to be “the employer of choice”. This policy is aimed at attracting and developing talent, focusing on the indigenisation of staff to support localisation efforts, ensuring that Bigen remains a safe place to work at and providing superior employee value proposition. The result of this approach is that employees, future talent and future organisational leaders are developed and honed in both business and technical areas. Future leaders have access to various leadership programmes to ensure continuity in growth. Bigen has embarked on a Leadership journey of development of young leaders to executives with the various leadership programmes identified. In order to maintain our competitive advantage, Bigen will pre-empt and respond effectively to the rapid pace of business and technology change in the operating environment we believe the development of great leadership and staff will ensure sustainability and
relevance in the industry. Who stands out for you as a role model and why? First and foremost, my grandmother. Her wisdom is unparalleled by any book I have ever read. She taught me mainly three things: Firstly, that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” – meaning there is a greater “I am” up there. As an individual, I cannot be my own. Secondly, that “life is a problemsolving process”. In our lifetime, we cannot avoid challenges and problems, but we should not become weary. Thirdly, that “every action we take has consequences”, which means that we should be wise when making decisions. We have to understand that our actions and choices impact on others – hopefully for the good – and that is one of the reasons why I find fulfilment in my role at Bigen. My career development has been influenced by many women who have proven that they can stand on their own in the midst of trials and tribulations, such as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Vuyelwa Sonjica, Graca Machel, Thuli Madonsela and many others. To me, these women epitomize virtue. They are positive about life, always want to do their best for the countries they live in and are eager to prepare the ground for other women to win the race. When you’re not at work, what do you get up to, including family life? My family, friends and community development work take up almost all my spare time after work hours and on weekends, unless I am travelling on www.theafricanpro.com
business the weekends. I am deeply involved in initiatives for improving the quality of life of disadvantaged people and strive to create sustainable support systems for children and families in need of care, impoverished and disabled people, youth at risk and women living in marginalised black communities. One of my own initiatives is through my family Trust, which assists children and child prisoners in obtaining an education. To relax I do house designs and love interior and garden designs for friends and family. Although I am extremely busy, I do get “me time”, where I go on holidays or pamper myself. I do a lot of exercising, e.g. running, and singing while playing the piano. Where can people follow you online? Twitter@joyfulforJesus – this is my way of thanksgiving to God. My messages to lead. www.skjournal.com – (to be launched soon) – this is a journal of me addressing various issues that people like asking me about.
W CONSULTING PARTNER
CONSULTING has a presence in South Africa, Mauritius and the United Kingdom, but regularly does business in approximately 10-15 countries. Executive Director Tapiwa Njikizana at WConsulting spoke to the African Professional about his personal and entrepreneurial journey thus far.
Tell us about your early life and your role Today! I was born into a middle-income family of professionals. School years were school years; lots of learning and a lot more playing. If there wasn’t any sport at school I doubt I would have bothered attending! My parents and elder siblings did a good job of convincing me that the ethos of “work hard, play hard” would ultimately provide the best outcome and I am now grateful for that advice. Upon completing A’ Levels, I was offered a contract with Coopers & Lybrand and embarked on an articles contract at the tender age of nineteen. At the same time, I enrolled with UNISA and commenced a B.Compt degree. Over the past 22 years I have worked in Zimbabwe, Botswana, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and most recently here in South Africa. I have been fortunate to work for multiple big audit firms before leaving to develop and pursue my current passion at WConsulting where I am a director and shareholder of the business. What was your training like? My articles training at Coopers & Lybrand was probably the most
accelerated period of professional and personal growth I have ever experienced. I had amazing managers, role models, and mentors long before the fancy terms to describe such people were ever popularised. I will forever be grateful to these people because the value they added to me was permanent. Apart from the prestigious CV-busting audits of multinationals, I found that some of the deepest moments of learning occurred on the smaller assignments when one worked intimately with senior managers and partners. By age 24 with all my professional exams completed and articles signed off, I became a freshly minted chartered accountant. A couple of years after completing my studies I had, on a whim, accepted an offer with Ernst & Young in Botswana and now I could finally exhale after completing the sprint to qualification. After a year-long stint in Botswana I packed my bags and left for a 2-year working holiday to the United Kingdom, somewhat in the footsteps of my elder brother who had just returned home after completing a long secondment with KPMG in London, except for me it would be less work and a lot more fun. What does the role of being Executive Director at WConsulting mean to you? Being a Director of a professional services firm is all about leadership rather than classic management although both aspects are present. Our team is made up of subject matter experts who are steeped in their disciplines and very seasoned in www.theafricanpro.com
delivering their expertise to our clients. My job is to keep these naturally goal driven professionals focused on our shared strategic objectives. That’s the number one responsibility associated with my role, it’s both challenging and rewarding. What are you currently working on and what can we expect from you going forward? We have just consummated a merger between our Audit Risk & Efficiency (ARE) team and a competitor firm which we have admired from a distance for many years, Protect-APartner International (PAPI). The dual objectives of the expanded ARE team is to make our clients more profitable in the long-run whilst ensuring quality and reducing practice and engagement risk. The team is working on some exciting new innovations in this space which should see our clients being able to optimise their engagement delivery abilities, and other innovations at the firm level which will assist firms to better comply with burdensome regulatory requirements with much more efficiency. Finally, a part of our business which is little known but is probably one of our key differentiators is the Integrated Software business. This is the part of our business where our app developers, graphic designers and other IT specialists help deliver new technologyenabled solutions to our clients. An example of this is our IFRS E-learning application Fundamentals © which is one of the leading IFRS based apps globally. Currently the division has over
half a dozen different products which it has developed and is supporting for a global client base. We have a few exciting projects in the pipeline but due to the highly competitive nature of this part of the business all I can say is “keep watching this space”. Our Corporate Finance & Valuations business has integrated well with our established IFRS Advisory business which house our JSE Accredited IFRS Advisors. These two teams are working with local and international clients delivering on key projects related to new accounting standards particularly IFRS 9 (Financial Instruments), and IFRS 15 (Revenue), and IFRS 16 (Leases). We are already receiving enquiries regarding IFRS 17 (Insurance Contracts) but it is early days yet for that, interest will start to increase into 2018 and 2019.
What initiative(s) (if implemented) would leave the greatest impact for you and for Africa as a whole? We have been advocates of the role of technology in delivering professional learning almost from the very first day we came into existence. Whilst we have had great success already with some of our E-Learning products, we have generally been ahead of where our key partners and prospective clients have been ready to go, but such is the nature of innovation. If we can convince some of the key stakeholders on the African continent about the potential of E-Learning, especially on a continent with weak physical infrastructure generally, it is our belief that we can start to reach more young people and professionals to develop the last frontier on the continent which is the development of human capital. The impact will be immense and irreversible so we will continue to fight the fight. What would you say are the most critical resources for your successful leadership? How would people describe you as a leader?
If leadership is about influencing others towards the achievement of a shared goal, then the critical resources are; team cohesion, collaboration, and focus. Influence is soft power, it is power that is earned and one way to earn it is by being the example you want others to follow. It follows therefore that self-awareness is the first task of any prospective leader, know what it is that you are selling to those you wish to follow you. Understanding your own strengths, weaknesses, and biases are minimum requirements of self-awareness. Another critical resource would be that of empathy; being able, in that moment, to commit to seeing an issue completely from the perspective of another. Empathy is rare skill and it requires patience and a suspension of one’s own ego to become open to a seeing the same object or circumstance from a completely different perspective. In any team environment, there are bound to be real or perceived differences of opinion so being able to genuinely appreciate those differences is necessary for the insight required to thread the needle and develop a solution which will maintain the cohesion of the team. I happen to believe that because leadership is about influence, the way I relate to each person in the organisation is affected by the unique aspects which make up the personal relationship between myself and that person. Some people seek reassurance from leaders, others inspiration, and yet others seek to be empowered by a leader, my job is to work out what is required and deliver that. My natural style is to be collaborative so that is my default setting until I’ve had an opportunity to recalibrate for a specific relationship and its needs. What is the legacy that you would want to leave by the time you retire? Whilst I cannot, at this time, relate to the idea of retirement, I believe that whenever it is that my innings are up, the lasting effect I wished to have imparted www.theafricanpro.com
is that of enthusiasm. If most people that have worked with me can say “that guy was helluva enthusiastic about what he was doing” and it gave them a burst of renewed energy to pursue whatever their own passion was, that would be a huge compliment. How do you strike the balance of career, business and interpersonal skills? The balance is never the same there is a season for everything. The key for me is to remain engaged and aware and the signals to rebalance will often be clear and should not be ignored. When I feel like my work is becoming tedious I take time out to reconsider my purpose and I am not afraid to change course if that is the required action. The key for me is to set aside time just to listen and hear what the signals are telling me and then to commit to making the required changes, sometimes it’s hard to do it but the choices are clear. How has the organisation done in terms of business growth objectives? We have enjoyed high double-digit growth every year since we started this business, we’re turning 10 this year so I guess that is not that difficult to do but we have seen some competitors come and go during that period so we are grateful for the success we have had. We also decided to make it clear that our long-term objective from a growth perspective is bottom line growth and to avoid being seduced by top line growth, as a result we are keenly attuned to the difference between what we consider “good” and “bad” revenues. Consequently, we are not afraid to walk away from what we term “toxic opportunities”, despite the short-term revenue loss. Where can people follow you online? I have a LinkedIn profile which I keep up with regularly.
AFRICA’S LEADING MINDS IN ACCOUNTING & FINANCE MEET AT THE CGMA AFRICA INAUGURAL CONFERENCE CIMA, through its Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation will this year host the CGMA AFRICA INAUGURAL CONFERENCE 2017 (CAIC 2017) from 20 – 22 September 2017 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa. The conference, themed: Leading the way in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) World, will draw on the expertise of business leaders across Africa. It will seek to identify and discuss key issues in business in the current climate, outline future strategies for the sector across Africa and define a tangible future for the accounting and finance profession. As a highlight of the CGMA Africa calendar for 2017, the conference is set to host over 500 delegates from across Africa who are: • C-Suite Executives (CEOs & CFOs) • Senior Accounting & Finance Managers • Accounting & Finance Professionals Book your space today to gain unparalleled insights. Online bookings are open on www.cimaglobal.com/caic2017 W. www.cimaglobal.com/caic2017 E. Eventssa@aicpa-cima.com T. +27 (0) 11 788 8723/ +27 (0)861 CIMA SA
PARAGON GROUP CO-FOUNDER
he PARAGON GROUP was founded in October 1997 and is now an internationally active African group of design companies. The group includes Paragon Architects, delivering commercial architecture for all property industry sectors; Paragon Interface Architects, offering interior design and strategic space planning services, and due diligence studies; and Paragon Architects South Africa, the South African business unit. All the businesses have a generalist ethos, and actively promote and build a broad skill base for all team members. The firm works with local design businesses in every location where they have projects. Since 2012, the Paragon Group has completed projects in 18 countries on the African continent. The company is currently in the construction phase of projects in South Africa, Swaziland, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal and CongoBrazzaville. The South African Professional Services Academy spoke to one of the Founding Directors at Paragon Group Henning Rasmuss about his personal and entrepreneurial journey thus far. Tell us about your brief history and your role TODAY, how was your training like? I was born in Johannesburg. Influenced by the building boom in the late 1960's and early 70's, and fascinated by the energy of large building sites, I chose to study architecture â€“ graduating cum laude from Wits in 1994. My training at Wits in the last years of apartheid was flavoured by politicisation, conflict,
and lots of questioning around identity, appropriateness, and the necessity to design for what were then new contexts: community-based work, 'township' projects, and socially responsible architecture. Our mentors were people like Peter Rich and Jo Noero, and Kate Otten. It was a time of upheaval in the Department of Architecture, and I engaged in curriculum change, student, and exhibitions, and faculty committees that grappled with the issues of the day. I interrupted my training to work and travel in Europe, spending 1991 and 1992 both travelling all over Europe and working in Germany. The working and living experience in Berlin profoundly influenced me, and the experience of living in postWall Berlin was invigorating and totally liberating. After that, coming back to pre-1994 South Africa made a whole lot of sense, as history was being (re-)written. After graduation, I worked in Johannesburg and Hong Kong for three years, and in late 1997 I co-founded Paragon Architects with Anthony Orelowitz. We are both founding directors of all companies in the Paragon Group. Since 2012, I have been responsible for the entire Group's International Projects, and for Business Development in Africa. What does it mean to you being Founding Director at Paragon? I guess being a director has 'come naturally', but as the business grows and evolves, I have had to ensure that I am seen to be leading and in fact 'directing'. www.theafricanpro.com
It makes me aware and self-aware, and it means that I have an obligation towards others, not just to me. It means that people around me are entitled to demand that I lead and direct. It means that they have a right to be able to rely on me. Not for everything, but for things that I am particularly good at. It means also that I have to inspire and motivate. I can be inspired and motivated by people around me, but in 90% of all situations, I believe that directors have to inspire and motivate first. Furthermore, they should show direction, movement, and create momentum. That is what directors do. Managers do other things. 21
What would you like to have achieved when you retire? Our companies should be strong and all-round good at what they do. Not just good at one thing or one type of building. I want to leave behind a generalist company that is strong and can deliver specialist services â€“ as it already does. I want to leave behind an African business that is global in outlook and reputation. I want to have in place a culture of mutual respect, and a company in which people say 'thank you' to each other often. I want to have initiated, designed and helped to construct a handful of substantial projects in at least five continental capital cities, outside of South Africa, to the ambition and quality that Paragon Architects is known for in South Africa. I want to have the company already properly in the hands of empowered younger directors, who already guide it, so that my departure as director is not a hiatus for me or for the companies. And I want to leave being happy.
How would you describe your management and leadership styles? I am not a micro-manager, and I believe in team autonomy. I create spaces for inspired design and inspired project work by making people feel excited about the projects they are working on. I love sharing knowledge through anecdotes and stories. I love honesty – sometimes too much of it – and I do not shield people from the real flux behind, around, under and over projects. I overshare, and I immerse myself and people in the full reality. I like building a full picture in people's minds, so that we are all washed by all the waters of a project. That is my working style. Sometimes a bit corrosive, and too honest. I do not believe in taking prisoners. I lead neither from the front, nor from the back. We are in one line, and we take on the projects. And we make the steps up as we go along. What keeps you awake at night with respect to your position? PASSION is my driver, and I love my work and I love the responsibility.FEAR keeps me awake at night, and is a big driver of my life as a director. If you can face your fear, you can act strategically and you can intervene to protect your company and your teams. PLEASURE is what I get out of working with both my fear and my passion. Pleasure for its own sake. That is the payback. Simple hedonist pleasure. Moments of it, days or it, slices of it. How do you take part in mentoring others? I teach and lecture by invitation at various South African universities, from time to time. This also includes external examinations, which are in a remote way 'mentoring'. Mentoring is more personal. In the office, I share and tell stories all the time. I transmit my personal insight and knowledge and passion through stories and anecdotes. I am a storyteller. And there is never a short answer to a question.
What would be the highs and what would be the lows of your working career? The first high was probably when I worked in Berlin as a student in 1992. My director sent me out to run the (then) only site in the office on my own, because I was the only one who had the humility and patience to communicate with the mostly East German and East European construction workers on site. My German colleagues were too arrogant and too 'educated' to talk to the perceived 'primitive' East Europeans, and so I was the only one who could get the work done without conflict. As a South African, that made me very proud and powerful in my own world. It also made me believe in the validity of my education, which most of us were questioning in the early 1990's for good reason. A more recent high was probably the work for four years of my life on the roof structure of the Cape Town Stadium. Standing on that massive roof at the end of the project, in a high wind, feeling those thousands of tons of steel and cable and glass flexing and flowing under my feet, was breathtaking. The biggest low would be the closure of our Brazilian business (Paragon Arquitetura Limitada) in 2013 – we misjudged the market, and we failed to build a sustainable business after a good start in 2009. The most recent low would be having a client ask me to be removed form a site in Johannesburg after an argument I had with the main contractor, for the client's benefit. I was convinced that I was fighting 'the good fight' for the client's interest with a singularly obstructive and deviant contractor. The client however interpreted that as 'not being a team player'.It is a tough game and every day is a day for learning. What accolades have you and your organisation received recently? In2 017, the African Property Awards www.theafricanpro.com
voted our project for Crystal Rivers Mall in Mavoko, Kenya as 'Highly Recommended' for Retail Architecture in Kenya. In 2016, my partner Anthony was awarded 'Architect of the Year' in the 2016 SAPSA Awards, and our practice was voted 'Architectural Practice of the Year' at the same event. Also in 2016, the practice won the 3rd prize in the Casagrande Grande Prix in Venice, Italy for our project at 115 West Street. In 2015, we won the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) Award for 'Commercial Office Developments – Merit Award' for Alice Lane Phase 2. How has the firm fared in terms of achieving its business growth objectives? Paragon Architects has grown organically through hard work and good clients and consistent delivery, and through an inquisitive mind and nature. The DNA of our company is the condition of being hungry; for work, for knowledge, for newness, for challenges and for technology. What is now known as the Paragon Group has grown by acquisition of existing companies, and by the finding of new ones. For example,we decided to find a new B-BBEE company and to bring it into life through its own funding, its own efforts, and its own completed portfolio of work and buildings, rather than diluting shareholding in Paragon Architects for opportunistic reasons. We have always believed that future co-owners of our businesses need to be hard-working entrepreneurs, and it has not been possible to buy shares into the existing businesses. What we have done, is to create new businesses in different sectors or countries. We now target profit, and we are successful at being a profitable business, but we can’t determine turnover targets in the current South African economy under the current leadership.
How does the organisation ensure and maintain high level of ethics and integrity? We lead by example through telling stories. We freely share stories of compromising discussions and situations. We take immediate action against employees who are dishonest or who are tempted to beneficiate themselves through project work or project situations. We counter-message corrupt behaviour. We do not take mark-ups on materials and furniture and supplies from companies that supply our clients. This sets us apart from many competitors especially in the Interior Design and Space Planning field, who augment their turnover with commissions from manufacturers and suppliers in addition to the fees they earn from clients. We lead by example!
South Africa in 2006. Thulani Sibande is a 51% majority shareholder and is the de facto day to day director. The team is entirely comprised of Black South Africans, and training is heavily invested into: software training, project management and autonomous teams training, and business and efficiency training.
Where can people follow you online? Our entirely new website has just been launched at www.paragon.co.za, people can subscribe to our monthly newsletter on the website. Multi-channel social media players can get it all at http:// paragon-1.com/content/social-media
Is transformation considered a key objective at the firm, and if so, how is it attended to? South Africa is our home base, and we are heavily invested here. While we have global ambitions, we are not the emigrating types. We love this continent and we understand that our business in South Africa has to be a leading company in bringing about a transformed South African economy. In 2016, we achieved one transformation target: exactly 50% of our total staff complement is female. We are very proud of that in the construction and professional services industries. We drive the careers of women in exactly the same way as we drive careers of men. Three out of seven directors in the Paragon Group are women. Our Brazil office was run and co-owned by a woman partner. Three out of five Associates and Senior Associates are women. On the Black Economic Empowerment front, we created Paragon Architects www.theafricanpro.com
PARENTS: â€œAll parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.â€? ~ Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
WE TRULY HAVE OUR WORK CUT OUT FOR US
hen I was younger, I hated it when older folks would say “when we were younger, we didn’t do that or we behaved better or this or that.” It used to irritate me no end. “Times have changed and they should accept that,” my fifteen year old self would think to herself while she politely smiled and didn’t say a word. Over a decade later, how ironic that I find myself doing the same in my ripe old early thirties. Am I the only one who thinks children are becoming aware of their own sexuality and being desensitized to sexual acts a little too early in life? Technology has brought the world closer than my great-grandmother and even my grandmother could have ever imagined. The leaps and bounds in technology in recent times are amazing. But it has brought with it a whole new world that requires parenting skills our grandparents never needed. The World Wide Web is freely accessible from any number of devices, especially cell phones. Almost every child has a cell phone these days. Controlling what they access on their phones is nearly impossible. If they want to access adult content, they will. In addition to that, there’s the small matter of television. I love me a good series. While watching my newest find, Weeds, which is about a single mum who sells weed to make ends meet after losing her husband unexpectedly, while at the same time trying to deal with her hormonal teenage son and an even younger son with a severe identity crisis and sociopathic tendencies, an
interesting realisation dawned on me. Almost every wildly popular series in recent years involves sexual relationships in high school. So much so in fact that I had become desensitised to it. I found myself rooting for the vampire boy and the teenage girl in Vampire Diaries to hook up. I found myself silently cheering when the outcast in Jane By Design finally “dates” the hottest girl in the school. In almost every series I have watched that deals with high school, sex is the norm. When did this happen? I hadn’t even noticed the issue until the 15-year-old girl in Weeds says to her boyfriend’s mother, “I am ready. I have made him wait three months. I’m 15 years old. I know what sex is about. Even before I had sex with my last boyfriend I was prepared.” Stop the bus! The 15-year-old is sexually savvy. Kill me now. I can’t even begin to comment on music videos, twerking Mileys, naked Nikkis and blurred lines. You all know what’s out there. You have seen the meme with the pouting school child who could be 10 years old or less and with the hair on the sides of her funky do shaved. That is more than a little disturbing. I can’t help but wonder what her parents are thinking. My mother would have saved everyone the trouble of wondering and shaved my whole head. My primary and high school principals would have done the same to me. Any of my mum’s friends would also have done the job for my mum even before she saw my hair. But that was then. Way back then before courts passed judgments allowing 9-12 www.theafricanpro.com
year olds to engage in sexual activities with each other legally. It feels like I am behind the times even before I am old enough to be. Maybe Anne Frank was right when she said “Parents can only give good advice and put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” I am not a parent yet but I can tell you now that our generation will have its work cut out for it in the parenting department. You can’t prevent a child from accessing the internet and you can’t prevent them from watching TV. If we shelter our kids too much they will be sitting ducks, if we don’t….. I guess the bottom-line is we will have to deal with issues directly that our parents could get away with ignoring and we will face issues previous parenting generations never imagined. We have our work cut out for us and not doing it is simply not an option.
'DAUGHTER OF THREE WORLDS
– AN EDUCATION IN VALUES' BY G. WAKURAYA WANJOHI
aving read female autobiographies such as Unbound by Wangari Maathai I was eager to find out what was fresh in G. Wakuraya Wanjohi’s Daughter of Three Worlds: An Education in Values. The title was indeed intriguing and I wondered what these three worlds were. Then I found out that the author was born in the Netherlands, was educated in Canada and the United States (US) and eventually married and settled in Kenya.
The story of Wakuraya is a journey through her three worlds: it is a journey of discovering the world as well as a journey of self-discovery. Above all, it is a daunting journey and what gives her the courage and determination to soldier on is her strong belief in values; hence the subtitle, “An Education in Values.” These values include: Christian values, family values, value of friendship, work ethics and so on. No doubt it is her sense of responsibility and commitment to work that enabled her to survive in Canada. Quite early in the autobiography she states: Our immigration to Canada put an end to my stint of work with Philips. I was given a letter of recommendation indicating that I had always performed my duties with zeal and my behavior had been correct. (p 46) Indeed her attitude to work proves valuable for her economic survival while pursuing further education in Canada and the U.S. She is not choosy about what kind of part-time jobs she handles and she performs them with utmost and unequalled dedication. Her warm and
loving personality as she works for one professor leads the latter into an attempt at match-making between her and his unmarried colleague. Wakuraya’s family values coupled with her strong belief in God help her surmount one of the worst tragedies a woman can experience: the unexpected death of her fiancé, Gert, who drowns three months before their planned wedding. Perhaps it is to prepare the reader for the daunting nature of her journey that she decides to start the autobiography with the narration of this tragedy. It is narrated as the prologue entitled, ‘Man Proposes but God Disposes.’ Hence she believes that only God can heal her wounded spirit. Her visit to Gert’s family in Holland, “the old country,” is a giant step towards her letting go of her late fiancé. This is eventually sealed by her releasing the engagement ring Gert had given her to the latter’s niece who is named after her. There is no speck of doubt that Daughter of Three Worlds is a female autobiography whose major beneficiaries are women. It is a self-narrated story of a woman who was born during a period when women were underprivileged and discriminated against; yet she spared no effort to overcome her disadvantages and follow her dream to attain success. Wakuraya was born, not only female, but a first daughter in a family of nine children. She narrates that being a first daughter in such a family meant that she at times had to act as a surrogate mother to her younger siblings. In the Holland, girls were born and bred to be wives and mothers. The writer tells www.theafricanpro.com
us that, in spite of the fact that she passed at the top of her class in primary school, she was not expected to attend secondary school but go to a ‘domestic science’ institution where she could learn skills to be a good home maker. It was only through the persistence of her aunts, who perceived how talented she was, that her parents agreed to send her to secondary school. Some years after the death of her fiancé, Wakuraya decided to further her education in the United States. For this venture, she joined Calvin College which had a Reformed Church foundation. While pursuing her B.A. degree in English here, the writer noted the great commitment of Calvin College professors, not only to their work but also to their students. Perhaps it is the Christian values again which account for this dedication. Reading about this commitment, a Kenyan reader cannot afford not to feel challenged about the situation in our universities and wish we could inject what it takes to transform our institutions into environments that are more conducive to learning and where our students can feel more at home. Her great determination to excel leads Wakuraya into joining McGill University in Canada for a professional degree in librarianship. It must be noted that the autobiography puts a case for education as a liberating tool for women. It was the aspirations for emancipation from stereotyped roles for women that spurred Wakuraya on the path she followed. These aspirations paid off when she moved to Kenya with her husband Gerald Wanjohi. Her qualifications earned her
librarianship jobs at the University of Nairobi and the United Nations at Gigiri. Thus Wakuraya’s journey arrived at another milestone that is important in women’s autobiographies: the milestone of identity, carved along the woman’s own aspired destiny. This review would not be complete without comments on two features that make Wakuraya’s work an authentically female autobiography. The first feature is the tendency for the author to lay bare personal experiences that one would otherwise be tempted to be silent about. Wakuraya openly talks about having had to deal with a genetic condition of tremors that often interfered with her ability to make presentations in public. She also narrates that she and her husband Gerald became parents through
adopting two children, as a result of a condition that led her into agreeing to have a hysterectomy.
cultural values which ascertained that our parents were not at the mercy of old people’s homes like in the West.
The second feature that makes the work authentically female is the extensive use of detail to amplify issues of great social significance. She narrates her observation about how in Kenya, while women had to hurry back home after work to attend to household chores, their male counterparts stopped at “watering holes” for a beer before heading home. A very important detail in the autobiography is the narration about the care given to Wakuraya’s aging motherin-law by female members in one of her sons’ households. When we read about the love, tenderness and respect the old lady is accorded, we cannot help lamenting the loss of African traditional
So how do we classify this autobiography in terms of its social and academic significance? This is female autobiography that raises various important social issues, including issues that affect women. The autobiography speaks to both male and female readers as an inspiration. In Daughter of Three Worlds: An Education in Values, G. Wakuraya Wanjohi shares her story, not only to challenge, but also to encourage us to persevere and confront any obstacles on the road of life in order to realize our full potential.
E. OLWAGEN: BOOGERTMAN + PARTNERS D E S I G N
oogertman + Partners Architects was established in 1982. With offices in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, and Kenya, the practice engages in projects throughout Africa continually embracing social, economic, and functional challenges through ‘Human Centered design’. Having gained national and international acclaim, Boogertman + Partners has successfully completed projects in Egypt and Sudan; has on-going projects in Botswana, Kenya, South Africa and Zambia, as well as numerous design proposals in the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Boogertman + Partners are driven by a dynamic team of directors who share a vision for contextually responsible and innovative design; with a dedicated approach to the building process from project inception to execution. The team is complimented by talented professionals- urban designers, interior designers, architects, and technicians, including an in house graphic design and marketing team as well as the support of administrative staff. Armed with this intrinsic nexus of skills, Boogertman + Partners encourages a collaborative process in which the client brief and dialogue is realised by a creative vision, shaped by geographic location and environmental characteristics, moulded by economic and social conditions and refined through technical and sustainable advances- resulting in a holistic project solution.
T E A M
Gold founder members of the Green Building Council of South Africa, Boogertman + Partners fully support the environmentally sustainable transformation of the built environment. With increasing concerns over global warming and the pressures of sprawling urbanism, Boogertman + Partners, through our integrated design approach, is committed to creating and developing sustainable environments; environments that are low energy consuming, efficient and flexible; encouraging an optimally healthy lifestyle. Boogertman + Partners also endeavour to sustain mutually beneficial relationships with our clients. Irrespective of building category, we believe a continuous design process which engages the client, consultants, contractors as well as the end user add value not only to the clients’ investments but the greater community. Currently ranked in the BD World Architecture 100 Magazine as 105th globally and currently rated as top South African practice, Boogertman + Partners stand testimony to their philosophy of empowerment through education and ‘Human Centered design’. The South African Professional Services Academy spoke to Interior Design Team Leader at Boogertman + Partners Elene’ Olwagen about her professional journey. Tell us your brief history and your role TODAY at Boogertman Partners? I studied Consumer Science (Interior) at the University of Pretoria and graduated in 2008. I started as an intern www.theafricanpro.com
L E A D E R at Boogertman + Partners the same year and was permanently appointed in 2009. I am now part of a team of 13 fabulous interior designers at our Pretoria office, where my role is to assist in managing the team. I am the point of contact on many projects, focusing on client relationships and overseeing on site projects. What does the role of Interior Design Team Leader at Boogertman Partners mean to you? It is an honour to work with such an amazing team. My role as leader is to guide the team and to make sure that we deliver on our promise. You have had several academic and professional achievements, which one stands out for you and why? Receiving an International Award for our Google Johannesburg project. What advice do you have for students who are looking forward to joining the profession? You must have a passion for the construction industry; this is not your normal 8-5 office job. The job satisfaction of seeing your dream and sketch on paper come to life is worth every second. What has been the highlight of your career with the company? Receiving various awards for numerous projects such as DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) and GOOGLE! What principles and values do you think are important for a young professional? Integrity and Passion.
Explain what contribution you have made to the company since joining it? I am a driven young individual with a passion for this industry, this is evident in the way I approach and handle every project. Who stands out for you as a role model and why? My parents, my mother is as solid as a rock with the kindest soul ever, and my dad, who is also in the construction industry, is the family’s foundation.
Where do you want your career to be in 10 years’ time? I would like to make a visible change. Literally, I would like to change people’s perceptions, not only of this industry, but by creating liveable designs. I want to deliver designs that are focused on the end-user. When you are not at work, what do you get up to? I enjoy good quality time with family and friends. I bake often and if I must say,
I’m pretty good at that too. I love good food, good wine, good company, and if you throw in a good breakaway, it’s a bonus. Where can people follow you online? Follow me on Instagram or LinkedIn.
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Our commitment to Africa’s growth remains as strong as ever. Deep insights into cross-border opportunities, together with our expertise in 20 African countries and presence in key markets internationally, still make us the right choice in realising your business’ potential. Let us be your partner for growth on this continent we call home. standardbank.com/CIB
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MUST OWN UP TO ITS PART IN
outh Africa is reeling from a string of scandals involving state owned enterprises and the Guptas, a family with close ties to President Jacob Zuma. A trove of recently leaked Gupta emails exposed the involvement of prominent businesses in the extensive corruption networks. Sibonelo Radebe asked Mills Soko to explain the implications of the scandals.
What do you make of the situation? If nothing else, the Gupta leaks have shown us how perilously close South Africa is to losing everything so many people fought so hard for. Not only does corruption divert capital allocated for public services away from the poor, it hollows out important state institutions and, ultimately, frays the social and economic fabric of the country. It threatens the hard won democracy and political stability. The ongoing revelations around state capture and patronage are giving South Africans an unprecedented and frightening glimpse into the machinery of corruption. The most unnerving element of the emails is how many of the transactions appear blatant and almost casual. The absolute cynicism and lack of ethics revealed in this correspondence is breath taking. What we do with this knowledge as a country is going to count for everything. As a business community we can look away and call these tales of corruption isolated incidents – or we can step up to ensure that our organisations hold
themselves to a higher standard. Most critically the law must take its course. What does it tell us about the role of business? The emails remind us that in any corrupt interaction it takes two to tango. And while governments and public money are so often at the centre, the enablers of corruption are not in government but in the private sector. With the Gupta’s at the centre of the rot, prominent international companies like accounting firm KPMG, consulting giant McKinsey, ICT player SAP, engineering company Liebherr and capital equipment manufacturer Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries have been implicated in the mounting scandal. It’s worrying to see that companies of such calibre can be involved in such nefarious activity. Corruption is, of course, not a new phenomenon – and nor is it unique to South Africa, as the Global Corruption Index shows. But certainly, the scale of what is going on in South Africa right now is unprecedented. How do you rate the responses by the implicated businesses? Companies have scrambled to distance themselves from the reputational firestorm that the Gupta leaks have unleashed. McKinsey acted promptly to suspend Vikas Sagar, a director in its South African office, to allow an internal investigation to proceed. For its part SAP, which originally denied the allegations, has similarly suspended South African staff while launching a full anti-corruption investigation , which www.theafricanpro.com
is to be carried out by a multinational law firm and overseen by its executive board member Adaire Fox-Martin. It’s convenient to blame these incidents on bad apples. But this doesn’t get below the surface of what is really going on. The scale of the corruption and the apparent ease with which it has been unfolding speaks to the fact that something is very wrong with the system. And it highlights an utter lack of business ethics and governance failures. This isn’t something the country can afford. What should be done to root out the corruption? While all of this may seem overwhelming, what is unfolding also presents the business community with an opportunity for some introspection. Calls have been made for greater purpose and responsibility on the part of South African leaders. But how can we make sure these fine words and intentions are internalised? How do we make sure as a country that our business as well as our state institutions are committed to not allowing this to happen ever again? Educational institutions, business schools in particular, are positioned as a first-line duty in making sure that graduates are equipped to recognise and reject corruption in any form. The country needs business leaders who are committed to building sustainable and profitable businesses but who are also mindful of their social and ethical obligations.
Citizens as workers and consumers also have a significant role to play. As individuals working in companies and purchasing goods and services from companies, they can condemn unethical behaviour from companies. This was partly reflected in how the general public put pressure on Bell Pottinger the UK based public relations firm which did work for the Gupta’s. By rounding on Bell Pottinger, effectively causing the company to lock its Twitter account and issue a formal and unprecedented apology to the country (even though they also blamed
the fiasco on bad apples rather than the system), South Africans have shown the power they can wield when united against wrongdoing. But the country needs to go further. While government and business have not enjoyed the best relationship in recent times, they need to bury the hatchet and come together to fix the inequalities in this country. Deep divisions have laid South Africa open to the kind of racist exploitation that Bell Pottinger unleashed. Until the country rights this situation, it will continue to remain vulnerable
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to these kinds of nefarious influences. South Africa needs to be united in the spirit of building a country that works for everyone – not just a select few. Things are broken, yes – but it’s not impossible to repair the damage.
MILLS SOKO (The Conversation)
Manufacturer: Transnet Engineering
1 7 2 4
Manufactured in South Africa by Booyco. The air conditioner cools the locomotive main cab.
The platform is manufactured from raw materials by Transnet Engineering in South Africa. It provides the basic structure and support for all elements.
Final assembly and testing in South Africa by Transnet Engineering. The traction motor provides power to the locomotive wheels.
Manufactured and assembled in SA by Transnet Engineering. The bogie allows for the locomotive wheels to follow the contours of the track.
The fuel tank is manufactured in South Africa by Duys.
Manufactured and assembled in South Africa by Wabtec. The radiator cools the engine water.
Manufactured and assembled in South Africa by Knorr Bremse South Africa.
SHOULD CONSIDER HELP FROM THE IMF
TO FIX ITS ECONOMY
he prognosis that the South African economy is in dire straits is pretty obvious even to the untrained eye. The solution to the country’s present predicament is also pretty much understood. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently produced a comprehensive viewwhich deserves to be considered.
But in most instances, these are wellintentioned and aimed at success.
The IMF identifies three key ailments as causes of the country’s anaemic economic growth. These are low consumer and investor confidence and policy uncertainty.
Continued slow growth should be a matter of grave concern and ought to be treated as an emergency.
The country’s poor economic growth record spawned a number of problems. A shrinking economy means tax revenue shortfalls. The fiscal policy response would be higher taxes or bigger budget deficits.
Thus far the short and medium term outlook suggests that growth outcomes will continue to be pedestrian. What is even more worrying is that over the past four years global economic growth has gained momentum, suggesting that the solution to South Africa’s vanishing growth lies in the country. The new minister of finance, Malusi Gigaba, recently hinted that South Africa may be compelled to seek assistance from the IMF. I think the conditions are right for serious consideration of the proposal even though IMF programmes are not very popular with politicians. There are a number of reasons for this. Requests for IMF assistance suggest that those who manage the domestic economy have failed. The fund’s programmes also come with clearly defined milestones, often described as “conditionalities”.
It’s better to enter an IMF programme early before the situation becomes frantic. As medical doctors might argue, it is easier to deal with an ailment in the earlier stages before it reaches an advanced stage.
The alternative to asking for help now would be continued poor growth outcomes which would have serious social and economic costs.
And then again, interest payments, the fastest growing government expenditure item, would grow even faster. Already, about 11 cents out of every rand goes into servicing public debt. As the economy shrinks, more and more income would have to be spent on interest payments. Government’s ability to provide a social safety net in the form of social grants and other services, like education and health care, would be much more constrained. The service delivery proteststhat have become increasingly the norm would become even more widespread as the fiscus comes under serious strain. Ultimately, the brigade of the unemployed would bear the brunt. Of www.theafricanpro.com
course, the employed would also suffer because slow growth affects incomes. Low and anaemic growth dries out consumer confidence. Job losses and subdued growth in incomes as a result of poor growth outcomes and prospects chips away at consumer confidence. South Africa’s growth performance post 2008 has been very low. Over the past 10 years, the economy recorded an average of 2% growth per year. If this continues it will take more than 30 years to double average incomes in South Africa. But if the country can increase growth to 5% as projected by the National Development Plan, it would take only 14 years to double average income. The higher the growth rate the shorter the time required to double incomes and bring people out of poverty.
Investor confidence deficit
The investor confidence deficit is largely as a result of ever increasing political risk, policy uncertainty and wrangling in the ruling party and lately revelations of alleged looting of public funds by the political elite. But not everything’s broken. The performance of the country’s monetary authorities in the management of monetary policy is admirable. Where there appear to be lapses is the asset and liability management of the National Treasury. And here, the massive losses of state owned enterprises readily come to the fore. This is a blot on the canvas of fiscal
policy management. And the much touted structural reforms that are required havenâ€™t been forthcoming because the government lacks the capacity to formulate and implement the appropriate policies. In fact, even if it designed the correct ones, the investor community has little faith in its ability to carry them through. Hence, the need for an IMF programme.
The IMF has the solution
stability in the rand foreign exchange rate market. This in turn would improve investor confidence, leading to more investment in the country. Economic growth would pick up and thereâ€™d be an improvement in consumer confidence. An IMF programme would send a clear and unassailable signal to investors that the country was committed to pursuing a given set of policy options. And it would make the commitment appear credible.
An arrangement would achieve a number of objectives. Firstly, the fund could help the country formulate policies that would unblock the problems that continue to inhibit economic growth and job creation. The mere adoption of an IMF programme would help address the question of policy uncertainty. Secondly, the IMF is well placed to provide foreign exchange loans, bringing
MATTHEW KOFI OCRAN (The Conversation) www.theafricanpro.com
IN CONVERSATION WITH
FLAVIAN MARWA Tell us about your early life and your role today, what was your training like? I was born in Nyalikungu, Maswa, Tanzania and grew up a nomad, in Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Dodoma because my parents were civil servants who got transferred very often and stationed in both rural and urban centers. As a result I also changed schools several times. My childhood helped define who I am today and understand the intricacies of living and working in diverse environments. It also helped shape my understanding of development. I run a boutique consulting firm that is doing regional and global development strategies at the intersection of technology and financial services. Although I have been living in the US for the past 20 years working in the US, Africa and parts of Latin America, I have decided that it is time to share my expertise and experience here in Africa. I am excited to be part of the transformation happening on my continent. I have a diverse set of skills based on my training at the University of Dar es Salaam (Bachelor of Science in Engineering), University of Maryland at College Park (Master of Science), The Harvard Kennedy school of government (Masters in Public Administration), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management (Masters in Business Administration). I also have a post-graduate diploma in investment appraisal and risk analysis from Queens University.
What advice do you have for younger professionals who are looking forward to joining the profession you are in? It is about passion, dedication and reading. We need to broaden our thinking, critique what is perceived as status quo and dare to ask questions.
As a prominent African in the diaspora, what issues or challenges are you confronted with? There seems to be a gap between political rhetoric and realities on my continent. I also grapple with the fact we as Africans are generally not united. It is easier to get a visa or to travel to Europe, for example than it is to travel between some of the African countries. Technology remains an issue in this fast-paced world, which affects our ability to compete internationally. The widening gap between the rich and the poor is perplexing, particularly the disparity between the urban and the rural population. What principles and values do you think are important for any professional and why? • Integrity. • Quality. • Transparency. • Respect for people, their talents and their ability. • Appreciation of diversity. I believe that every professional needs to have a values-based approach to their work in order for them to excel. Additionally, we need to remember that no man is an island; we can complement, connect and collaborate better if we listen and appreciate others’ values as well.
How would people describe you as a leader? Feedback from my peers and colleagues is that I am generally results-driven, outcome-oriented and decisive. How do you strike the balance of career, business and interpersonal skills? I put people first. It is about getting the right skills; clearly communicating the bigger picture, gaining buy-in, giving people space to learn, unlearn and relearn, being inclusive, driving change and celebrating success. How do you maintain ethics, integrity and professionalism? In essence, it is about being true to yourself, to the cause and to those with whom you work. I believe that respect, listening and understanding are key pillars for any professional. How do you participate in mentorship, if you do? I mentor my peers and colleagues.I provide mentorship on business skills and customer value-proposition to early stage entrepreneurs. What makes you tick or keeps you awake at night in terms of your working life? • Passion and care • Determination • Desire for change What have been the highs and lows in your working career? I have had an exciting career, working on multiple issues with people from diverse backgrounds. I have been part of creating www.theafricanpro.com
dynamic change processes in Africa and in USA. I must say that I consider myself very lucky to have been involved in changing the way business is done. My lesson though is that perceptions can affect the way some people work with you, and it is important to give them the space to understand who you are, what you bring to the team and how you can contribute to the bigger picture. My childhood also shaped the way I work. I can go straight from a board meeting, roll up my sleeves and get the work going. When you not at work, what do you get up to? I believe in staying healthy so I often work-out. Oh I love music. I probably have every genre of music from the fifties to date. I love my God, he keeps me strong and steady. He reminds me that there is a bigger purpose in life. I am blessed to be surrounded by a loving family and circle of friends who keep me grounded. Where can people follow you online? I tend to be involved in thinktanks and development discussion boards where I feel I can make meaningful contributions.
WHY ELECTIONS MATTER THE CASE OF RWANDA AND KENYA
ritical elections are being held in Rwanda and Kenya. In Rwanda, the incumbent Paul Kagame will face Frank Habineza, of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and independent candidate Philippe Mpanyimana. In Kenya, Raila Odinga, representing an umbrella opposition party, the National Super Alliance, will challenge incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Party. Some controversy already mars both polls. Victoire Ingabire, considered the strongest opposition leader in Rwanda, remains jailed for threatening state security. The Rwandan constitution was also recently amended to allow Kagame
to run for a third term and to potentially rule until 2034. In Kenya, there’s been considerable criticism of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the body running the election. Issues have included the reliability of the technology being used and the alleged partiality of the commission’s former leadership. And the recent printing of 1.2 million extra ballot papers has raised suspicions of planned vote rigging. The torture and murder of Christopher Msando, the commission’s head of information and technology, has further increased concerns.
With their frequent irregularities, it’s easy to become cynical about elections in Africa. But we must fight our scepticism and indifference because elections continue to be an extremely important component of the continent’s growing democracy.
Elections and democracy While elections alone are insufficient for democracy, they are nevertheless a prerequisite. This is because they promote political participation and competition needed for democracy. It’s the failure or absence of elections that largely defines dictatorships.
Other prerequisites for democracy include: • checks on executive power, • civilian control of the military, • civil rights and due process, and • an independent media and active civil society.
Since the early 1990s, elections in Africa have, on the whole, become increasingly free and fair. A number of factors have contributed to this. The effectiveness of electoral governance – institutions and regulatory norms – has been the most important. The legitimacy of elections depends on clear procedural rules. Studies have found that the electoral management boards are the most significant indicators of the quality of electoral governance. In particular, whether a board is autonomous of government is crucial. Very few African countries inherited autonomous electoral management boards at independence. But, in line with global trends, their prevalence has been rising. By 2002 more than half of African electoral management boards were fully autonomous, 29% were semiautonomous, and only 20% weren’t autonomous. International election observation has also contributed to elections becoming more free and fair. Their presence can reduce fraud and increase domestic confidence in the process.
Inviting international observers to monitor an election has now become a necessary conditionfor an election to be considered internationally legitimate. Refusal to do so is almost akin to admitting electoral fraud.
Long-term observers begin work months ahead of an election. This is because free and fair elections depend a great deal on what happens before voting day. In fact, vote buying and political intimidation before polling day are more common than disputes over vote counting or polling procedures.
Non-partisan citizen observers and monitoring groups, such as the West Africa Election Observers Network, are increasingly involved in election monitoring.
Free media and active citizens A free media and active civil society continue to play an indispensable oversight role. This includes keeping institutions honest and keeping people informed. A study in Sierra Leone showed that election debates between parliamentary candidates were very effective. Recorded debates between local parliamentary candidates were shown in numerous villages. An evaluation of their impact showed that watching the election debates substantially increased viewers’ political knowledge. It also made it more likely that they would vote along policy (rather than ethnic) lines. Elected politicians who had been involved in the debates also tended to invest more in their constituencies, and to visit them more often. www.theafricanpro.com
Civil society has a particular role in promoting a peaceful electoral environment. Its role is particularly crucial where tensions are high.
Some of the results have been impressive. For example, a coalition of observers in Ghana trained and deployed about 4000 people to cover the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections. Regional blocs have also been important in strengthening democracy by enforcing electoral outcomes. A good example was when the Economic Community of West African States stepped in after the Gambian president Yahya Jammeh refused to leave office after losing the 2016 election. The regional body’s commitment to remove him by force if necessary was highly commendable. Its influence can also be seen in the fact that 14 out of its 15 member states have presidents who have been in office for less than two terms. The Economic Community of West African States should serve as a model to other regional blocs.
Making Africans polls free and fair A great deal of progress has been made on improving political participation across the continent. But genuine political competition in elections remains a challenge. More work is still needed to remove biases in favour of incumbents.
Another area that needs work is lifting restrictions on access to state-controlled media by opposition parties. And for democracy to be strengthened further a number of players have to take an active role. This includes governments, opposition parties, the media, citizens, civil society and the international community.
SARAH LOGAN (The Conversation)
ALI Media Fellowship Programme
Cultivating Excellence in Business and Financial Journalism
Celebrating 46 distinguished leaders in media and business from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa who will influence and strengthen the future of financial journalism in Africa
Issa Aremu, NPOM, mni
KC Rottok Chesaina
Fatima Abbas Hassan
Ekundayo Ezekiel Kayode
Lucy Nyasi Kilalo
Chidi Henry Lemchi
Akeem Olabode Mustapha
Noel Kazungu Mwakughu
Yvonne Buliba Okwara
Sunday Trust, Nigeria
Citizen TV, Kenya
BusinessDay Media Ltd., Nigeria
Financial Mail, South Africa
Media Trust Limited, Nigeria
CCTV Africa, Kenya
The African Professional, South Africa
Nation Media Group, Kenya
I’M Original Productions, South Africa
Business Day, Nigeria
Freelance Journalist, Nigeria
EnergyTimes Newspaper, Nigeria
Mail & Guardian, South Africa
Nation Media Group, Kenya
Guardian Newspapers Ltd., Nigeria
Citizen TV, Kenya
Primedia, South Africa
Nation Media Group, Kenya
eNCA, South Africa
SABC, South Africa
Kenya Television Network, Kenya
Nigeria Labour Congress, Nigeria
Primedia Broadcasting, South Africa
Freelance Journalist, Kenya
The Times Media Group, South Africa
Financial Mail, South Africa
Silverbird Communications, Nigeria
World Vision, Kenya
Nigeria Television Authority, Nigeria
Businessday Media Ltd., Nigeria
Nation Media Group, Kenya
The Media, Nigeria
The Vanguard, Nigeria
Freelance Journalist, South Africa
eNCA, South Africa
Mail & Guardian Africa, Kenya
GetBiz, South Africa
The Nation, Nigeria
ALI Media Fellowship
ALI Media Fellowship • www.alimediafellowship.org
The Star Newspaper, South Africa
Bloomberg News, South Africa
ALI Media Fellowship Programme is made possible through a partnership with Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, underwritten by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa is a pan-African programme to build media capacity, convene international leaders and improve access to information in order to advance transparency, accountability and governance on the continent. www.bmia.org
Anchorage Ltd., Kenya
Business Day TV, South Africa
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