INTERVIEW senior professionals from other parts of South Africa, they are struggling to settle into the city and they have similar issues except they have families. It has become quite challenging for many corporates, so we’ve launched what we call the “Welcome to Cape Town” initiative. This is less serious than our usual networking engagements because it’s geared more towards showcasing the food, wine and entertainment of the region, but ultimately it’s about helping them meet their peers and the feedback so far has been massively encouraging. It’s fine focusing on talent, but if we’re serious about transformation we also have to look at the HR practitioners. We have started the HR Practitioner Forum which brings together all the senior HR leadership from across these corporates to engage around specific issues. These include the unintended consequences of the new BEE codes and what that means, how they practically implement transformation in their organisation and best practices. There is an opportunity for sharing, so that adds value. We’ve tried to create linkages between our focus areas, so when we talk about the Atlantis SEZ, for example, there’s a tie-in with talent with respect to artisanal training and so on.
WE DON’T ACCEPT ANY MONEY FROM GOVERNMENT AS THAT ALLOWS US TO BE AN INDEPENDENT VOICE FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR. Business leadership The second focus area is business leadership, which has two components. The first is the activities we do with the leaders of these corporates which includes intimate engagements with people such as Christo Wiese, Simon Susman, etc, who act as mentors. We engage around specific topics, junk status and Brexit
and the implications thereof. We invite people from the National Treasury or the major banks to participate and engage with the local CEOs. We also host dinners with the Premier and the Mayor, private events around one table so that CEOs can engage with them on issues that are impacting business in the region. This helps drive real working relationships between business and government not just talk shops and “protocol-observed” type events. In the second aspect of our business leadership focus, we started reaching out to the diplomatic corps by launching the Foreign Office Programme. We been quite selective and have focused on the Dutch, the Germans, the French and the English because they are all actively involved in assisting their corporates in this region. From the Asia Pacific region it’s Japan, China, India and the USA, and those eight represented our Foreign Office Programme for 2016. Connectedness Our third area of focus is connectedness and again there are two components. There’s physical connectedness and we are doing a series of engagements with Wesgro where we’re looking at issues of traffic congestion. For example, quite a number of members moving into the Waterfront are concerned about the level of traffic congestion and the way it is negatively impacting productivity. We are exploring different options but also looking at rail and freight logistics and the direct flights out of Cape Town to key economic destinations. Then there is virtual connectedness – the fibre optic broadband infrastructure, the wifi zones, etc. From a social development perspective, you want that infrastructure in the townships. Research has shown that a 10% increase in broadband connectivity results in a 1.3% increase in GDP growth. So the City decided to use its budget and grow the infrastructure and then they came to us and asked what the corporates could do with open access networks. Our corporates are very excited about it because with these wifi zone and fibre optic networks you have an opportunity to access communities that they had difficulty in reaching.
WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017