BREAKING THE CYCLE: HOW TO FAST-TRACK SOUTH AFRICA’S ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION
Presented by Joel Netshitenzhe (MISTRA, Executive Director)
Black Management Forum Policy Conference
5th October 2015
Programme Director and Deputy President of the BMF
President of the BMF
Chairperson of the BMF Policy and Research Committee
Allow me first to express our appreciation as the Mapungubwe Institute (MISTRA) for this opportunity to share views with a critical contingent of the leadership of our country.
This characterisation of the Black Management Form as a critical contingent of South Africa’s leadership is not made lightly. Managers in both the public and the private sectors – and indeed in civil society – are by definition, or at least potentially, leaders in the narrow sense of the word.
But, in the context of a transforming society, the BMF occupies a critical position also because of two fundamental reasons. Firstly, such is the nature of South Africa’s process of change that those who originate from the majority of the population and were systematically oppressed and marginalised have, by sheer weight of logic, a leading role to play in defining and constructing the antithesis to the heinous system we seek to destroy. Secondly, that position of relative privilege also accords immeasurable responsibility on black managers and professionals to play their role as fountains of progressive thought – as part of the vanguard in fashioning both the theory and praxis of social transformation.
And so, acting in that capacity of leadership, the BMF is, at this Policy Conference, posing a question that should exercise the mind of South African society at large: how to break the cycle and fast-track South Africa’s economic transformation! It is safe to assume that you assert the need to break the cycle because you are convinced that South Africa needs to strike out along a higher economic trajectory; having consciously and systematically come to the conclusion that the current path dependency has not resulted in, and cannot advance, speedy economic transformation.
Naturally, the question then immediately arises: what is economic transformation!
Without claiming any intellectual authority on such a complex matter, I would argue that there is a common appreciation across all reasonable schools of thought that transformation entails the fundamental change in the essence of a phenomenon, its substantive transmogrification; but also a change in its form.