Why do you believe it is critical for South Africa to continue to transform its economy?
The transformation of the economy is imperative if we as a country want to see sustainable growth of the economy and a better standard of living for the population. Studies have shown that a diversified workforce(one of the benefits of a transformed economy) not only boosts GDP but also results in a more sustainable GDP during economic downturns. The redistribution of wealth is essential as wealth is an indicator of the long term welfare of the nation, currently the wealth of the country is still largely sitting in the hands of a few in the country. The transformation of the economy is a key tool in the diversification of the workforce and the ultimate redistribution of wealth.
How successful do you believe South Africa has been in achieving Nelson Mandela’s vision of a fair, equal and just society?
South Africa has made strides in the right direction over the past 25 years but I believe we still have a long way to go to achieve a fair, equal and just society. A large part of the population is still living below the poverty line as certain policy inconsistencies and lack of appropriate implementation of set policies have hindered the progress in achieving a fair and equal society. We have in recent years seen the highest levels of violence against women and children which is not an attribute of a just society. The large disparities in wealth distribution and the prevalence of structural racism have also been impediments in achieving Nelson Mandela's vision.
Do you believe South Africa has come a long way in the wake of its 25 years of democratic freedom? How has it most impacted you as an industry leader?
South Africa has taken a lot of positive steps in the past 25 years. The implementation of programmes such as BBBEE have particularly assisted in opening doors for many professionals, although there is still room for improvement with the hope of more buy in from businesses. Funding institutions such as the IDC and NYDA have also played vital roles in providing opportunities for participation in the economy. I have been personally impacted by programmes such as the Thuthuka bursary fund which provides financial aid to previously disadvantaged students aspiring to qualify as Chartered Accountants with the aim of increasing the number of Black Chartered Accountants in the country. Through the programmes funding and resources I completed my studies and had the opportunity to continue my journey towards qualifying as a Chartered Accountant.
How do you think South Africa, as a democratic nation, will look in the next 25 years? What else do you believe the country is capable of achieving in this timeframe?
I have a positive outlook on the future of the nation for the next 25 years. I believe the impact of a various decisions made in the past 25 years will materialise in the next 25 years if the implementation of the policies is successful. Changes such as the impact of working towards free education will assist in having a nation that is more educated which will in turn improve the employability of the youth and increasing the skilled labour force. Furthermore, in the past few years the importance of topics such as land redistribution and structural racism have been great talking points and I believe with more dialogue and active engagement on these topics the nation will be able to have honest conversations and come up with sustainable solutions that will lead to a united nation. One matter of importance that would impact the next 25 years is the government's response to the coming fourth industrial revolution as this would have a great impact on the economy and economic participation of the workforce which would be hard to predict right now.
What makes you proudly South African?
I am an African living in one of the most beautiful nations in the world. I am inspired by the mama on the street corner selling skopas; the street dancers using their skills to create opportunities for a better tomorrow and the celebration of our unique diversity through products such as the BMW Art Car by mama Etsher Mahlangu. Being part of a people that show resilience and remain hopeful despite the historic difficulties of apartheid and the challenges we currently face as a democratic nation makes me proud. Through 25 years of learning new ways of thinking and the realisation that there is quite a bit of unlearning that needs to happen for us to progress as a nation, my heart still beats to rhythm of music that transcends our 11 official languages. I am ready for the next 25 years – I remain proudly South African.