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  • Writer's pictureAndile Khumalo

Allez! Allez! for a Better Year Ahead

Updated: Apr 29, 2019

It's the time of the year when the brain tricks us into believing we all have a chance at a new start. So I thought I should join the party and share my 10 hopes and wishes for 2019.

Number 10: We start the healing process

Thanks to a very blunt Johann Rupert, I've realised just how damaged I am. I know he had some very useful business insights to share in his conversation, but all I can remember is "BMW and Taboo".

A rare opportunity to learn from one of the most successful businessmen in the world went to waste. I know I'm not the only one who took umbrage at Rupert's comments. However, they did reveal one thing: we are not OK.

And the fact that Rupert can make such comments and not appreciate how they will be received is probably the bigger problem. We clearly need an intervention.

Number 9: More young people enter politics

It seems as if all politicians have conceded defeat to the EFF as the only political formation led by young people.

Our country is largely made up of young people, and if you want sustainable progressive ideas, you best get them onto the table.

Number 8: VBS and Steinhoff executives must be jailed

We know who they are. We know what they've done. Steinhoff promised a report in December, and we are told the long - and clearly slow - arm of the law is working its way through the VBS swindlers. Let's jail these criminals in 2019.

Number 7: The audit profession recovers

The Ntsebeza inquiry will hopefully make its report public this year, and we can finally know what actually happened inside KPMG.

Deloitte and the audit regulator continue to be embroiled in a dispute regarding the firm's potential role in the fall of African Bank. Deloitte is also implicated in the Steinhoff saga.

I sincerely hope we have seen the last of the skeletons, and the audit profession - so critical to our economic stability - regains some lost reputational ground in 2019.

Number 6: Big business does more to support entrepreneurs

Big business has announced a number of initiatives to boost unemployment and support entrepreneurship. However, my experience suggests that big business can do much more to support entrepreneurs, especially in enterprise and supplier development.

In a recent meeting with one of the largest insurance companies in SA, I learnt that they support only 10 entrepreneurs in the whole of the country. Come on!

Number 5: The government intensifies Broad-Based BEE policy and its implementation

I totally understand why the government gives a higher weighting to price when procuring goods and services. We all want to pay the lowest price for the highest value. However, it is time that the government scraps the 80/20 and 90/10 system and simply legislates that it will only buy from black companies, and all of them will then compete on price, quality, and capability. Why not?

Number 4: SA Inc. speaks with one voice

President Cyril Ramaphosa has irked a lot of business people with his party's resolute stance on the land question, and this is likely to create tension between the government and business.

Last year saw many missions - made up of government and business people - into various countries, raising billions of dollars in investment. May this continue in 2019 and perhaps we can even find each other on the land question.

Number 3: Higher economic growth

The National Development Plan says we need 5%. We probably achieved just over 1% in 2018. The World Bank says we will only get 1.3% in 2019. I hope they are wrong and we get closer to 2%. It will also help if we can slow it down on the population growth, comrades.

Number 2: Successful national elections

By all indications, SA will hold its national elections in May. My hope is a record turnout especially by young people.

Number 1: Liverpool to win the league

I hope all of the above wishes come true, but there is nothing I want more than my football club to win the English Premiership. The last time Liverpool won the league, SA was still under apartheid and I was 12 years old. My son turns 12 in 2019. Surely that's a sign.

This article first appeared in The Business Times, Sunday Times on Sunday, 13 January 2019

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