Brand Pretorius
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BAND PRETORIUS STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL BUSINESS SECTOR PLAYING AN ACTIVE ROLE IN CREATING BETTER SA FOR ALL

2010-10-04

The business sector in South Africa needs to play an increasingly important and participative role in creating a better future for all South Africans if the country is to flourish in the future, according to the CEO of the McCarthy automotive retailing group, Brand Pretorius.

Speaking at the recent annual awards banquet of the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut in Vanderbijlpark, he said an excellent example of this type of co-operation is the "golden triangle" that exists in some successful developing countries with government, business and civil society working together towards common visions and goals.

"Here, in South Africa, we should also add the labour unions to the equation," said Pretorius. "It is important that the various stakeholders accept co-responsibility for the creation of a better future for all South Africans."

Pretorius believes there are seven priorities that must be addressed for the business sector to not only make a major impact on the future development of South Africa and its people, but also to improve the image of business in the country.

"We are still seen by many today as selfish capitalists who are not genuinely concerned about the broader social issues," explained Pretorius. "We have some way to go to position ourselves as part of the solution and therefore cannot afford to behave like capitalists in New York of London. We need to be capitalists with a social conscience."

The seven priorities identified by Brand Pretorius for the business sector are:
Promoting a positive vision for the future of our country. Be ambassadors.

Under this heading he says business cannot afford to be afraid of the future. It needs to capitalise on the successful staging of the 2010 Football World Cup, our substantial infrastructure development programme and the manner in which South Africa survived the global financial crisis of 2008. The business sector has to act as ambassadors for South Africa, and keep on investing in the future.

Embrace change. Accept the necessity to transform.

He believes the business sector should be at the forefront of change, which must be seen as an opportunity, not a threat, because real transformation is a prerequisite for longer term political and social stability. Pretorius stressed that performance levels must be maintained for transformation to be sustainable. Mentoring small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and developing entrepreneurs as a way of closing the gap between rich and poor should be key focus areas. "We must integrate black South Africans into the mainstream economy and so create a more inclusive economy and a more equal distribution of wealth. It is a moral, strategic and business imperative."

Build our businesses on sound principles and values.

Pretorius says these are the timeless principles of consistency, integrity and fairness combined with the values of respect for human dignity, trust, sincerity, openness and teamwork. "We should set the best example possible by abhorring corruption, 'backhanders' and 'under the table' incentives."

Develop our human capital to the best of our ability.

Finding and nurturing talent is critical according to the McCarthy CEO. "We must accept the 'richness in our diversity' and unlock the potential of every team member because skill shortages are very real and a disproportionate investment in the development of South Africa's human capital is required."

Develop the transformational leaders of tomorrow as everything rises and falls on leadership.

"We need visionary, inspirational and caring leaders with high integrity who prefer people over things, service over power and principle over convenience," explained Pretorius. "We need to accelerate leadership development through management understudy, structured mentorship and coaching programmes. We need serving, not self-serving leaders as effective leadership is a pre-requisite for world class performance in all aspects of business."

Be socially responsible.

Pretorius gave a number of examples where business can play a positive role through corporate caring, including focussing on the areas of education, housing, poverty alleviation, service delivery, crime prevention and HIV/Aids. This can be achieved by actions such as mentoring municipalities and police stations, getting involved with Business against Crime and initiatives that will assist in improving service delivery.

Most importantly, develop world class businesses that can create jobs, generate wealth and achieve success on a sustainable basis.

The McCarthy CEO said that this was the nucleus of the business sector's responsibility as it must create wealth to generate economic growth and employment. Pretorius said it was disappointing to note that South Africa had slipped to 54th place in this year's Global Competitiveness Report and it is essential to develop a global and competitive mindset, while building on the export component of the economy. "We must be at the forefront of excellence and achievement and strive to be the best in everything we do," stressed Pretorius.

Concluding his address the automotive executive said that business must assist Government in its efforts to eradicate inequality and poverty through encouraging sustained economic development that will create more employment and thereby undermine the platform of the country's major enemy, which is crime.

"We are living in the era of the ultimate challenges, but also the ultimate opportunities," said Pretorius. "It is up to us in the business sector to make the real South Africa work so we can create the miracle we hoped for in 1994. The business sector is co-responsible for the creation of a better future. Obviously government should also play its rightful role and sort out, as a matter of great priority, its own shortcomings and deficiencies.

"Where else can one have such a challenging but fulfilling life? From every perspective our country engages us. Never-ending change, an abundance of opportunities and almost overwhelming needs. A place where one can always fulfil the essence of human purpose, namely, to make a difference!" concluded Brand Pretorius.

Issued by Wilken Communication Management
Tel: 012-4604448
Fax: 012-4604514






BAND PRETORIUS STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL BUSINESS SECTOR PLAYING AN ACTIVE ROLE IN CREATING BETTER SA FOR ALL

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