Time to pick up apartheid stones and start building - CEO
Durban – South Africa needs a mindset change in order to become productive, competitive and profitable in the current economic situation, Proudly South African CEO Leslie Sedibe told delegates at the 19th congress of the SA Council of Shopping Centres on Thursday.
He said during the struggle against apartheid, protesters used to throw stones.
“Now it is time to pick up those stones and start to build,” he emphasised.
“If you want to be profitable, be the change you want to see in the world, like Ghandi said. You might just be the problem in your own business.”
At the same time he is concerned about the large number of unemployed – and basically unemployable – youth in SA.
“It is not so much about unemployment in SA as it is about our people not being properly skilled. We have such poor outcomes of education in SA although we spend such a lot of money on it. Let’s fix that,” he said.
In his view the key challenges in SA are the lack of innovation, competitiveness, skills, water, energy and access to finance.
At the same time South African products have to compete with international ones, which he said are “highly incentivised”.
“We must encourage private sector investment, unlock the potential of SMMEs and reform state-owned enterprises,” he pleaded.
“We must also ensure that locally produced products and services are profitable. For that, businesses have to know their customers and look at the details in order to find out where leakages are happening in the business.”
Sedibe also implored South Africans not to give up on their country. “We must also create jobs and one way to do it is to buy locally. Remember, when you don’t give up you cannot fail. Let us not give up in South Africa. Together we can do it.”
* Carin Smith is a guest of the SACSC at its congress.