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A snake within the room

A snake within the room

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In this newest episode of the FixSA podcast, Songezo Zibi says in a yr when the ANC has its non-compulsory convention there’s little or no governing that is going on.

He believes to mend South Africa a elementary redesign of politics is wanted, and it’s prime time the highest fifty or so enterprise leaders were given right into a room to drive the tempo.

Underneath is the entire transcript of Jeremy Maggs’s interview with Zibi.

JEREMY MAGGS: No longer too way back, our visitor wrote an essay that stated the disaster that South Africa is going through is “a golden alternative to outline the rustic’s modern politics anew, ditching the previous ideological dogmas whose preoccupation is contestation to defeat the opposite on the expense of development on problems the place there’s wide social settlement”.

It looks as if he may have some excellent concepts on how one can restore issues.

Welcome to the Moneyweb podcast Repair SA. My identify is Jeremy Maggs. Simply to remind you, within the coming weeks our visitors can be requested how we will be able to sort things. How will we give a boost to issues? How within the shortest area of time are we able to turn into a aggressive and a a hit country? That’s what everyone needs.

Songezo Zibi has greater than twenty years of company enjoy, all through which era he has been a communications and company affairs skilled. Previous to becoming a member of Absa as head of communications, he was once the editor of Trade Day, and [is] now the convener, the executive prepare dinner and bottlewasher, I feel, of a suppose tank – he’ll right kind me if I’m improper – of an idea known as the Rivonia Circle. So how would he repair South Africa?

Let me get that proper, to start with, Songeza. Are you pleased with the phrases ‘suppose tank’?

SONGEZO ZIBI: Oh, sure, I’m. We’re a suppose tank with frills, bells and whistles as a result of we’re other, as a result of we paintings on suggestions throughout a variety of spaces. So I’m more than happy to be right here to speak about how one can Repair SA.

JEREMY MAGGS: I’m taking a look ahead to speaking about a few of the ones suggestions. However only a fast complaint, if I would possibly. I spoke to a few folks whom I instructed I used to be going to be speaking to you, and so they stated, ‘Oh, now not every other communicate store!’ Is that what the Rivonia Circle is set? Is it a number of good guys getting round a desk and speaking, or is it greater than that?

SONGEZO ZIBI: No, it’s completely greater than that. One of the crucial selections we took early on is that we’re going to be solutions-focused. However folks have were given to take into account that with a view to arrive at sensible, workable suggestions you’ve were given to do fairly a little bit of speaking. In our case we’ve been doing numerous listening, if truth be told, moderately than speaking, which I’m fairly satisfied to percentage as we now have this dialog, listening very closely, in order that once we do come to a decision to provide concepts and take motion they’ve as a lot consensus and credibility as imaginable, as a result of that’s what we’ve [not] had in South Africa.

We’ve [South Africa] had a loss of credibility proper around the board. Because of this, the issues we’ve attempted to do were hotly contested and simply by no means get any place.

JEREMY MAGGS: You’ll be able to concentrate for so long as you need, you’ll try to succeed in that consensus, however you’re going to consider me that that clock is ticking, [and] that one day you’ve were given to place up your hand and say: ‘Neatly, right here’s the blueprint. Now we have reached the consensus, now we’re going to spring into motion.’ What would the springing into motion be?

SONGEZO ZIBI: We’re if truth be told in that segment of motion, Jeremy, at this second. We’ve simply presented one thing known as the Upward push Marketing campaign. South Africans must recognise what the elemental drawback is. I do know folks like to speak about technical suggestions and this coverage choice and an enabled state and that form of factor. We’ve were given to be fair with ourselves.

The politics is South Africa’s greatest impediment on the subject of the economic system, on the subject of social development, on the subject of absolutely anything that we wish to do – together with the worldwide competitiveness of the rustic.

Now we have the improper folks on the helm. Other folks in enterprise – and I come from enterprise, Jeremy – have selected to have this dialog best in personal. However truthfully, they’re dealing and putting their hopes on folks they wouldn’t rent as heart managers of their corporations. They usually realize it.

So we’ve were given to mend the politics, no dilly-dallying and beating across the bush. Subsequently, the Upward push Marketing campaign has were given, as certainly one of its core tenets, ensuring that we get that political exchange from 2024 onward. After which the type of issues folks bitch about and say govt isn’t doing and so on, and so on –  ‘we’ve made 1000’s of pages of submissions to govt and not anything will get performed’ – then they are able to get performed as a result of you want a distinct calibre of baby-kisser.

JEREMY MAGGS: So are you a drive of affect this present day, or one day do you place up your hand and say ‘we’re a celebration’ as neatly?

SONGEZO ZIBI: The place we are actually is that the Rivonia Circle goes to proceed being the non-profit that it’s. The Upward push Marketing campaign goes to be an animal of its personal that turns into a political motion that contests elections and so forth, whilst the Rivonia Circle continues on its trail. What the Rivonia Circle has performed, in essence, is laying the foundation thru its paintings for a cohesive political choice that may contest elections.

JEREMY MAGGS: Numerous organisations corresponding to yours have risen sooner than, and I just like the identify ‘Upward push’, however they’ve additionally fallen. What makes you other, do you suppose? What’s going to provide the traction that you just so need?

SONGEZO ZIBI: Jeremy, let me provide you with an instance, and I’m going to criticise my former colleagues in enterprise or the elites – and I rely myself as some of the elites in South Africa. The style during which we now have concept and framed suggestions to one of the issues is outdated and it has a tendency to practice what the folk on the Union Constructions practice.

Now, in case you have a look at the unemployment and financial drawback, Jeremy, 70% of the folk with out jobs in South Africa should not have matric.

I’m really not positive what Ebrahim Patel with huge commercial society goals that he needs to do, that enterprise flocks steadily to talk to about beneficiation and all of all these issues. What does that remedy for the one who if truth be told can’t get essentially the most elementary task as a result of they didn’t end matric?

The Division of Training was once in parliament in October, and stated the college dropout charge is – watch for it – 48% or 52%. If you’ll’t remedy that drawback, you might be then now not going as a way to be aggressive, to have the type of have an effect on that you need to have. And subsequently, and right here’s the place the framing wishes to switch, we will be able to’t have folks in enterprise and different sectors best assembly with Ebrahim Patel. No doubt, unquestionably within the dialog there must be Blade Nzimande or the minister of upper training and the minister of elementary training.

Trade has were given to get into the dependancy of interrogating how we’ve structured our talents construction programme vis-à-vis the elemental training space. They don’t wish to cross there as it doesn’t have anything else to do with enterprise. And the ones are the type of suggestions, a distinct framing of suggestions, that we’re arising with.

JEREMY MAGGS: It’s additionally a lot more uncomplicated and possibly extra palatable to sip the big-vision Kool-Support than cross and get grimy and talk about curricular and school rooms and elementary services and products, I assume.

SONGEZO ZIBI: Jeremy, we will have to body questions as merely as we will be able to. Why are such a lot of youngsters now not finishing college, and what occurs to these youngsters? Are we ever going to create sufficient jobs for them? Alternately then, if we settle for that we don’t wish to do anything else about that drawback, what sort of rudimentary early twentieth century economic system will we wish to construct in order that we will be able to have someplace the place they are able to paintings, and the way aggressive or uncompetitive would that economic system be?

We don’t wish to body questions in that manner as it’s too tricky. It takes us to the world of politics. After all it will have to.

JEREMY MAGGS: I wish to reference in a second your name to motion then, so far as enterprise is anxious. However I’ve framed our dialog at the essay that you just wrote that I featured in my creation. You stated, partially, we’re actually on our personal, we will have to take very transparent steps to shield the Republic between now and 2024. What do you imply whilst you say ‘we’re actually on our personal’? Songezo Zibi, that’s terrifying. How do we discover ourselves on our personal?

SONGEZO ZIBI: We must be terrified. We’re sitting with a snake within the room; we’re pretending that it’s now not there. Jeremy, you’ve coated economic system and politics for a long time. We all know [that] in a yr when the ANC has were given its non-compulsory convention there’s little or no governing that is going on. The folks aren’t within the place of business in any respect. They’re in the market campaigning. We all know this, as a question of truth.

Moreover, Jeremy, lots of them are embroiled in scandal. They’re both showing at commissions, they’re below investigation, they’re having prison fees towards them and so forth, and the principle preoccupation politically for them is escaping duty.

We all know this. Let’s now not fake this isn’t the case. We see them on TV and in newspapers and so forth each day.

Moreover, Jeremy, we have, if we have a look at simply the previous couple of weeks, what [have] been the principle subjects of dialogue within the best decision-making construction of the ANC – the step-aside rule, it’s been Phala Phala and so forth. Come on, Jeremy, if you’re a shareholder and you might be staring at an organization spend its time combating between executives and the board…

JEREMY MAGGS: With little consideration being paid to Degree 4 blackouts.

SONGEZO ZIBI: Proper, proper. So we will have to name issues by means of their actual identify. The rustic is on autopilot. It isn’t sensible to wish that President Cyril Ramaphosa is the only messiah who’s going to show issues round. It’s transparent that he’s now not.

There’s no enterprise that has were given hope as its technique. It is unnecessary to me, and but that is the place we discover ourselves.

Subsequently, in that context I in reality will have to problem everyone who’s taking note of this podcast to query the position they’ve performed in pretending that issues aren’t as critical as they’re, both implicitly or explicitly – although they don’t say so. What’s transparent thru our collective inactiveness is that we don’t suppose issues are critical sufficient. But it surely’s now not simply electrical energy, Jeremy, it’s water, proper? It’s Transnet choking the economic system. Companies is complaining always.

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JEREMY MAGGS: The checklist is never-ending.

SONGEZO ZIBI: The checklist is never-ending.

JEREMY MAGGS: And overarching all of this, you cross on to mention we need to speak about having to just accept political violence. Let me say that once more: we need to speak about accepting political violence. Is it your opinion that we’re past any more or less answer so far as that’s involved? You cross on to mention we’re run by means of prison gangs. I imply, at that time is it too past due to tug issues again?

SONGEZO ZIBI: No, it’s now not too past due. All of it is dependent. We’ll communicate, Jeremy, about why I’m announcing this can be a golden alternative, by means of the best way, as a result of a disaster is dependent upon what we make of it. It may be a large alternative for transformative motion, however you’ve were given to be courageous.

JEREMY MAGGS: However there’s a high quality line between disaster and disaster.

SONGEZO ZIBI: You’ve were given to be daring, after all. However let me communicate concerning the political violence. Jeremy, ANC councillors and people throughout the ANC were killed – in KZN most commonly, but additionally within the Japanese Cape the place I used to be born and the place I thought to be [that] my house. So in different phrases, throughout the context of the ANC itself those guys aren’t afraid to take each and every different out after they really feel the only is threatening the opposite or threatening their pursuits.

We are facing a scenario in 2024 when the ANC could be very more likely to get not up to 50%. In the case of our personal polling it is going to be fortunate to get 41% or 42%.

JEREMY MAGGS: And there’s inherent risk in the ones numbers.

SONGEZO ZIBI: There’s inherent [danger]. If those guys kill each and every different, Jeremy, come on, what concerning the people who find themselves out of doors of that organisation? Do we predict that they’re going to mention, ‘Oh, this celebration or this one that’s threatening my curiosity isn’t within the ANC; I will be able to allow them to do no matter they would like’.

That’s Utopia. We wish to prevent opting for to be naïve about this stuff, as a result of Abahlali baseMjondolo were killed. For a few years their management in KZN and auditors, who’ve discovered malfeasance and so forth, were killed over the years. So political violence past the ecosystem of the ANC is an excessively particular risk.

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JEREMY MAGGS: So, Songezo Zibi, in case you’re announcing then that the most important drawback we’re going through – and also you stated it previous – is politics, why are we not able to come back in combination as a country and fasten it? Is the divide of cooperation now too vast for any type of collegiality?

SONGEZO ZIBI: There are few causes, Jeremy. The primary is that there was an acceptance that the ANC is the convener of various sectors of society, if it is dressed in its govt hat or it’s dressed in its party-political hat, as a result of it’s been the centre of what’s known as ‘the modern motion’. And so all of us comply with be convened by means of ANC ministers, by means of the president and so forth.

However Jeremy, this can be a 1987 motion. In 1987 or 1985 enterprise in South Africa, which was once completely white on the subject of the facility construction, took a call to mention the Nationwide Birthday party and PW Botha aren’t the best way to the long run. We wish to to find different South Africans who need…

JEREMY MAGGS: They were given onto an aeroplane, didn’t they?

SONGEZO ZIBI: Were given onto an plane and went to look the ANC in exile and others. What’s nowadays’s model of that motion? It takes initiative, Jeremy, it takes bravery. It takes boldness to mention the rustic is far too necessary than my issues about what the powers that be – whose tenure is transient and can quickly finish – are going to take a look at and do to me.

JEREMY MAGGS: You cross on to mention, Songezo Zibi, that South Africa must signal an ethical contract.

SONGEZO ZIBI: After all.

JEREMY MAGGS: What’s that?

SONGEZO ZIBI: One of the crucial issues I say in the similar piece, Jeremy, is that we wish to outline what binds us in combination. Personally what binds us in combination are the values of our Charter – now not simply the statutes, the values of our Charter.

JEREMY MAGGS: Please don’t use the phrase ‘resilience’, as a result of we’re getting very uninterested in that phrase ‘resilience’.

SONGEZO ZIBI: You already know, being tricky generally is a unhealthy factor as it method you tolerate numerous nonsense, and I don’t consider that. So mainly we consider that the South African Charter is social-democratic in nature. What does that imply? What are the values of social democracy? They’re freedom, they’re equality, they’re justice, they’re team spirit. And I feel you’ll upload a 5th one within the South African context, particularly in mild of our fresh historical past. You are saying integrity.

Right here’s a query. Are we able to construct a consensus round those values? May we proper throughout celebration political traces and enterprise pursuits and so forth? I feel if we did we may take all of those and speak to them ubuntu as neatly, as a result of they resonate with some.

JEREMY MAGGS: And your competition is that there’s that prepared majority to try this?

SONGEZO ZIBI: After all there’s.

JEREMY MAGGS: What are they petrified of?

SONGEZO ZIBI: Right here’s the article, Jeremy. As any individual who spent the final yr in all forms of puts from Camps Bay to Qumbu within the Japanese Cape and so forth, the folk I discovered are prepared to transport the following day to power political exchange.

JEREMY MAGGS: However why aren’t they doing so?

SONGEZO ZIBI: Grasp on, grasp on. The folks within the villages, within the townships and the semi-urban spaces, the ones guys don’t wait. They wish to transfer. Right here’s what folks say. They are saying: ‘How can you prevail, you?’ Again there they are saying, ‘What are we doing the following day?’ That’s the variation.

And in case you settle for that during any society the elites transfer the cheese, you’ve were given a disconnection between individuals who don’t wish to take accountability and say, ‘What are you as Songezo going to do?’ and tens of millions who say, ‘What are we going to do?’

So right here’s why we don’t have the social compact, as a result of what then you definately finally end up with, you’re going to finally end up with the loads who need a positive time table and Johnnies-come-lately who’re the elites, who concept it was once only a Songezo factor the place you want to power this. And that’s our drawback.

That’s why we’re beginning on the stage of values, as a result of all folks want to select about whether or not the ones values constitute who we predict we’re.

JEREMY MAGGS: What then is the components for coalescing, then, the ones two very disparate teams who’ve such various agendas?

SONGEZO ZIBI: Let me percentage with you what we have if truth be told been doing. We haven’t simply been speaking to particular person organisations in villages and folks and folks and so forth. We’ve additionally been very planned in chatting with business-interest teams at a neighborhood stage and at a regional stage. And announcing that you just –

JEREMY MAGGS: Those are small chambers of trade, that more or less factor?

SONGEZO ZIBI: I will be able to come to the rich folks as neatly, and the corporations. We will speak about that as a result of I do have some perspectives that folks don’t like, however we will have to have the dialog.

So the ones guys are the blokes who used to ask the ANC into their area and platform them. They would like a distinct dialog now. That’s how we’re ready to get into that dialog as a result of they don’t have the deep wallet to cushion themselves from load dropping and water and these kind of factor and [for] purchasing a diesel generator.

JEREMY MAGGS: In your level, they’re on their very own.

SONGEZO ZIBI: They’re on their very own, so that they wish to transfer, proper? The fellows who’re ready to spend an additional R3 million right here and R5 million to airfreight issues whilst Transnet is falling aside, nonetheless say, ‘Ah, I’m hoping we get a greater chief of the ANC’. That’s the variation.

In order that’s what we’ve additionally recognised, and we will have to be fair, Jeremy, why this 1987 second isn’t being captured in the best way that shall we in 1987 or enterprise may. You had a super-concentrated economic system again then. The homeowners of the belongings and the wealth additionally came about to be the individuals who had been in large part working the ones belongings, the Nicky Oppenheimers and the ones forms of folks. That’s a truth.

The South African economic system has modernised and deconcentrated, and subsequently what you find yourself with are extremely paid managers of people’s belongings. That’s what executives of JSE-listed corporations are and subsequently they’re naturally constrained. They may be able to’t take arbitrary selections to mention, politically we’re going to cross this fashion, as a result of shareholders are advanced, they’re from right here and out of the country and that more or less factor.

Sadly, this fact of contemporary enterprise has additionally supposed that you’ve got a number of people that keep watch over an enormous supply of the economic system, who’re infinitely indecisive and unclear on the subject of the place they believe the rustic must be, as a result of they’re looking to arrange more than one pursuits.

That’s the truth of being an govt in a indexed corporate, and I’ve labored in indexed corporations all my existence. That’s a truth.

So you’ll’t ask – and I’ll point out Sim [Tshabalala] as a result of we all know each and every different – you’ll’t ask Sim to make a certain remark about politics as a result of his chairman goes to telephone him and ask him, ‘What are you speaking about?’ It’s simply other.

JEREMY MAGGS: Only for context, you’re speaking about Sim Tshabalala, the primary visitor at the FixSA podcast.

SONGEZO ZIBI: Sure. I’m speaking about Sim. That’s a fact. What I to find is that prime internet value South Africans who’ve actual pores and skin within the recreation – now not that Sim doesn’t, he does, and he in reality cares about South Africa and is massively patriotic, I do know him – the ones folks have a tendency to have a distinct dialog, it’s much less tentative.

They’re like, ‘Hiya guy, this may’t cross on, one thing’s were given to be performed,’ and that more or less factor. And subsequently you’ll’t to find much less dilly-dallying.

Subsequently, I feel what enterprise has to come to a decision is how one can get across the realities of its personal shareholder and governance dynamics with a view to power a cohesive political time table.

JEREMY MAGGS: We’ve reached the crux of the dialog then. What’s the name to motion, specifically so far as enterprise is anxious? You’ve checked out small enterprise operators, you’ve talked concerning the massive corporates, the multinationals. Nearly, what’s the name to motion then with a view to snatch on that 1987 second?

SONGEZO ZIBI: That is what I might do, and do it publicly – or no less than say publicly that we’re going to do it. I might say Busa, BLSA and all of those organisations wish to say [that] on such and any such day we’re going to meet to talk about the political scenario within the nation, as a result of it’s untenable. Whilst we don’t know what the end result of that dialog goes to be, we wish to determine some way out of right here as a result of we’re accountable for tens of millions of folks’s jobs in South Africa. We’re accountable for billions in shareholder cash. We’re accountable for an entire bunch of items.

What we all know is that the whole lot we’ve attempted during the last 15 years simply has now not produced the results that South Africa must have.

We’re going to have that dialog. We will be able to see what the end result is. It’s a daring step as it defines a transparent time table. You are making your self publicly responsible and also you improve your self towards any individual who says, ‘Oh, they went to satisfy in secret,’ and this sort of factor.

Now they are able to pop out with a wide answer, however I feel that bravery to mention we’ll meet on our personal with out Pravin Gordhan and Ebrahim Patel or Cyril [Ramaphosa], and are available to our personal resolution about what to do with this untenable political scenario within the nation.

JEREMY MAGGS: What you’re announcing is that it’s time they throw down the gauntlet.

SONGEZO ZIBI: After all they will have to throw down the gauntlet. Concentrate, Jeremy, this nation has been propped up by means of the non-public sector and civil society. We all know this. Had been it now not for the NGOs and enterprise, the rustic would’ve lengthy [ago] sunk into the drain.

JEREMY MAGGS: We’ve were given two questions to head, as a result of I’m very cognisant of time. Every time we file this I come again to the entire thought of Repair SA.

What would outline, to your opinion, within the very brief time period – and let’s recognize it’s now not going to occur all through this non-compulsory time, however in 2023 – what would represent a few non permanent wins with a view to get started the method of adjusting?

SONGEZO ZIBI: I might recommend that the ones within the enterprise sector – and now not essentially those that head up the chambers however the captains of commercial – like Fani Titi at Investec and your Sim Tshabalalas and so forth – wish to on their very own come to a decision that they’re going to formulate at the side of their companions –

JEREMY MAGGS: It’s most definitely about 50 folks, am I proper?

SONGEZO ZIBI: There are possibly about 50 folks. Let’s say the highest 40-plus different privately owned vital enterprises. They wish to say we’re achieving out to organise labour past Cosatu,  we’re achieving out to civil society organisations to mention what the deal we select to have is, and what we consider goes to result in a components that recovers this economic system and presentations financial justice and so forth. We’re going to do that on our personal with out being convened by means of the ANC or govt.

That’s necessary as a result of… that deal or that wide settlement that comes out of that’s not prone to the ANC shedding energy.

It allows actors within the economic system to interact with no matter political constructions emerge at the foundation of very transparent rules, very transparent priorities, and so they’re ready to extract on behalf of the economic system and society a transparent pound of political flesh.

JEREMY MAGGS: However an way like this is fraught with possibility, as a result of certainly the ANC will cry betrayal, the EFF will play the white-monopoly capital card, the Democratic Alliance will really feel utterly marginalised. In order that comes with possibility, doesn’t it?

SONGEZO ZIBI: Tricky, tricky. What are they going to do? Close down the ones corporations. What are they going to do? Tricky. I stated we wish to be daring. We wish to develop some, you recognize –

JEREMY MAGGS: I feel I do know the a part of the anatomy that you just’re on the lookout for.

Remaining query. You’re a tender guy, however I put this query to all of my visitors. While you’re speaking for your youngsters and even your grandchildren, let’s say in 20/25 years’ time, what is going to you inform them concerning the time that you’re dwelling in at the moment? However extra importantly, what’s their position in wearing the baton?

SONGEZO ZIBI: I’m hoping to inform them that I controlled to not lose the baton, and that baton is to be had for them to take ahead. At the moment we’re liable to shedding the baton first of all as a result of we don’t wish to be daring and to find each and every different and create the suggestions. That’s what I’m petrified of.

JEREMY MAGGS: In that very same essay that I referred to, which is at the Day by day Maverick if I’m really not incorrect, Songezo Zibi additionally says – and I quote – ‘The necessary factor is to be clearheaded concerning the not unusual threats we are facing, our proceeding priorities and to search out tactics for patriotic South Africans to paintings in combination’.

Songeza, thanks such a lot for becoming a member of us on Repair SA. My identify’s Jeremy Maggs. Thanks for listening.

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