Economic Inequality

8 November 2016

Today was one of those days… a day when you think you know what’s going to unfold, where the state of the nation is obvious and where you have a good sense of what will be revealed.

Today I was blessed with the opportunity to hear FinScope’s 2016 results by The FinMark Trust. We heard from Alfred Ramosedi, Group Executive at African Bank; Amien Ahmed, Director of Public Affairs at TNS; and Cas Coovadia, MD of the Banking Association of South Africa. An impressive line up of speakers with great insights being revealed and a closing that left me deeply reflective.

The insights shared force us to look deeply at not only what we do – but why we do it – bringing together the head and the heart quite pointedly.

The statistics and numbers were palpable, but the shock to the system were the numbers and insights that further validate what Adam Habib recently told me. South Africa’s biggest challenge is that we have not done enough to close the equality gap – South African’s need to reinvest more in one another to positively impact the future of our country.

I remember being a teenager and seeing my parents buy and furnish our domestic worker’s RDP house so she would have a home for her two children. They helped her leave an abusive marriage and educated her children so that they would one day be gainfully employed. Today they have a life very different from their mother because they had two South Africans’ determined to close the equality gap.

It took me a long time to get to this point in my life where i realise that I am not doing enough. I need to do more, give more and invest more – so that my children will have a great future and live in a prosperous country!

I wonder if other South African’s get it?! Do you get what we need to do? Do you get that the future is bleak if you don’t invest in someone?

We have a severe and serious equality gap and the long term impacts will be dire to our country. It’s why we have #feesmustfall and a number of other challenges that exist in our country and economy. We have not focused long and hard enough to close the ever increasing equality gap and the ones that are suffering the most are young people between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. Their future looks bleak, scary to be quite honest. We don’t have a choice – we have to do something differently today and tomorrow. By not doing anything – you also make a choice.

This segment of our population, the future of our country, is a ticking time bomb. There is a massive crisis coming. Do we as South Africans appreciate and understand what the fight and the struggle is really about? We sit in the comfort of our homes complaining about the destruction, but do we understand quite deeply what young people are fighting for? They are fighting for a chance, for an opportunity to have a great and prosperous future.

It’s one of the reasons why my uncle Roger Jardine, CEO of Primedia recently rallied the support of other senior leaders so that a statement could be made. “The issue is much bigger than any political party…It has to be that your country comes before any party that you belong to. South Africans are coming together to say this is not the contract we signed in 1994.”

Cas Coovadia also joined the march last week Wednesday and shared with the audience today how senior leaders, now more than ever – have a voice – a voice that represents our past, present – but more importantly the future of our country. Influencers and CEOs recognise they have a role to play, a voice that needs to be heard.

Today was a day that everyone else needed to recognise that they too have a role to play. You don’t need to be a CEO to have a voice. You don’t need to be a CEO to make a difference and an impact.

We can no longer just ignore the state of the nation. If you’re a parent with a young child – best you get ready for battle! The battle is to close the gap of inequality through innovation, collaboration and partnership – time to leave the egos and personal issues aside and serve the country so you can serve and create a future your kids will prosper in and leave behind a legacy you can be proud of.

“It’s not business as usual! If we are going to do business in 20 years time, we have to do something different. We have very angry people – the results we have seen today explain why they’re angry. It confirms what we see in business. The question we need to ask ourselves is this – are we improving people’s lives?”

A great closing by Cas Coovadia that should provoke more than thought, hopefully action too!

I’m proud to come from a family where the legacy you leave behind matters! What are you doing to improve people’s lives?

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Primedia CEO Roger Jardine, Nedbank CEO Mike Brown and Investec CEO Stephen Koseff about why they will be there. Listen to the three CEOs in the audio on the link above.