OppiKoppi cancellation: hard knock on SMEs

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This week’s OppiKoppi cancellation is yet another example of how crime affects South Africans, particularly, small businesses.

Matchbox LIVE CEO Theresho Selesho, organiser of OppiKoppi announced in a statement on Wednesday that the 25th OppiKoppi music festival in the mining district of Northam, Limpopo, will not take place this year – after the 2018 event was ruined by criminals targeting attendees.

Having being expected to take place between August 8 and 10, Business Day says that the cancellation brings forth disappointment for SMEs who worked in preparing goods, designers, promoters and other creatives who had been part of the festival with the hope of strengthening their brand at the festival this year.

Hezron Louw of Sumting Fresh told Business Live that his business will feel the impact of the cancellation‚ as the festival provided a major boost to annual turnover. “There are people who sell firewood‚ others that sell liquor and meat. Even supermarkets [will feel the pinch] because people travelling from outside don’t usually stock up on what they will need until they get to the area‚” he said.

There will be a negative impact on local job creation and employment because “we also employ local people from Northam for the festival‚ train them on food safety and get them on board to work with us. We have had regulars who have worked with us for three to four years, but this year there will be no work for them‚” said Louw.

Braai Guru, a new and authentic enterprising meat company in Randburg, also told Business Day that they had hoped to take their business to a festival in the Netherlands in 2020 and say that “attending the festival was not just about the immediate financial gain but was used as a “springboard” to get access to international festivals.”

Selesho said: “By taking a gap year, we are giving ourselves the breathing room to redesign the festival and bring in the necessary changes without impacting the festival-goer by increasing ticket prices.”

Times Live featured posts from the event’s Facebook page of people’s safety concerns:

  • “I had a great time last year but the theft was out of control, which is making me sceptical of ever going again.” – March 24
  • “Too much theft going on. I can’t fully relax knowing I have to be alert at all times. Looks like the best of ‘Koppi is in the past with these tsotsis flocking after all the big festivals.” – January 14
  • “It’s a thief paradise, guys. Used to be well managed, now they steal everything. Won’t recommend it to anyone with anything of value. They steal everything, from food and cooking equipment to smashing windows, taking everything in your car.” – November 2018

“We’ve had some crime issues in the past, but this year (2018) was the worst,” Selesho said. Speaking to News24, he promised that the festival would return in 2020.

To curb the increasing crime rate and safety of the festival goers, Selesho says that “we are even investigating bringing the festival to a venue closer to a major city, to enable day tickets, less travelling and other options for the attendees.

Big Business Must Step Up – Mohale

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Business Leadership SA’s CEO, Bonang Mohale says Corporate South Africa should take the lead in bringing about sustainability in the country through what he terms, Shared Value. He made this comment at Konrad Adenauer Foundation over the weekend.

He was quoted in Fin24, Mohale saying, “Gone are the days when business looked at government, saying government must create policy stability and an environment in which business can thrive. There must be wins for shareholders and the broader stakeholder community – including labour.”

Departing from the common mantra from captains of industry, his constituency, Mohale urges big business to “pay decent wages and make goods and services that the labour force can afford.”

He says the corporate sector’s ability to deliver on its promises will improve its standing in society and will translate into a “social licence to operate” in SA. He also implores big business to protect the environment and not harm communities in which they operate.

The corporate sector’s share of voice in the contestations around the direction the country should take depends on its credibility, adding that it was also crucial for captains of industry to take education seriously, instead of criticising from the side lines:  “The surest way to transcend social class if you are born in Alexandra – 4km from the riches of Sandton – is education.”

“SA is the only African country which became free and did not improve the quality of education. A study says 80% of grade 4 learners cannot read with comprehension. So, business must take a leadership role in this regard,” Mohale adds.

Reputed for periodically stirring the hornet’s nest, Mohale ventured into the hot potato issue of land reform, inviting the BLSA members not to sit on the touch line, but actually take the lead to resolve the matter, without surrendering the opposition to the much talked about “expropriation without compensation”. The Constitution already makes provision for a rapid land reform programme in SA. “It is like having the keys to a house in your pocket, but you say ‘no, I will still kick down the door just to show I can’,” arguing that if there was an Olympic sport for development plans, SA would win hands down. “They just do not get implemented.”

Lastly Mohale implores corporates not to be despondent about the current tough economic conditions, but rather “we have to tighten our belts to pull ourselves out of the crisis”.

“Business must lead to create more jobs. There is no glory in being one of 17 million people having to queue for social security. We need a huge, bulging middle class to sustain our economy. Our middle class is not sufficient for that currently,” he concludes.

Property investment inclusive to everyone

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Newly appointed chairman of the Property Sector Charter Council (PSCC) plans to improve transformation within the property sector and disregard misleading misconceptions.

Appointed on 26 March 2019, Dr Sedise Moseneke, chairman of the PSCC said: “Despite perceptions to the contrary, much is being achieved by business and government transformation initiatives in the industry. Building on this with industry-based programmes will assist entrench transformation and make it systemic in the property sector,” he told Bizcommunity.

Succeeding outgoing PSCC chairperson Saul Gumede, Moseneke says “It is a true honour to be elected and to have the confidence of the property sector. It is a great privilege to follow property stalwart Saul Gumede, who has excelled as chairman of the PSCC for the past decade. I am proud to serve and give back to an industry that has looked after me, and look forward to working with the council to continue to transform the property sector”.

Moseneke also heads the SA REIT Association’s Property Sector Charter Committee and is Executive Director at JSE-listed SA REIT Vukile Property Fund, non-executive chairman of Encha Property Services and a past president of the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA), writes BizNis Africa.

SA REIT Marketing Committee Chairman, Andrea Taverna-Turisan notes that “Dr Moseneke’s service to the property sector and the country as a whole is another example of the SA REIT sector’s longstanding commitment to working with all stakeholders to drive transformation forward.”

“We are pleased to confirm Dr Moseneke as Chairman of PSCC. He is a passionate and vocal proponent of transformation in South Africa and the property sector, and the ideal candidate to take the PSCC into the future,” adds Portia Tau-Sekati, CEO of the Property Sector Charter Council.

To achieve this, alongside other council objectives, Engineering News writes that Moseneke saw scope for greater collaboration between the SA REIT sector, other private property stakeholders and the government at all levels.

“This collaboration should always be defined by good governance and ethics. We must be transparent and corruption-free in all interactions between the sector, government and all its departments,” says Moseneke.

According to the South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners, transformation can be implemented in the property industry to benefit the growth of the economy and be inclusive of economic participation of groups previously marginalised by our apartheid past.

Maintaining an appreciation of the spirit and intention of the Codes of Good Practice embedded in the B-BBEE Act, Moseneke notes that the answer lies with enterprise development. However, he feels that the codes stand no chance in enacting transformation if the chief focus continues to be change in ownership patterns.

Moseneke believes that the push for ownership has limited chances of success because to be a property owner deep pockets are needed, making it hard for many black entrants. “At ownership level very few people get in and even if they do become property owners, their emergence doesn’t create any jobs. Job creation lies in your small business entities being able to work with your more established companies,” he argues.

In his opinion, the whole exercise will, in the future, result in a strong chain of corporates helping others – even beneficiaries of enterprise development will, once grown and more financially stable, help other smaller enterprises. Therefore, “you will end up with a chain of companies that help one another to get into the mainstream economy,” Moseneke says.

The PSCC will continue to issue its research that shows the impact the sector has on the economy.