The Soweto Youth Uprising witnessed fatal and non-fatal injuries of over a thousand High School Learners in protest the enforcement of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in South African schools across the country. The Youth of 1976 collaborated in the quest for freedom of communication and adequate access to education to be taught in the globally recognised language of business (English). Freedom of Speech, Expression and Communication would later be an integral pillar of the Freedom acquired in the new democracy. Access to Free Basic Education was also rolled out nationally for all from 1994. However, the Youth of 2016 to date have in the same vein embarked in the fight to access Free Higher Education and to see the decolonisation of Tertiary curricula in the form of the leaderless #FeesMustFall Movement. 

As the BMF Student Chapter, we would like to take the opportunity to honour the fallen young leaders from what was meant to be a peaceful demonstration. We stand in solidarity with the youth of 1976 on this historic day which will forever be recorded in the history books of our nation.  As the born-free youth and BMF Student Chapter, we encourage the current youth to participate in activities happening across the nation in commemoration of June 16.  

The youth of the day needs to introspect about the Socio-Economic challenges coupled with Political and Leadership nuances faced by all South Africans, especially for black and poor citizens. We need to ask ourselves, “Where is South Africa going” and more importantly “Where do we want to take South Africa” as the power for self-emancipation lies in the hands of the Youth.

In the brave spirit of the ’76 Youth, the BMFsc wishes all members of society a joyful day ahead with positive reflections about the past, present and future.

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The Black Management Forum (BMF) calls for black executives not to apply for senior appointments within state-owned companies (SOCs), including those of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), until the government has developed a clear governance framework for these critical public institutions. This governance framework must also outline the role of the minister of public enterprises, who has clearly overreached his authority and behaved like a de facto CEO within some SOCs.

The BMF is shocked by the resignations of two seasoned black executives – Mr. Phakamani Hadebe and Mr. Vuyani Jarana from Eskom and South African Airways (SAA) respectively - within the past two weeks. “There was a time when some SOCs were reasonably well-run under the leadership of black people such as Reuel Khoza, Thulani Gcabashe and Peter Matlare. However, SOCs have become a slaughterhouse for skilled black leaders and executives whose reputations get tarnished because of factors that are beyond their control” says BMF President Andile Nomlala.

“ It has come to our attention that other black leaders and executives are on the verge of also submitting their resignation letters due to intolerable levels of political interference and the failure of the government to fully support them and address the capital structures and funding models of their struggling SOCs. We would like to have an urgent meeting with the government to address these issues” continues Nomlala.

The BMF believes that there are six issues that the government must urgently address:

  1. Resolve the unique governance conundrum within SOCs where boards and executives must report to multiple government departments with changing ministers who frequently work in silos and do not agree with each other. There must be clarity about the roles of the shareholder, the line Ministers, the board and executive management. For example, at Eskom there are two task teams (the presidential sustainability and ministerial tasks teams) and three ministries (National Treasury, Public Enterprises as well as Minerals and Energy) that all have overlapping areas of responsibility for company policy, which can send confusing signals to the board and executives.
  2. Clarify the role of the Minister of Public Enterprises in turning around SOCs. The government cannot run SOCs it can only supervise them. We note the public humiliation of Hadebe, when the Minister of Public Enterprises reversed an executive decision to freeze salaries.
  3. Identify governance and legislative impediments that curb the agility of SOCs by slowing down decision-making processes. This prevents them from responding to the ever-changing market conditions. Examples include the multiple reporting lines mentioned above and laws such as the Public Finance Management Act. There is a need to streamline the governance and legislative framework to delegate authority to boards and executive management. This is critical, especially in the crisis that many SOCs are in at the moment.

The BMF would like to take this opportunity to applaud the appointment of the new cabinet of the Republic of South Africa.

“The cabinet, as appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, is a steady start towards anchoring an efficient, effective and ethical public service which should in turn ensure overall transformation, inclusive economic development and address the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment “, says BMF President Andile Nomlala.

The cabinet appointment is the first step towards ensuring our quest towards an inclusive, diverse and efficient government. As argued by Nomlala, “these are the critical ingredients for good governance and this cabinet is a reflection of where we want to be headed as South Africa.” The appointment of the new cabinet by President Ramaphosa has started the restoration of much needed hope amongst South Africans. We need a government that will strive towards making South Africa better for all.

The BMF is encouraged by Ramaphosa’s assurance that he is committed to the continued reorientation of government, which essentially means smaller cabinets from now on and the scaling down of Ministers from 36 to 28 is indeed a true reflection of the commitment and it shows that President Ramaphosa takes the reduction of government expenditure seriously.   

“We as the BMF are also pleased that 50 percent of the executive are now women, which is a first for South Africa. The notable representation of women and significant number of young ministers in the cabinet is in line with not only the BMF’s principles on gender equity, but also South Africa’s vision of creating a socially, economically and politically equal society for men and women, young and old. We also commend the female representation of females in the executive which is far stronger than in many other countries”, Nomlala continues.

 “The BMF will continue to avail itself in the creation of the ‘new dawn’ that truly encompasses Batho Pele principles. We acknowledge that government alone cannot ensure a people-oriented government that truly serves its people. We are keen to work with the new cabinet, particularly the Ministries of Economic Development, Higher Education and Training combined with Science and Technology, and Small Business Development, Nomlala concludes”.  

The BMF would like to wish all the newly appointed Ministers great success in their future.

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The Black Management Forum (BMF) is pleased with Itumeleng Mothibeli’s recent appointment as the Managing Director of Vukile Property Fund South Africa.   

Mothibeli has demonstrated resilience and perseverance throughout his career. These are qualities which many young professionals should be guided by. It comes as no surprise to the BMF that Mothibeli exemplifies these qualities as he is one of the founding members of BMF Young Professional (BMF YP) which plays a critical and pivotal role in grooming and refining our country’s future leaders, visionaries and change agents. Mothibeli career trajectory is a true reflection of this.  

“The BMF is particularly pleased with Mothibeli’s appointment because he has come of age in the BMF Young Professionals fold. He rose through the leadership ranks of the BMF Young Professionals, particularly in the Western Cape where he served as an executive committee member of the BMF Young Professionals “commented Nomlala.  

We believe, with his years of experience in the industry and unquestionable knowledge of the organisation, he will be able to perform in his new role and responsibilities.  

“We wish Mothibeli every success in an industry that is largely white dominated and commend Vukile Property Fund South Africa for promoting black talent and creating space for black talent to thrive.” concluded Nomlala.  

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Johannesburg, South Africa: 24 May 2019

The Black Management Forum (BMF) joins the business community in heartily congratulating Ms. Shirley Machaba on her appointment as the first African woman Chief Executive Officer of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Southern Africa. Ms Machaba’s extensive background and experience in the industry and more so within PwC positioned her as the best choice for the role.

The BMF applauds Ms Machaba on this achievement and acknowledges her role in advancing the values and ethos of the BMF and we are proud to be associated with her. This is a reassuring step forward for South Africa’s transformation agenda and is a significant bolster for increased black women participation in the executive circles of corporate South Africa. It is also a positive display of the availability of qualified black executives who are competent to run high asset value companies.

The BMF urges all South African corporates to continue taking such positive action regarding transformation, and particularly gender transformation.

As the BMF, we are fully supportive of Ms Machaba and believe that with her sterling track record she will continue to excel in this new position and continue to champion for transformation in her new role.