The topical issue of inclusive economic growth was under the spotlight at the Business Breakfast hosted by the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) in partnership with Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN).

A discussion, facilitated by SABC journalist Ms Minoshni Pillay, involved panelists the Director of Crescendo Management Services, Mr Moses Tembe; IBV International Vaults founder and CEO, Mr Ashok Sewnarain, and AF Lead’s Managing Director, Dr Emil Nothnagel, debating issues of South Africa’s stagnating growth, corruption in leadership and its impact on the country’s economy, the National Development Plan and state capture.

Tembe said it was imperative for the country’s leadership to develop a culture of accountability and responsibility. ‘As a country we are dealing with the Guptas, Eskom, SAA and people killing each other for no reason meaning our leaders are busy investigating those issues instead of focusing and discussing economic growth and how to take the country forward.’

He said the culture of corruption had to change and only the country’s leadership could bring about that change.

‘The alleged Eskom spending in numbers alone would have been enough to wipe out all of the shacks in South Africa. This would not have only solved the housing issue but would have created employment. We have to get the culture of leadership right from the top so that we can get service delivery right at the bottom,’ said Tembe.

Sewnarain said leadership was about having the courage to do what is right and put the needs of the people ahead of personal gain.

‘As an entrepreneur and a businessman I have to ensure that my staff, supply chain, customers and the community is kept happy because without these people I am nothing. Inclusive growth means united, economic means business, growth means success, therefore inclusive growth needs strong determined leadership to succeed, he said.

Nothnagel stated that South Africa has great policies on a national level but the problem is the implementation on a local level.

‘As a community member, I must stop looking at the municipality and asking them what they will do for me and ask myself what I can do to help the municipality benefit my community. From management to leadership, it is about time we put people in charge that can lead and understand the power that our vote gives us and elect people that will represent us and our communities to the best of their ability,’ he said.

The discussion was followed by a question and answer segment where the audience raised issues of how come there is no regulatory body for leadership in government, the role of the private sector in opening up the economy and gender equality in the work place. Most comments from the audience praised the panel for their insights and called for more events of this nature.

GSB&L’s Academic Leader Dr McDonald Kanyangale said that as a business school creating platforms where issues of national interest could be discussed and debated, such events were important for the School, which looked forward to hosting similar functions in future.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo