FROM THE PEN
The time of Nelson Mandela’s release from Victor Verster prison in 1990, Mac Maharaj said that our released hero looked “quite somber, not celebratory, not pumping the air and jumping about like a victorious boxer, but walking very sternly, and I think I saw a sense of bewilderment in him”. Many social commentators have since suggested that his somber and bewildered look was reflective of Madiba’s humility at the awesome occasion of freedom staring us all in the face. And how true this was of his style of leadership and the changes it brought about.
Madiba also added of that day in his book ‘long walk to freedom’ that “It was vital for me to show my people and the government that I was unbroken and unbowed, and that the struggle was not over for me but beginning anew in a different form”.
This too is so true of what we’ve experienced as a nation and particularly within the business world. Economic reforms, new domestic policies such as BEE, our sustainability footprint and the issues pertaining to the recent economic downturn has meant that South Africans and businesses alike begin anew to reshape, better understand and participate in the collective efforts to maintain a sustainable future.
And our profession, despite our radical transformation initiatives and targets our commitment to ethical business practices, and the maintenance of professional standards, is not immune to the need to start again. The predicted shortage of CAs(SA), the immense challenges facing us as a result of the recent global economic meltdown and the ongoing raging debates around BEE, mean that we need to constantly be thinking different and acting accordingly.
So, in this issue, we reflect the changes and challenges the profession faces, spark a new challenge for BEE to the world of small business, and we reflect on strategising around sustainability.
No one would have guessed that South African politics and business would undergo such radical changes and challenges as we still are transitioning into this new democracy. We celebrated 20 years fo Madiba’s freedom earlier this year, and 16 years of democratic change in government this month, and while we’re nowhere near absolute change, we certainly, as a profession anyway, have been at the forefront of starting anew.