Sep 07, 2012
Johannesburg|Port|Port Elizabeth|Africa|Building|MTN|Naspers|Old Mutual|Sappi|Standard Bank|Toyota|Africa|Europe|South Africa|Gordon Institute Of Business Science|Energy|Entrepreneurial Energy|Logistics|Rhine River|Bill Lynch|Infrastructure|John Paterson|Karel Pienaar|Nick Binedell|Operations|Maryland
© Reuse this
Without question, South African companies, together with government and the union movement, will need to engage in deep introspection about their roles in a society still afflicted by unsustainable and primarily race-based inequality.
However, all of us also need to retain a sense of perspective and we cannot afford to allow this period of introspection to descend into a cycle of depression-induced inactivity.
And if you are looking for an antidote to some of the corporate loathing and self-loathing going around, you could do worse than to dip into Going Global, a new 385-page book of essays compiled by Moky Makura in association with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs).
Subtitled Insights from South Africa’s top companies, the book tracks the development of 12 South African firms that have not only succeeded domestically, but have also managed to expand regionally and internationally.
It tells of how South African Breweries has evolved from a company producing 50 000 barrels of beer during its first year of operations after its founding in 1995 into the world’s second-largest brewer, which produced 218-million hectolitres and 200 brands of beer in 2011.
Then there is Imperial, which, largely through the entrepreneurial energy and drive of the late Bill Lynch, has expanded from being a small Johannesburg-based Toyota dealership into a diversified enterprise with operations in 18 countries. Its logistics business handles 100- million tons of cargo a year and is one of Europe’s leading inland shipping companies and a major force on the key Rhine river trade route.
Standard Bank, which is 150 years old this year, was initially built by Scottish-schoolmaster-turned-businessperson John Paterson from a beachhead in Port Elizabeth. But it now operates in 30 ountries (some of which it plans to exit) and has a market capitalisation of around R150-billion.
The book also reflects on the breathless (and currently controversial) expansion of African cellular giant MTN, whose first MD, Karel Pienaar, forecast, in a memo to staff, that MTN would have 350 000 sub- scribers by 2010. The prediction was off by hundreds of millions, with MTN having clocked up 129-million subscribers by that date – the memo, which was drafted in the mid-1990s, has been framed.
Similar tales of adventurous expansion are told about Anglo American, Barloworld, Dimension Data, Hollard, Naspers, Old Mutual, Sappi and Tiger Brands.
In the foreword, Gibs dean Professor Nick Binedell even goes so far as to argue that “few countries with an economy of our size (approximately $300-billlion) have incubated and developed global champions the way South Africa has”. He makes the further point that the ultimate contemporary South African challenge is “business creation”, without which it will be impossible to deal with the triple scourge of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Published in the current climate, the book also surely raises the question as to whether enough is being done to set in place the framework for the emergence of the next generation of entrepreneurs – individuals who not only think and dream big, but who are empowered through society’s social and economic institutions and infrastructure to realise that ambition.
Edited by: Terence Creamer© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Creamer Media Editor
Other Editorial Insight News
Recent Research Reports
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
This Week's Magazine
The BMW Group will invest R6-billion at BMW Group South Africa’s (BMW SA’s) Rosslyn plant to produce the next-generation X3 sports-activity vehicle (SAV) for the local and export markets. Rosslyn will continue production of the current 3 Series through its lifecycle,...
The lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions on the part of contractors remains a significant hurdle to tackling South Africa’s service delivery challenges, delegates heard at the Consulting Engineers South Africa Infrastructure Indaba, on...
City of Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mondli Gungubele earlier this month officially named the city’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Harambee.
About 58% of unstructured data stored by companies is dark data, which means that the value or regulatory importance of the data has not been determined. Subsequently, most of the stored data add costs, rather than increasing revenue or reduce regulatory risks, says...
Effective logistics, import/export and manufacturing consulting services require detailed industry knowledge and experience, but can add significant value to these industries by providing expert advice on various technical elements in their value chains, says...