Nedbank Group Chairman’s Dinner

By Dr Reuel J. Khoza (Chairman of Nedbank Group Limited, Aka Capital and author of several books including Let Africa Lead and Attuned Leadership) to “Nedbank Group Technology Leaders”  I  22 October 2013

Distinguished guests, Ministers, Executives and Directors, Public Sector representatives, colleagues, friends.

On behalf of Nedbank Group, I would like to warmly welcome you all here tonight and thank you for your willingness to participate in the open conversation and idea sharing between the public and private sector that is so vital to the sustainable success, growth and development of the South African political economy.

The vision of Nedbank Group is to be Africa's most admired and cherished bank by its employees, stakeholders, regulators and clients. For us, being the most respected bank on the continent begins, quite simply with getting to know those people and organisations who share our sincere desire to see South Africa become all that we know it can, and should be. Your presence here today tells me that you are some of those people and I am very excited about this opportunity to make friends, share visions, goals, objectives and ideas, and discuss the way forward for our country and the roles we all have to play in enabling our beloved country and its incredible people to achieve their full potential.

Since today’s programme includes a panel discussion in which I am privileged to take part, I will refrain from being tedious with a long opening address. What I would like to do, however, is create the backdrop against which today’s discussion will take place.

As a responsible and committed corporate citizen of South Africa, Nedbank Group believes that it not only has a clear responsibility to contribute to the growth and development of the country in which it operates, but also that it has the potential to bring significant tangible value to South Africa’s future through its vast experience and expertise and its strong desire to partner with national, provincial and local government in realizing the vision and goals of the National Development Plan. We appreciate the NDP as an earnest expression of our national vision, cardinal purpose and an evolving programme of action.

With our country in the clutches of slow economic growth and beset by twin deficits on its budget and current account, investor confidence is crucial to its future trajectory.

This desire to contribute and collaborate has been formalized through our group’s Long-Term Vision 2030 and our Fair Share 2030 initiative. Our Long-term Vision 2030 is not just a vision for our bank, but rather for our country. In short, Nedbank Group has a vision of a prosperous South Africa that has successfully addressed its major social, environmental and economic challenges by the year 2030. A South Africa that has realised the objectives set out in the NDP and is truly environmentally, socially, economically and culturally sustainable in every way.

For us, this vision will have been achieved if, by the year 2030, we all enjoy living and working in a South Africa that:

  • has significantly reduced the negative impact of climate change through a focus on carbon reduction;
  • has sustainable and manageable levels of water consumption and offers all its citizens access to affordable clean water and sanitation;
  • can offer its labour force optimal employment opportunities;
  • offers access to all energy services needed to underpin a flourishing society;
  • has sufficient levels of savings and investment to support growth and development;
  • is reaping the rewards of its investments in education; and
  • offers all its citizens adequate and affordable health care.

We know, through our existing strong relationships with many government departments and agencies across the country, that we are not alone in this vision. It is one that is shared by very many in both the public and private sectors.

But merely sharing a vision will not be enough to ensure its realization. We need to come together and work towards it in a unified manner. And it is my hope that this gathering will be another step towards such unity of purpose and shared responsibility for the future of our country.

To this end, I would like to get us all warmed up for today’s discussions by making a few statements and posing a few questions. My intention, in doing so, is by no means to try and steer the panel discussion in any particular direction. I merely hope that they will spark some thoughts or prompt some productive discussion.

  • South Africa is a land filled with immense opportunity. But it needs to move onto a higher growth and development trajectory and to do that requires commitment, relationship and partnerships among all its stakeholders. We need to be asking ourselves, “what does it mean for me to be doing my Fair Share in shaping my country’s future?”
  • For the NDP to succeed, every economic sector in the country needs its own clearly defined strategy which resonates with the NDP. For Nedbank, as a key roleplayer in the financial services sector, we believe this sector strategy should facilitate investment, drive growth and create jobs. How can public and private sectors collaborate to achieve this?
  • Are there ways in which the business community can contribute to the capacitation of local governments to promote and enable these authorities to better contribute to the outcomes of the NDP?
  • How can the private sector help address the growing issue of youth marginalization in South Africa?
  • What are the ways in which government and the private sector might work together to promote the interests of South Africa in Africa and globally?
  • Are there ways in which we can all work together to enhance the benefits of our individual social investments and social sustainability efforts for the benefit of all South Africans?
  • How can we, as concerned South Africans, use open and honest dialogue for improving labour relations and closing the levels of inequality that persist across our country?

Ladies and gentlemen, I realise that these are all big questions. And I also acknowledge that there are many more such questions that we could, and should be debating in forums such as this. But I also know that the key to unlocking our country’s bright future is dialogue. And for that reason I once again express my sincere appreciation for your presence here tonight.

I am excited about this opportunity simply to break bread together and to talk to one another - as colleagues, compatriots, concerned citizens, passionate South Africans, and friends. I hope that this is the first of many such gatherings to come in the future.

Thank you.