South Africa has experienced terrible crimes against humanity over the years and somehow survived them. The idea of this letter is not to discuss who murdered who first, or who took whose country – if Africa is indeed the cradle of humankind then it belongs to everybody.
My purpose is to discuss how we can get South Africa back on the track that Nelson Mandela placed us on. The current government policies have driven us to the brink of bankruptcy. Paradoxically, we expend much effort to get international companies to invest in South Africa. Then, once they arrive, we enforce policies on them that demand management by individuals who are not skilled to handle the responsibility. Not to mention the rampant corruption that has ravaged our economy.
We mistrust these corporates and think that they are here only to take advantage of our situation, forgetting that we invited them in the first place. Do we even know how many job opportunities these companies create?
On the other hand, entrepreneurs start businesses in South Africa but as soon as the revenue reaches a certain level, government policies kick in and they have to hand a portion of their business over to others, who often take advantage and abuse the situation. These entrepreneurs are therefore forced to move their companies offshore and leave only a small local office in South Africa.
At the SAIMC, we have multinationals among our members, and, like all of us, it is tragic to see them treated like second-class citizens while being taxed to the maximum. It almost seems like the MD’s of these companies are no longer viewed as having critical skills, as if anyone can just step in and run a multinational company.
New technologies are making it more and more feasible to create businesses locally and then move them to where new companies are welcomed, not subjected to the abuse by employees, legislation and taxes. We could have had some of the wealthiest entrepreneurs remain in this country, if we had simply realised their value.
We should start respecting the hands that feed us today, and ignoring those that make empty promises about how they intend to feed us some day. Let’s start looking out for these multinationals, they are not our enemy, they are part of the solution to our problems.
I would like to thank Annemarie van Coller for the wonderful work she has done as president of the SAIMC. She was thrown into the deep end – and can she swim! She has also agreed to serve on the new board of the SAIMC and for that we are truly grateful as the new addition to her family, Johan van Coller, will demand much of her time. Thanks also to Oratile Sematle and chairman of the board, Vinesh Maharaj, both of whom are well known in SAIMC circles. I will be joining them on the board as public officer and CEO.
I would also like to thank the new executive committee team members for making themselves available to serve the SAIMC this year:
Branch general managers:
Wade Shuttleworth (Cape Town),
Hennie Prinsloo (Durban),
Ann de Beer (Johannesburg),
Mervyn Govender (Richards Bay),
Mervyn Bartle (Rustenburg),
Johan Maritz (Secunda), Mark Taylor (Tshwane), Juaandré Heyneke (Vaal),
Tresford Siame (Zambia).
Marc Van Pelt (manager new technologies/4IR), Dirk van der Walt (manager standards),
Frikkie Streicher (supplier council),
Prof Ben van Wyk (end user council: factory automation),
Marita van den Bergh (end user council process automation).
Jane van der Spuy (manager public relations).
Education and training:
Prof Ralph Naidoo (education council).
Yours in automation,
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