What does the future look like?

That’s a loaded question, but it could look a lot like this issue: Good old South African work ethic to do the best that you can when applying yourself to your particular job.

South Africans breathed a collective sigh of relief early in October when former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene resigned from his position as finance minister under what were sensational circumstances. While his subsequent apology for his actions does not remedy the mutual part he played in state capture, he proved he had a conscience when it came to his role in the collateral damage caused by the governance of Jacob Zuma and his allies.

Nene is not a bad person; one could say he just got mixed up with the wrong crowd and succumbed to a form of strong-armed governance. We don’t know the stress and political pressure he faced when he was working for his former employer, Zuma. But whichever way you choose to look at the way he left his position under the employ of president Cyril Ramaphosa, Nene’s successor indicates further Ramaphosa’s commitment to investment in our country, and more importantly, his will to lead from the top down.

Tito Mboweni has vast economic experience and a lesser appointment to the position of new finance minister would have further compacted an already hostile economic climate in South Africa.

Amid the doom and gloom of rising international oil prices and subsequent fuel price increases, which lead to higher rates of inflation and the related negatives associated with this (to mention but a few of the issues South Africans currently face), the president has appointed a man with a sound work ethic. His local and international networks for tapping into investor funding and investor confidence must surely be immense.

While we can’t say that this was part of Ramaphosa’s greater plan for economic growth for the country, his appointment of Mboweni signals that he has the power to influence people that are prepared to step up to the plate and work toward a better South Africa. Even if that means that they have to come out from semi-retirement to help – it’s a commitment on Mboweni’s part to work hard.

Much the same can be said for the Symbiotic relationship between two Cape Town-based businesses – LRS Implants and Executive Engineering ¬– each featured in their own right in this issue. One is one of South Africa’s leading companies providing a full suite of solutions for both upper and lower limb salvage scenarios using the latest advancements in 3D printing technologies, and the other is broadening their manufacturing capabilities by investing heavily in their own research and development and production equipment.

Of course this is just a small taste of industry 4.0 and smart factory related opportunities available to South Africans. If they are prepared to put their heads down and work for them that is.

In this issue we also celebrate what marks a significant 100-year anniversary in the history of a company that continues to manufacture and supply a comprehensive range of cutting tools for both local and international markets. Not many companies can say that they have been around for 100 years. Even fewer can say so in South Africa.

The ‘Things to do in Kameeldrift East’ list might not be very long – but the list of products manufactured by Bepicon Steel Construction for the cell phone tower industry is. Like it or not, we live in the information age and the spectrum of interconnectivity is endless. Based outside of Pretoria, Danie Botha and his accomplishments in the metal fabricating industry is yet another example of what happens when you put in the long hours of dedication it takes to make something out of nothing.

There are broad factors at play when it comes to how a country’s macroeconomic environment functions, and while we all want to see various aspects of our country change under the leadership of the new president, we must remember to be patient too. We as a collective must keep moving forward and keep sticking to that special something South Africans are known for worldwide – our work ethic. Who knows what opportunities may arise out of such a collective mindset in the future. We’re not Singapore, but even Singaporean companies like to employ South Africans.

Damon Crawford
Online Editor