On 19 March 2019 the prestigious CEO roundtable event was hosted by your IIG in collaboration with the IISA. Carla Jordan, your IIG president welcomed Nico Conradie from Munich Re, our esteemed sponsor for this event, Thokozile Mahlangu, CEO IISA and Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership SA and all our distinguished guests. Carla emphasized that this year the IIG will be driving the message that insurance should be a career of choice, not chance. Our theme for the year being Pride, Purpose and Passion underpins this, and she invited all the delegates to send one or more of their staff members on the IIG International tour to the USA.
Carla Jordan introduced, Nico Conradie, CEO of Munich Re to the audience. He welcomed all the delegates and asked some thought-provoking questions that reminded the audience that all learning experiences in the insurance industry was not necessarily only on the technical elements of insurance or reinsurance. Increasingly, we are also the custodians of teaching all the young members of our industry more about soft skills like how to treat people across all genders, races and cultures.
It was clear that leaders in organizations are also seen as role models in matters such as ethics in business. This begged the question whether we were all consistent in the way that we apply ethics in business and whether we realized many of our young entrants in our industry might never have had any role models at home or at school and that this is something business should commit to as part of our leadership roles in our industry. Thokozile Mahlangu was up next, and she gave a brief summary on who the IISA as an industry body is and what services it offers to the industry and more particularly to its members.
Carla then introduced Bonang, the key note speaker to the audience. Bonang is not a stranger to our industry as he was on the board of Sanlam previously. He is currently the CEO of Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA). BLSA is an independent association whose members include the leaders of some of South Africa’s biggest and most well-known organisations. Through this forum, South Africa’s business leaders engage key players in South African society, including civil society and labour, to exchange ideas in our national interest, and to create effective dialogue with government and other stakeholders.
He is also the author of ‘Lift as you Rise’ and as the name indicates, advocates that one can only rise if you also take the time and effort to ‘lift’ someone else, in the process. Bonang started saying that it is all about perspective and told the story of Cyril Ramaphosa that used public transport and took 4 hours to complete his journey. Mr. Ramaphosa in that moment experienced what most commuters experience on a daily basis. We should all put ourselves in the position of our fellow citizens. He then went on to say that, if we are self-critical then we have to admit that South Africa faces some challenges. He mentioned examples such as the Vat increase which has put pressure on all consumers, accusations of state capture, SAA’s market share reducing from 53% in 2007 to only 15% in 2018 and the recent wave of load shedding which costs the economy R2 to R 3 billion a day On a positive note, he emphasized the role of good leadership and that all stakeholders, particularly business, need to play a role in reviving our country. He stated that we have to make a deliberate decision to lead and as far as he is concerned this implies three pillars to be considered:
- An inclusive economy that emphasizes growth and transformation. “when your neighbor is hungry, you do not sleep at night’
- Protect our constitution
- Position business as being patriotic to our country and protecting its interest
- Lead on land reform. Land restitution, redistribution and redevelopment. Expropriation without compensation is adequately covered in our constitution but it must be executed in a responsible manner ‘Great wars are won by execution’
- Lead on transformation. Get the economy out of the financial crisis.
- Lead on increasing GDP growth.
- Lead in job creation. Protect jobs.
- Lead in education.
He urged everyone to be engaged citizens, “We need to go back to activism and stand up for what we believe in”.
Bonang Mohale parting words of wisdom:’ Leaders are dealers in HOPE’. We must always believe in the hope that this country possesses.
A great event enjoyed by all at the beautiful Fairlawns Boutique Hotel brought to you by #YourIIG