Good evening Ladies _ Gentlemen _ a special welcome by gyvwpsjkko

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									Good evening Ladies & Gentlemen & a special welcome & congratulations to all our
award nominees & recipients.

A special welcome & congratulations to our 2 guests of honour, Minister of National
Economic Planning, Mr Trevor Manuel & former Governor of the Reserve Bank, Mr
Tito Mboweni. I am sure you have spent a large part of this evening swapping
assurances of mutual envy. Or perhaps not.

Madam President, thank you for such a generous introduction.

I must warn you all that it is not often that my wife allows me the opportunity to
privately or publicly express my own views and for that matter in my own words. I
am relishing the prospect and therefore regrettably, will not promise to be brief. My
insincere apologies.

As is customary, I would like to start by highlighting a few of the gains my
predecessor and her Exco have achieved over the last term:

Firstly, operationally, Absip now boasts a complete infrastructure to support the
Exco. This infrastructure is not limited only to the continued security of permanent
office premises, but includes a full time CEO, Mr Masedi Molosiwa, and an Executive
Manager, Ntombenhle Skweyiya. We thank them also for their hard work over the
last term;

Secondly, as mentioned by our outgoing President, Absip was able to progress the
advancement of women on the transformation agenda through the formulation of
the Women in Focus mentorship programme. This remains a critical focus area for
the incoming leadership; and

Thirdly, & perhaps most importantly in some eyes, is the resolution of 1 of the 2
remaining principal Charter issues (as you know, the equity ownership targets and
the ‘high watermark’ principle. We can only wish you had resolved both!

Madame President, a big thank you for handing over the reins to an organisation in
such impeccable order & standing. It is indeed an immense honour & a privilege to
stand here in the capacity of President-elect of Absip. Yes, Madam President, your
term does not end for another few hours yet!

Also, a sincere thank you to the rest of your Exco, you have all done a fantastic job in
organising tonight’s event. I hope my colleagues on the incoming Exco have been
taking notes. I would also like to extend my personal thanks to all of our sponsor &
organisers of tonight’s event & hope that you will be as supportive & even more
generous towards Absip in the coming years.

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me at this point to pause and quickly introduce the
incoming Exco. I will call them out by name and request them to stand wherever they
are so everyone can know by name and face who their new servants are:

Firstly, despite his absence tonight, I would like to introduce our Deputy President,
Kabelo Seitshiro. Kabelo is a former employee of the National Treasury, JP Morgan
and Standard Bank, and is now an Executive Director of the Industrial Development
Group, in charge of debt products. Kabelo is unfortunately attending a wedding in
Namibia. For those who know him, please be assured that he was at pains to
persuade us that the wedding he is attending is not his own.

Next is our Secretary General, Oliver Peterson, formerly PwC Corporate Finance and
Circle Capital, and currently an Executive at Brait managing the private equity fund-
of-funds.

Then we have Zukie Siyothula, our Treasurer, and Strategic Investment Manager at
Royal Bafokeng Holdings.

We also have Mphumi Malangabi who will handle our Strategic Alliances portfolio.
Mphumi is a founder member of Absip and CEO of Valuecorp Investments. Mphumi
will provide valuable input in ensuring the ongoing alignment of the organisation’s
ethos with its founding principles.

Next is Patsy David who will oversee the critical Absip Women in Focus initiative.
Patsy has over 20 years experience in the financial services sector, is a former rated
securities analyst, and is currently a [fund manager] at the Public Investment
Commission.

We also privileged to have secured the services and energy of Thakani Makhuvha
whose wisdom is sure to secure us meaningful additional membership. Thakani is
Head of the IDC’s Post Investment Monitoring Department.

And lastly, and most importantly for the future of Absip is Ephraim Moletsane who is
on our Exco as testament to the excellent job done at the level of the Student
Chapters. Ephraim is the former President of University of Johannesburg student
chapter and is currently a trainee accountant at PwC.
I am sure you will agree that a nice balance of maturity and youth have been
achieved on this Exco. Thank you all new Exco members for availing yourself for this
cause.

Without taking too much longer of your time, I must disclose that I have already
been asked by several members of Absip what the vision and agenda of the new Exco
will be. This is not an easy question to answer 2 days into the role, however, perhaps
snippets of our discussions at our recent AGMs will be informative.

Certainly, what appears to be the critical first order of business is the creation of the
opportunity for all members to debate the ongoing role and positioning of Absip in
today’s environment.

A critical look at ‘’the soul of Absip’’ if you will.

Issues to contemplate here include matters as wide ranging as the name of Absip i.e.
whether the name is not too restrictive, to issues of public positioning i.e. should
Absip, while maintaining the same conscientious and informed formulation of views,
express such views in a more robust, forceful and louder manner? This has been
expressed to us as a requirement for greater activism.

I will come back to this aspect in a little while.

The second and equally critical area of focus is to create a clear understanding of
what it means to be a member of the organisation, particularly in a leadership role.
The commitment to participate in Absip is not merely an opportunity to build one’s
profile – the membership of Absip has clearly articulated its desire to NOT have
celebrity leaders, but rather to have office bearers focused on delivery. This, of
course, is consistent with the existing sentiment in the national context regarding
delivery of socio-economic change. Indeed, the youngest member of our incoming
Exco, Ephraim Moletsane, pointed out to me that, in his words, “we can only move
to new worlds following constructive criticism of the past ones”.

This does not suggest that our predecessors, immediate or otherwise have not been
successful in executing their mandate – the concern is of a different nature. To put it
in stark terms, there are growing signs of unease within our membership to the
effect that, yes, battles are being won, however, there is no definitive indication that
the war is not being lost (in the broader context of the role of the financial services
sector in the transformation of the economy as a whole, the imperative is so great, it
cannot be nothing but a war). In short, ladies and gentlemen, our membership is
desirous of a step change, and a loud and visible one at that – this is reflected by the
election on Wednesday of a completely new Exco. A telling reflection also that not
many existing members considered it appropriate to stand for re-election. For those
who would wish to sow division, be aware, it is agreed between old and new that a
change of approach is required.

Action is required.

The war is not being won. This war cannot be lost.

However, in order to temper perhaps potentially extreme elements in our
organisation, we undertake to consider the formalisation of a ‘Past President’s
Council’ comprising former Presidents of Absip, as well as other senior citizens. After
all, in order to optimise passion, wise heads are needed. In recognition, of this I
would like to make special acknowledgement of the old stalwart Mr Modise Motloba
who I am assured has played a pivotal role in gaining a mutually acceptable outcome
to all stakeholders on the issue of equity targets in the sector. Modise, your
continued interest and passion for the organisation should serve as the model for all
of your peers and the next generation.

This leads me into my next theme of the obligation of ongoing and continuous
responsibility – black professionals in this sector need to take active responsibility for
their own destiny. This applies equally to past members who have now achieved
professional or economic success, as well as to younger or newer members. To my
mind, and forgive my language, it remains a preposterous and untenable
phenomenon that by and large Absip members do not contribute to their own
membership fees, and instead Absip relies on contributions made by employers. This
is disingenuous on the part of members and is not acceptable.

Admittedly, it may be a consequence of perceived value (or lack thereof), but again,
let’s have the debate and define what value the organisation ought to offer to its
members. Silence and non-participation will not achieve anything and in fact will only
serve to compromise our cause. It is imperative that Absip becomes a financially
strong organisation with the moral, intellectual and financial depth to drive its
mandate. Those who are already established and successful would do well to
remember that there is strength in numbers, and also that very few things in life are
irreversible.

And finally, lest my earlier potentially ominous comments on increased activism
should result in diminishing corporate sponsorship, I offer an olive branch of sorts.
Dear Absipers, it is well worth recalling that Absip is a multiracial membership
organisation. Yes, it may surprise some of you today, but non-black views and input
are welcome, and in fact, are hungrily called for.

To this end I intend to propose to the membership body that we broaden the
Recognition Awards to include non-black individuals who have meaningfully
contributed to transformation of the financial services sector and to the
advancement of black professionals. I am quite comfortable to stand here before you
and to tell you very clearly that my own career progress (albeit modest) has been
positively influenced on numerous occasions by non-black colleagues and decision-
makers.

These are individuals who not only gave me the opportunity to succeed, but also to
fail. And indeed I did fail on occasion but I was allowed to learn and to correct my
mistakes. These types of people are not as rare as is often suggested.

And so, in addition to the Eric Molobi Award for Most Progressive Company, I will be
advocating for a similar award for individuals who mentor, influence and otherwise
create or provide the platform for the success of individual or groups of black
professionals.

In summary and in conclusion, then ladies and gentlemen, expect the following:

   • A critical review of Absip’s objectives, relevance and public positioning;
   • A clarion call to arms (i.e. visible growth in the membership base) and
     increased intolerance of form over substance (note: the recently published
     date is not reflective of the realities which are so apparent to practitioners
     and others involved with the sector);
   • More aggressive fund-raising and visible application of funds to effective and
     direct transformation initiatives; and lastly,
   • Acceptance and recognition for all who are friends of our cause.

I thank you for your kind attention.

								
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