Friends & Friction: T-junction is the place of decision

2013-12-04 10:00

All organisations – whether religious, political or business – do come to a shake-the-core-T-junction. The Anglican Church had its share when it had to decide whether to ordain gay bishops or not.

Pope Francis has made an about-turn from his predecessor about the Catholic Church and gay people, and has now commissioned worldwide research to help him understand the modern family.

BlackBerry is an example of a business that has reached this T-junction. Even though it is sinking worldwide, it still has BlackBerry Messenger, which keeps loyal customers buying its devices.

Now it has had to make a strategic choice on whether to make that application available on competitors’ devices.

BlackBerry is still trying to decide if it’s a device maker or whether it must retreat to compete with app makers.

In order to navigate successfully through such decisive moments, the leaders of the organisation must have a worm’s-eye-view of the people or customers, but still see the difference between a molehill and mountain.

Recently, the DA came to its own T-junction with BEE. This shook the party to its core and now we have to ask if the organisation came out stronger or if it signalled the beginning of the end.

Before I answer that question, let me declare the colour of my lens: I am a proud beneficiary of BEE and affirmative action before that.

I got most of my roles because I was black and not because I was competent because, honestly and quite frankly, those days no one was interested in the competence of a k****r. We were all equally incompetent.

Now for the answer: the DA has watered the seeds of BEE.

Firstly this must have upset its funders. Since political parties won’t tell us who funds them, we can only speculate that the DA gets some of its funding from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, hence Helen Zille’s “open opportunity” utterances.

The DA is in the business of politics where the credo is: “Always follow the money because voters forget but funders don’t.”

A cash-starved organisation is a dead organisation. Ask the Pan Africanist Congress. It is not the support for BEE or lack thereof that will kill the DA, but the fact that the party’s so-called black caucus bit Zille and she yielded.

Now the dogfight has begun.

There is no doubt that Lindiwe Mazibuko has transformed the DA, and as we have learnt in both the church and the corporate world, this breeds its own insecurities and petty jealousies.

So expect the Western Cape DA to say to Mazibuko and the rest of the black caucus: “Deliver a province so we can talk as equals, otherwise accept that you are all employment equity appointees.”

The most damning point is that the organisation traded its principles for a currency that is no longer in use.

Contrast that to the ANC when the Africanists wanted whites kicked out of the organisation, saying “Africa for Africans” and talking about “driving the whites to the sea”.

The ANC leaders remained steadfast on “South Africa shall belong to all those who live in it, black or white”. They chose to be a lighthouse instead of sheep.

Race and BEE in particular no longer matter in South Africa.

If you think otherwise, ask the people in Nkandla, Thohoyandou, Cofimvaba, etc, where there are no whites to do BEE deals with.

The name of the African market in Nelspruit is Vukutimele, which means “get up and stand on your own two feet”. It’s not “vuswa umlungu (depend on the white man)”.

» Kuzwayo is umwalimu at Ignitive, an advertising agency

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