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By Nozipho Mpanza

An era is described to be a substantially long period of time. One may say that 50 years marks an era, another would say 10 years is substantial. How do we measure a “long period of time?” It may be by the hours that slide through the hour glass or by the amount of times one sleeps and wakes up. I’d like to measure an era by the fruits that are produced within a frame of time.

Time is essential for all things that have come to life and this is our time. We were born for such a time as this!!!
The world of business is ablaze with possibility and the millennium era marks the season of reaping from the harvest. If one is to think of an era as 50 years, then the past 50 years have possibly been the most eventful within the corporate world. Computer technology, television, medical technology and our very own social networking are the fruits of this young era. Many may struggle to imagine a life without ‘BBM’ or the ability to capture a moment at the flick of a button on the keypad of one’s phone; this serves as proof of the extraordinary development that we have become a part of.

It is often said that the present youth is very different to that of the past. FEARLESS. DETERMINED.PRIVLEDGED.AMBITIOUS. These fine characteristics have shaped and mirrored the achievements of this time. Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and WordPress were all born into the minds of ordinary people across the world within this century. Intelligent imagination has marked the success of present day prodigies. A few years ago, the prospects of social networking and electric heating would have been ludicrous concepts. The realisation of such phenomenal transformation proves that we are of a special generation.

Today the business environment holds many accolades and has propelled the careers of many individuals to heights even beyond their own comprehension. Having achieved this record experience, the business environment has become a jungle of fraud and corruption.
Who can remember the Enron debacle? The multimillion dollar company decided to partake in a little ‘window dressing’ that affected the lives of thousands of investors as well as normal citizens. One may think that a thousand investors is a drop in the ocean when referring to the hundreds of thousands of people trading on a daily basis. This may be true and it is therefore in hindsight to outline the recession that began in the third quarter of 2008. Once again, the business bureaucrats became a little too selfish and took more than their share of the pie. The 2008 recession spoke magnitudes into the trading environment around the world and altered the ENTIRE WORLD’S preferences in the name of bad business practise.

The international business environment may seem out of touch for many of us and it is with this notion in mind that I bring our local environment into focus. The South African black market generates millions of rands in turnover each year. While this may be positive for those that benefit from being street vendors and informal small businesses that cannot be registered, one ought to think about those that are victims of crime and fraud that feed some of these sectors.

I remember a very interesting conversation with a young lady from Kenya who was interested in the dealings of the business sector in Johannesburg. We spoke about many of the dynamics faced by African business and concluded that the solutions to many of the problems due shortages and corruption in Africa, are housed in the minds of intellectuals from all over the world that have set off to Johannesburg and the northern continents in pursuit of a faster catapult to their careers. The question posed to me was “Seeing that you’re from Joburg, how many times have you been robbed?” This seemingly insulting question was actually reasonable simply because we have let crime become a thing of our culture through allowing bad business practise to define us.

The term ‘tendorpreneurs’ has been given to entrepreneurs who attribute their success to receiving and performing tender obligations. In South Africa, this avenue has become of great interest and has been the subject of much investigation. A tender is a public offer to do work or supply goods. This is often issued by the government and should be awarded to the most deserving bidder. This is often not the case in South Africa and one of the many cases in testament to this fact ties back to the textbook fiasco in Limpopo. The point in question is not why the job is not done but who is supposed to do the job?

In a world where business is flourishing exponentially; corruption, fraud and scheming are budding at hurried paces in turn. The reasons for this are greed and non-satiation.

The business sector will continue to see the emergence of great minds and outstanding innovations but we are in need of fearless leaders who can stand for truth and take the filth from the rubies. We are made for such a time as to stand in representation of our country as agents of truth. To get ahead in business, one needs to be strategic and mindful of the environment. We are within the era of radical transformation, we ought to stand in truth to see an ethical and admirable business environment.

We are made for such a time as this.