South Africa: The future of management in Africa?
The perspectives presented here is that South Africa is important to developments in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. Events since the ending of apartheid and lifting of sanctions has meant a renewed investment interest in South Africa from multinational companies, and possibly decreasing interest from the international donor and development community with a perspective that the job is now done. Yet the development of effective managers and organizations in South Africa is just beginning. Metropolitan, one of the leading insurance groups in South Africa has an advanced empowerment policy encouraging multicultural teambuilding and positive discrimination towards previously disadvantaged groups. Yet looking around the staff restaurant one can still see groups of black Africans, Asians, and whites all sitting on separate tables. Major social problems and inequities still exist. Major problems of illiteracy and a lack of basic skills, let alone management skills, are just beginning to be addressed. Eskom, for example, is the biggest provider of electricity in southern Africa. As a state-own company it has been a major player in the new South Africa’s Reconstruction and Development Programme: providing basic amenities to the majority of the population, and assisting in the uplifting of previously disadvantaged communities. A main thrust of this programme has been to positively discriminate towards the previously disadvantaged in terms of job and development opportunities within companies such as Eskom, and to develop basic literacy programmes to ensure that all employees can read and write (Jackson, 1999).