The Naivety of Negativity

Struggling to remain positive in light of the socio-economic challenges that South Africa is currently facing? Well let me start off by saying that it’s not easy for me to read through countless reports that factor in current employment statistics and sales data from our ‘emerging’ market.

But if you’re sick and tired of reading about negative sentiments and already considering to close this article - JA wants to offer you a different viewpoint. That’s right, we’re not denying the fact that we all might be staring down the short end of a crudely sawed-off shotgun with our collective fingers on the trigger and the words ‘financial freedom’ written on it in a mixture of bold lipstick and charcoal.

So in light of our circumstances I want to ask you directly:

“What are you personally doing to change any of it?”

In a year that is locally being marked with words like “centenary”, “recession”, “expropriation” and “legalisation” you can find yourself swimming in a mix-bag of emotions depending on where your personal particle of dust falls on the spectrum that is the entire history, present and future of humanity. That’s right - your big name can easily be forgotten in time - so why care about any of this? A bit of nihilism can go a long way nowhere and it is for that very reason that we have decided to focus on the positive.

"Have a goal, have a destination - get there."

A second question: How do we begin to consider the manner in which we can contribute to a change without blowing our tops and collective national head off in the process? The answer: We look at why it’s important to steer clear of negativity in the micro workplace and macro economy.

Why should I be positive?

One thing is for certain, positivity has received a bad rep due to countless South Africans smiling ignorantly in the face of some of the undeniable and detrimental consequences that have evaded high courts. So the first task should be to inform positivity.

“Positivity, like a good joke, can only make an impact successfully if you understand it.”

If positivity goes flying over your head faster than an international con-family, then the punchline will inevitably be - you, yourself.

To all potential shareholders and investors, you know what the negatives are. So let’s instead aim to understand where our optimism should stem from, rather than sheepishly smile in large ill-informed doomsday-groups.Let’s start with 2 examples in our local economy that any sharp-minded and innovative investors must consider.

1. Regulation

Daniël Kriel, CEO of Sanlam Private Health, has remarked on our country’s standing with respect to international ratings that affect our financial future. Daniël noted that our legal frameworks, accounting systems and corporate governance places us within the top ten countries that investors should be sweet-talking. Moreover, we’re top of the chain - yes number 1 internationally - due to the “strength of our audit and reporting standards, as well as the regulation of stock exchanges” according to the World Economic Forum. Thanks Daniël, that’s not to be missed!

2. Industry

"Industry - a saddle can indeed be fashioned for this fickle beast."

Let’s get rid of the old sugar-coating. Sub-ideal governance does play a role in how attractive international investors find our grazing fields. However, with the political climate leaning more towards ‘hope’ after the events of February 2018, there are a few additional factors that seem to tame reluctant tendencies and possesses the potential to propel our economy into overcoming the ‘not-so-palatable’ negativity of the past.

One of these recognised factors is that many South African businesses have seen the benefits of the bandwagon when it comes to training the workforce for sustainable businesses, instead of sitting with a skilled chunk of the sector that is prepped for an industry that has a survival-rate half-life.

One such example is of the folks over at Younglings. The team has devoted their time and future-forward thoughts toward a sustainable and pro-active training programme for a generation of very-sought-after software developers. More importantly - they don’t bargain on dangerous, over-optimistic market expectations. They also fall well in line with Baker Mckenzie’s positive sentiment that industrialisation is fostered by recognising the incomparable value of creating opportunities for youth employment.

“Industrial growth has to take place in having regard to advancements in technology, the movement to digitisation, the decarbonisation agenda and automation.” - Baker McKenzie, BusinessTech

Why is all of this important?

If you consider yourself quite familiar with economic trends and stats, then you’re probably aware that South Africa is frequently referred to as one of three driving force countries of the African continent. That’s right, we’re the popular kids on the playground who have a bit of influence. We have the potential to create for an entire wave of positive business strategies which, in turn, could explode into greater exponential growth and development across the entire region.

With the aforementioned optimism, the reasonable and practical kind, we return to our initial underlying thoughts: South Africa faces some unique uncertainties. There won’t be a magical formula to transform our nation into an investment utopia anytime soon. However, you can unlock an exceptional reward if you’re willing to encourage and engage in a positive outlook.

Will you say JA and commit to a willing spirit and at times, possible risk, in order to be part of the opportunities that this country presents? Or will you say “no” and choose to remain naive in your negativity?We know what our answer is.

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Kind Regards

Johan Bronkhorst

Co-Founder & Director