These are dark days indeed. We face a social, political and economic crisis that has been unimaginable since the birth of our democracy.
We are witnessing the disintegration of our governing party and the highly organized, systematic and well-resourced capture of our nation by a mafia-style criminal group. If we cannot arrest and reverse this, we will become a failed state.
Moreover, our social fabric is being torn apart by persistent and deepening inequality; by the millions of people who are unemployed and live in poverty, by the scourge of racism and a failure to grow and transform the economy. Our economy has now been plunged into crisis by the ratings downgrades. Such a degrade will cause instability and uncertainty, and eventually drive away investment.
This will also mean thousands of jobs will be lost, equating to less money for the government to spend on social services because of lower tax revenues and higher debt servicing costs, and higher inflation.
If there was ever a moment when our country needed the ALI Fellows to individually and collectively make their mark on society, it is now.
I have put all of my business activities on hold while I work with organised business to respond to this crisis. I will also be working with others in society to explore actions that business can take to address the social and economic injustices that are the structural reasons for our weakening social fabric.
It is often said that leadership is hard to define, but at some cases, you know it when you see it. One of the most inspiring and recent act of courage and leadership in the ALI Fellowship during this crisis is the public position taken by Dr. Makhosi Khoza, an ALI Fellow and an ANC MP in parliament. If you have not read her stance, read her article here:
Makhosi has agreed to have a private dialogue with ALI Fellows under Chatham House rules on the 26th April, in Johannesburg. It would be great to get as many Fellows as possible to attend.
The Board is determined, in this time, to strengthen the institution of ALI. To this end, we have requested that Ann Lamont, a Fellow from the 2nd class (Kilimanjaro), join us on a part time and interim basis from April to November, to provide support and direction to the core ALI team of Sedibeng Ngubane and Chenai Chipfupa.
Ann has been an ALI fellow since 2004 and has worked with the fellowship not only on its strategy, but also on its Pan-African strategy. She has also worked successfully in supporting ALI ventures, and is herself a McNulty Foundation laureate. Ann will also draw on the support of Barbara Dale-Jones who has extensive experience in supporting and enhancing the impact of networks.
The specific focus of Ann and the team will be to ensure that:
– Our core funding is in place.
– We integrate more fully with our Pan African colleagues.
– Our initiatives are launched and enhance engagement.
– The 11th class is launched and a longer-term ED is recruited.
As part of the collaboration with African Fellows that Ann and others will be working on, we wish to hold a Pan African Impact Forum on 13-15 October 2017. Please diarise the date. We will share additional details shortly after further engagement with our colleagues in the other Africa Initiatives.
I would like to once again thank the Fellows who are playing an active role in the various components of ALI. Ann will reach out to you in due course on how best to collaborate and integrate all our efforts.
Lastly, as South Africa’s crisis deepens, we will need to continue to engage, support each other and use our influence positively. To this end, various classes are engaging with each other on the best response to the current crisis. Sedi has compiled a list of actions being undertaken by the various classes. If you wish to connect with her to understand what others are doing, please do so. We will also seek ways to enable the broader ALI Fellow network to understand the various initiatives that are underway and plug in capability, capacity or resource where required.