DATE POSTED: 31 August 2020
CLOSING DATE: 30 September 2020

The Human Capital Manager (HCM) is a strategic thinker who will form part of the executive management team and support the Group CEO by driving Ntiyiso Consulting human capital development and management efforts. The Human Capital Manager (HCM) is a strategic thinker who will form part of the executive management team and support the Group CEO by driving Ntiyiso Consulting human capital development and management efforts. The HCM will report directly to the Group CEO and will be responsible for overseeing and supporting the recruitment, development, and retainment of top talent within the organisation including its subsidiaries. The HCM is a Strategic Human Resource (HR) manager whose main role will be to develop and implement an HR Strategy to promote an organizational culture of teamwork, excellence, superior service, high quality, transparency, accountability, innovation, inclusiveness and aligned to all the Ntiyiso Consulting organizational values. The HCM will be responsible for all aspects of the HR function, playing a key role in building the function for Ntiyiso Consulting and its subsidiaries. (S)He will achieve this through the development and implementation of sound HR policies, setting up of user-friendly HR systems and processes, and providing support to Group and subsidiary employee throughout the employee life cycle (Ntiyiso Consulting tenure track). The Human Capital Manager (HCM) is a strategic thinker who will form part of the executive management team and support the Group CEO by driving Ntiyiso Consulting human capital development and management efforts.

The negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our economy can be reversed if government, business and society work collectively to establish a sustainable cannabis industry as one of the interventions.

The economy is projected to shrink by not less than 6% in 2020. Just before the pandemic hit our shores in March, the Centre for Development and Enterprise had just published a report looking at South Africa’s growing unemployment rate and what it calls a ‘job bloodbath’.

South Africa sits with cannabis-based dossiers for medicine that is proven successful to cure diseases such as diabetes, cancer, sleeping disorders, eating disorders, epilepsy and pain among many other ailments. The pharmaceutical capacity to exploit is ample and readily available in the country, given that we have manufacturing capabilities for textiles, biofuels, cosmetics, foods and beverages, and in all of these economic sectors, cannabis can be a source of raw material and ingredients.

Moreover, the country is blessed with cannabis greenbelts in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, the Pondoland in Eastern Cape, the Bergville in KwaZulu Natal and other areas in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. There are literally thousands of hectares of arable land across the rest of the country that is suitable to grow cannabis.

The cannabis industry can be subdivided into four main categories: Medical (including additives or neurocriticals), Recreational (or responsible adult use), Seeds and Fibre. Each of these can further be subdivided into multiple categories resulting in over 25 000 everyday products that are consumed locally, across our borders throughout the African continent and all over the globe.

There are thousands of jobs that can be created on the cultivation value chain only. The seed segment of the cultivation value chain is on its own, a multibillion-dollar business.

There are tenths if not hundreds of different cannabis seed strains that have been developed in many different parts of the globe. South Africa is well known globally for having developed strains such as Durban Poison amongst others. Durban Poison is very popular in Europe (Netherlands, UK and Germany) as well as in Northern America (California in the USA and in Canada).

A thousand hectares of land requires a minimum of 7000 farm workers to plant, grow and harvest cannabis. Based on a job creation multiplier of three, this implies that a minimum of 21 000 direct and indirect jobs can be created just on cultivation only. Very quickly a target of 500 000 jobs per annum can be attainable on cultivation alone.

The raw material produced from these farms can then go into manufacturing of medicines, textiles, auto-mobile composites, bio-fuels, food and beverages, cosmetics, animal feed and further resulting in more jobs and economic growth.

Furthermore, by developing these farms, the government will also get the opportunity to test the practicality of their land reform legislation.

Cannabis is the green gold that requires implementation of a thorough and properly coordinated strategy by all stakeholders in the arena of economic development.

The South African cannabis market is estimated to be worth $7-billion (R121bn) by the London-based advisory group Prohibition Partners.

Government needs to move faster in providing the legislative framework. A new model for making funding provisions available to the much talked about sovereign fund can be tested.

Economic development agencies stationed at each province of the country should be commissioning feasibility studies to ensure projects are investment-ready for take-off in a sustainable manner. Labour formations have an opportunity to test equity-based participation of workers starting at “greenfield” level.

South Africans should brace themselves for a cannabis industry that will explode as soon as it meets with its source of ignition. Let cannabis be part of the solution to free our people from the wickedness of unemployment, inequality, poverty and diseases.

Auntony Mukhwanazi serves as Managing Director of Ntiyiso Industrialisation.

The digital age is no longer an apparition somewhere in the distance – it is here, and in part accelerated by COVID-19.

While spheres of Government are known for their slow grind due to tepid red tape and bureaucracy, the COVID-19 pandemic has made allowance for swift action and implementation across the board. Local Government should react accordingly.

It is time for municipalities to utilise digital technology for their bill-paying solutions. This mode will not only significantly improve their services, avoid waste and save resources in the long term, it will also curb the spread of the Coronavirus if people do not have to leave home to stand in long queues to pay for services rendered.

Municipalities that still use outdated payment methods are losing revenue as residents are reluctant to travel to pay their monthly bills. The time has now come for the many municipalities throughout the country that have failed to move with the times to introduce alternative, modern digital bill-paying solutions if they are to avoid inconsistent utility bill and rates payments, growing debt books and increased cashflow problems.

Local authorities are buckling under financial pressure to maintain essential services as their monthly income stream from residents run dry.

In the month of June, it was reported that Gauteng municipalities lost around R5 billion in revenue because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Gauteng Finance MEC, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, said that many residents had not paid their rates and taxes because of company shutdowns and the National Lockdown. While lost jobs and salary cuts were instrumental in the loss, some residents had not paid for fear of coming into contact with other members of the public during the pandemic.

In July, the Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, highlighted the plight of municipalities in light of this severe financial loss of income. He announced that municipalities would receive additional cash to boost their coffers, in order to assist them to maintain acceptable levels of essential basic services.

As revenue collection continues to challenge local authorities, the limited and inflexible payment channels, combined with limited channels of communication, is resulting in residents who are becoming disengaged from their municipalities. This, in turn, is resulting in poor credit ratings and service delivery.

Counter cash payments are no longer viable in the face of COVID-19. Residents have to withdraw fairly large sums of money from ATMs, which is an arduous and time-consuming exercise, before joining a second queue to pay cash over the counter at the municipality.

The challenges raised above underline the need for municipalities to move into the 21st Century, and to offer residents an effective and alternative method of paying their bills. Digital online apps provide that solution.

South African municipalities need to streamline payment options. Using digital payment platforms via websites, mobile apps, WhatsApp and even USSD, are some examples of the modern cashless age. A digital payment option would help residents to communicate more easily with their municipalities and to pay their monthly bills without needing to leave their homes. Another popular online payment method is EFTs. Electronic Fund Transfers use major credit and debit cards, such as Visa and MasterCard, to transfer funds digitally.

Municipalities can make huge strides in creating digitally empowered communities by introducing cashless payment options. The majority of people, even those without affluence, own cell phones. By using a Mobile Wallet, residents will be able to pay their accounts from their telephones by downloading an app. Apart from cash payment bank apps, there are countless numbers of other apps available in South Africa for account payments.

Making digital payments is safer and far more convenient than walking around with large sums of money. Paying municipal accounts digitally ensures confidentiality. The process is quick and painless with authorised payments receiving immediate authentication.

Digital payments also reduce the cost and the risks involved with handling large cash amounts, as is the scenario at municipal offices at month-end. This payment system is a vital financial tool that is both convenient and safe. Moving to a digital payment system will enable residents to pay their municipal accounts 24/7.

Opting for a digital payment system also augurs well for municipalities as it offers boundless all-round benefits to their residents. It will enable the saving of costs by increasing efficiency and payment processing speed, security and transparency by increasing accountability and reducing theft and corruption.

A recent study found that 73% of the country’s consumers are able to make digital payments via their smartphones. Consumers want to pay their accounts using a quick and easy route. Going digital is that solution.

Municipalities that have been back-pedalling must accept that an app economy is here to stay and has and will continue to change the way in which we live, just like the impact of COVID-19 has on our way of life.

Pierre Bernard is the MD of Ntiyiso Digital Services, a subsidiary of the Ntiyiso Consulting Group, whose mission is to “empower institutions that enable Africa’s development”.

The law states it is municipalities that should provide electricity to ratepayers and not Eskom, so why is the SOE the one in the power seat? asks Alex Mabunda.

When I read municipal bodies Salga and CIGFARO are threatening to approach the Constitutional Court over Eskom’s depravation of municipalities’ electricity revenue, I momentarily harboured positive thoughts about the Covid-19 pandemic.

For indeed it is thanks to the financial pressures municipalities are currently experiencing under the pandemic that this issue has come up so strongly. 

Since 2013 when Ntiyiso Consulting concluded a study on the same issue for the Umhlathuze Local Municipality, we have, to no avail, been advocating for this injustice against municipalities to be addressed.

Our brief for the Umhlathuze study was to evaluate both the financial and legal implications of some of the large power users within the Richards Bay industrial area taking electricity directly from Eskom.

The basis of the study was that, in terms of the South African system of governance, municipalities receive less that 10% of their funding from the national fiscus.

The rest of their funding is raised from revenue generated from services they provide to ratepayers, as well as property rates. There is therefore a need – the study contemplated – for the municipality to optimise these funding sources.

Revenue for municipalities

From a financial perspective, we found the surplus income from electricity cross-subsidised both non-revenue-generating services such as street lighting and storm water drainage, and subsidised services such as cemeteries and healthcare services.

All these services, it was noted, are enjoyed by every citizen from within the municipal boundaries, irrespective of where they received their electricity from.

From a legal perspective, the finding was more straightforward than we had anticipated.  

According to Section 152(1)(b) of the Constitution, among the powers vested on local government was “to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner”.

In exercising this power, a municipality can impose “rates on property and surcharges on fees for services provided by or on behalf of the municipality” (section 17).

Section 74(2)(a) of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act demands users of municipal services should be treated equitably in the application of tariffs.

Nothing could be further from this legal requirement than the situation at Umhlathuze and elsewhere in the country, including in larger metros, where Eskom continues to rein supreme, providing electricity directly to ratepayers.

It was conclusive from the study that Eskom-supplied ratepayers benefitted unduly from services contributed to only by municipality supplied ratepayers.

Officers of the law have not been oblivious to the constitutional matter conferring powers to provide basic services to municipalities.

In a 2017 case in which AfriForum sought to prevent Eskom from cutting electricity supply to defaulting municipalities, Judge Hans Fabricius ruled against it, noting Eskom had no “constitutional obligation” to provide ratepayers with electricity.

Instead, ratepayers “are entitled to electricity from the municipality”, meaning Eskom is in fact fulfilling the role of supplying electrify to consumers on behalf of the local municipality – which is what our study had found four years prior.

The threats by Salga and CIGFARO to take this matter to the Constitutional Court must not be taken lightly.

If they do, Eskom will be found wanting for playing the role of a wholesaler and then go on to compete with retailers in the same market. But this is a much bigger issue than the politics of competition and a clear suboptimal implementation of the law.

Underfunding 

Rather it is an emotive issue of underfunding of local government in South Africa.

It is the issue of grossly understated municipal balance sheets, which prevent them from borrowing to fund infrastructure projects.

Our 2017 Municipal Revenue Benchmark study, which focused on municipal revenue sources, established electricity accounts for revenue at a range of between 40 and 60%, followed by property rates at about 30%.

This was the same finding from the Umhlathuze study.

In one anecdotal finding from another (rural) municipality, it would triple its own-generated revenue if it supplied electricity within its jurisdiction. This is a mile of a difference to a municipality whose own revenue was a mere R30 million.

Yes, municipalities may have their faults on governance, and lack capacity as it is often said, but these technical challenges must never be used to take away their means to fulfill their constitutional role to provide services and enable development.

Neither should Eskom’s self-afflicted financial crisis be used as an excuse to prolong this excruciating injustice against the most vulnerable, and yet the most important, sphere of government – municipalities. 

There is therefore no need to waste more time asking the Constitutional Court to confirm constitutional provisions that are stated verbatim in the Constitution.

The parties, namely Eskom, municipal bodies, and the departments of local government and finance must simply get together and agree on how they will implement the law. The sooner they do this, the better.

Alex Mabunda is Group CEO at Ntiyiso Consulting whose mission is “to empower institutions that enable Africa’s development”.

The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy can be reversed if government, business and society work collectively to establish a sustainable cannabis industry as one of the interventions.

The economy is projected to shrink by not less than 6% in 2020. Just before the pandemic hit our shores in March, the Centre for Development and Enterprise had just published a report looking at South Africa’s growing unemployment rate and what it calls a ‘job bloodbath’. In the report, it is highlighted that the number of employed young people (aged 15-34) fell by more than 500,000 between 2008 and 2019. This was a testimony to the slow growth to non-growth pace of our economy despite the devastating effects caused by the pandemic.

South Africa sits with cannabis-based dossiers for medicine that is proven successful to cure diseases such as diabetes, cancer, sleeping disorders, eating disorders, epilepsy and pain, among many other ailments. The pharmaceutical capacity to exploit is ample and readily available in the country, given that we have manufacturing capabilities for textiles, biofuels, cosmetics, foods and beverages, and in all of these economic sectors, cannabis can be a source of raw material and ingredients.

Moreover, the country is blessed with cannabis greenbelts in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, the Pondoland in Eastern Cape, Bergville in KwaZulu Natal and other areas in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. There are literally thousands of hectares of arable land across the rest of the country that is suitable to grow cannabis.

The cannabis industry can be subdivided into four main categories: medical (including additives or neurocriticals), recreational (or responsible adult use), seeds, and fibre. Each of these can further be subdivided into multiple categories resulting in over 25,000 everyday products that are consumed locally, across our borders throughout the African continent and all over the globe.

There are thousands of jobs that can be created on the cultivation value chain only. The seed segment of the cultivation value chain is on its own, a multi-billion-dollar business. There are tens if not hundreds of different cannabis seed strains that have been developed in many different parts of the globe. South Africa is well known globally for having developed strains such as Durban Poison amongst others. Durban Poison is very popular in Europe (Netherlands, UK and Germany) as well as in Northern America (California in the USA and in Canada).

A thousand hectares of land requires a minimum of 7,000 farm workers to plant, grow and harvest cannabis. Based on a job creation multiplier of three, this implies that a minimum of 21,000 direct and indirect jobs can be created just on cultivation only. Very quickly a target of 500,000 jobs per annum can be attainable on cultivation alone.

The raw material produced from theses farms can then go into manufacturing of medicines, textiles, auto-mobile composites, bio-fuels, food and beverages, cosmetics, animal feed and further resulting in more jobs and economic growth.

Furthermore, by developing these farms, government will also get the opportunity to test the practicality of their land reform legislation.

Cannabis is the green gold that requires implementation of a thorough and properly coordinated strategy by all stakeholders in the arena of economic development.

The South African cannabis market is estimated to be worth $7 billion by the London-based advisory group Prohibition Partners.

Government needs to move faster in providing the legislative framework. A consideration for government to actively participate in the industry by acquiring not less than 25% equity in the industry as a whole is not a far-fetched idea. A new model for making funding provisions available to the much talked about sovereign fund can be tested.

Development funding institutions such as DBSA and the IDC have the opportunity to provide seed capital funding that can be a catalyst for mobilisation.

The CSIR, together with institutions like the SABS, should be starting to develop various standards for cannabis-based products.

Economic development agencies stationed at each province of the country should be commissioning feasibility studies to ensure projects are investment-ready for take-off in a sustainable manner. Labour formations have an opportunity to test equity-based participation of workers starting at “greenfield” level.

The rich history of cannabis as a plant, coupled with the indigenous knowledge residing with our kingdoms and villagers in the Western Cape (land of the Khoisan), through the Eastern Cape and all the way to Mpumalanga, presents a tourism route opportunity that can positively impact the tourism Industry.

South Africans should brace themselves for a cannabis industry that will explode as soon as it meets with its source of ignition. Let cannabis be part of the solution to free our people from the wickedness of unemployment, inequality, poverty and diseases.

Auntony Mukhwanazi is the managing director of Ntiyiso Industrialisation Consulting.