Pictured at USB-ED’s Management Index launch: Prof Arnold Smit, Prof Anders Aspling, Rhoda Kadalie (guest speaker), Frik Landman and Dr Dan Ofori.
South Africa needs an economic Codesa and the question must be asked whether corporate social responsibility by big companies is really aimed at strengthening the country's democracy? Or is it merely a way for companies to ease their conscience. This was the question posed by Rhoda Kadalie, well-known political commentator, writer and chief executive of the Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre, on a recent visit to Stellenbosch.
She was the guest speaker at a meeting of the Centre for Business in Society (CBiS) at USB Executive Development (USB-ED), the public executive development and training company of the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). The USB-ED's new Management Index was also introduced at the same event.
"Corporate businesses have been challenged in the past to look at themselves critically and to determine the exact impact of their contributions to corporate social responsibility. Often money is simply thrown at non-profit organisations and charities without first ensuring that it makes good business sense."
"Companies are very good at identifying a good return on an investment, but for some or other reason this is not the case when it comes to social development. The actual social return on an investment is something often ignored by companies."
"The problem is that companies expect everything to happen at a rapid pace, while social development takes longer to reap rewards," she said.
Corporate social responsibility is mostly merely seen as a means of giving back to the community. Real social transformation, however, involves in-depth systemic intervention in the structure of the community.
South Africa will have to be more creative and accept more risk in order to effectively tackle its social problems, said Kadalie.
The CBiS is a Centre of Excellence within USB-ED with the mandate to make the sustainable development agenda of the 21st century relevant for leadership, organisational and societal learning. In doing so, the CBiS is a laboratory for co-creating transformative solutions for a sustainably developed world.