Exactly one year ago this week, my team and I were entrusted with the responsibility of guiding the ABSIP ship through the uncharted waters of a worldwide pandemic like no other. As a newly-elected National Executive Committee learning to lead an advocacy
and transformation organisation through the most disruptive time known to humanity, we have learnt to adapt and navigate our way through the past 12 months. The challenges we sought to tackle were multidimensional in nature. As an organisation that had been questioned about its continued relevance in matters of advocacy and transformation by a variety of stakeholders; the need to reflect on the purpose and value of ABSIP to society loomed large as the glaring challenge of our initial days as the leadership structure.
The necessity for the introspection, was a natural and necessary step in the journey towards understanding the organisation’s dynamics and standing amongst stakeholders. The lessons learnt from that process – thanks to the robust, sometimes difficult but always transparent engagements from our stakeholders and partners – assisted us to formulate a blueprint for how we wanted to guide the organisation towards its immediate future. As an organisation that was founded in 1995 with an explicit commitment to facilitating redress and transformation in the financial services sector, the role and relevance of ABSIP has remained central to the national transformation question largely due to the importance and intersectionality of the financial services sector. Regrettably, whilst the role and relevance of ABSIP had remained explicitly obvious, the presence and impact of the organisation in the transformation landscape had diminished over time.
On the back of this realisation, the NEC undertook a series of steps aimed at narrowing the gap that had emerged between the relevance of ABSIP; and its actual deliverables. Key to these steps, was the need to reengage with various stakeholders within the sector and across the larger economic and governance ecosystem. The sum of these engagements and deliberations, has resulted in an organisation that is more at ease with its role in society and more visible in matters of transformation – particularly in matters where conflicts and contestations are inevitable.
Over the course of the year, ABSIP ran various dialogues, webinars and leadership conversations aimed at tackling critical and topical issues relating to transformation. The highlights of these initiatives, included the ABSIP Digital Disruption Series in partnership with Standard Bank; and the ABSIP Leadership Dialogues in partnership with Power FM. The success of these initiatives has provided us with a blueprint of how to continuously engage with our members and stakeholders – especially during these extraordinary times.
In the larger landscape, we have observed – even over the past year – a mixed bag in transformation gains across the system. As Old Mutual was emerging from the fallout of the departure of Peter Moyo, our engagements at the point of the appointment of the new CEO, were as robust as can be expected from an organisation whose primary mandate is to champion transformation. When the leadership transitions at the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund indicated difficulties in the transition process, ABSIP was in the room to seek an understanding of the challenges and make recommendations on how the issues emerging from the processes could be handled. As a result, after some persuasion and engagements, ABSIP was pleased to note that there was a meeting of the minds between the previous Chairperson of the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund – Mantuka Maisela and Eskom which was finalised through a public apology issued by Eskom.
Later on, when the Principal Executive Officer of the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund – Linda Mateza – tendered her resignation at the beginning of 2021, ABSIP was quick to intervene and engage with the Fund to establish the reasons behind the resignation. The sum of the engagements highlighted a number of issues relating to executive support – particularly for black women in the financial services sector – that required frank and transparent conversations. As a result of that realisation, ABSIP and the EPPF participated in a Leadership Dialogue on Power FM involving ABSIP and the EPPF.
As the year progressed, the financial services sector was once again in the spotlight in matters of transformation, succession planning and leadership transitions when the CEOs of African Bank and ABSA vacated their positions. The African Bank leadership transition was a matter of great interest to ABSIP given the fact that the then-CEO Basani Maluleke, was the only African female CEO of a major bank in South Africa. Her loss to the leadership circle of the banking fraternity, left a void in the ecosystem that required ABSIP to continuously engage with African Bank and the banking regulators regarding the concerns emanating from the resignation. Whilst we remain disappointed that the banking sector has lost a female CEO – with evidence indicating that it will take a while for another black female CEO to lead a bank – we are pleased to note that a former ABSIP President – Kennedy Bungane – has recently been appointed as CEO of African Bank. We regard Mr Bungane’s appointment as a reward for a long and excellent career in the financial services sector and also a positive step for transformation that is in line with the commitments made by African Bank during our engagements with them.
When the news of the resignation of the Chief Executive of ABSA – Mr Daniel Mminele – hit the headlines, ABSIP was as alarmed as any organisation by the abrupt nature of it all. As a CEO who had joined ABSA on the back of an impeccable and stellar record within the South African Reserve Bank, the short term of his tenure left us wondering about the wisdom of the processes undertaken to reach the decision to part ways. Such questions and concerns remain largely unresolved and are currently central to our continued engagements with the board of directors of the ABSA Group as they seek to chart a way forward in their leadership structures. Our intention is to update ABSIP members at the conclusion of our engagements with the board of ABSA regarding their commitment to transformation and crafting a roadmap towards leadership succession.
All of these initiatives and steps would not be possible without the support and advice of our members, partners and stakeholders to whom we remain eternally grateful. We are also excited to announce that we have managed to create a fit-for-purpose membership website and data management system that will serve as the primary point of contact for members and ABSIP. Details regarding the website are contained below. We encourage all members to use this new portal as the primary interaction platform with ABSIP.
And as the country moves towards the critical vaccination stage in its mission of conquering the Covid-19 pandemic, we as ABSIP are ready to pledge support to the nation as it embarks on a mission to save lives, preserve livelihoods and revive the economy.
Yours in service
Polo Leteka Radebe
8 June 2021
ABSIP Membership 2021
We are pleased to announce an update to the membership portal.
We are striving to enable members to be able to manage their own membership profiles from the comfort of their own devices and at their leisure. We encourage members to sign up as mentioned to access ABSIP information and events on the site.
Signing up is easy. Simply visit the website and choose your membership type under the Members tab.
After successfully signing up, and inputting your particulars you should be able to sign in to ABSIP using the LOGIN button on the main menu.
Once logged into your account, you are able to provide further details to define you and settle your membership fees.
We look forward to our continued interaction.