“It is immaterial who South Africa’s president is when a country has strong, vibrant and thriving institutions”, said Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) while speaking on the sidelines of a launch event in Cape Town in September 2017. BLSA signed a “contract” with South Africa pledging to do more to create jobs, growth and transform the economy. Mohale said the organisation does not have a preferred candidate for the ANC’s leadership conference at the end of the year. “In fact, it’s irrelevant to business. When our institutions are working, the candidate is immaterial.”

The daily news is all about corruption, misuse of public funds, state capture, illegal procurement processes and mismanagement of state-owned enterprises. While these battles rage on, businesses cannot be complacent. Institutions and corporates are the avenues that can bring change and create employment. Businesses CAN BE the catalysts for positive change. It is only through the expansion of industries, brought about by businesses, that a nation will see job creation and wage increases.

Safari, as a corporate citizen, views its assets as catalysts for positive change, creating jobs and stimulating the economy. Safari was one of the first organisations in South Africa to invest in an underdeveloped urban living area and now has a strong geographic concentration of assets in the emerging sector. Safari plays a ground breaking role in promoting quality assets to uplift and benefit communities by establishing desirable retail and service nodes. Considering the needs of the community is key for Safari in all its ventures.

Each business node created by Safari significantly reduces commuting time and cost associated with travelling to other centres. It alleviates the problem of unemployment and limited tradability of properties, resulting in significantly improved property values and opportunities for the communities in which assets are located. The initial development stage brings investment in local skills development via the developer and his engagement with community liaison officers. Apart from the multiple people employed during construction phase many job-and-business opportunities arise at commencement of trade. Safari surveyed in October 2017 that our portfolio of 6 retail centres supply a number of 4 714 direct employment positions to locals and if indirect jobs are added this figure amounts to almost 10,000 positions.

While developing its portfolio of real estate assets, Safari’s awareness of the broad range of business opportunities that can contribute to a community is growing. With the recent addition of a Soweto day-hospital to our portfolio, Safari realised that there is a range of opportunities available to deliver even more holistic assets that combine various service offerings to serve the communities better and ultimately create value for all stakeholders.
Safari, a company hard at work, will ensure that our assets are true catalysts, attracting investments while creating jobs and developing skills and opportunities for local communities.