On 23 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would go into what was to be known as lockdown level 5 at midnight on Thursday, March 26. Redflank – a specialist management consultancy – conducted a BeyondCovid Business Survey which found that 76% of South Africa’s businesses reported revenue losses because of the coronavirus pandemic. Findings also show that 4% of businesses have permanently shut down while 19% of businesses are still temporarily closed with the expectation that they will re-open.
With many people operating remotely during this pandemic, they experienced an unprecedented blend of work and private life. Businesses lucky enough to survive the lockdown have been forced to quickly adapt to new ways of working. The office of the future will no longer be a specific space in one building, but a combination of physical spaces accompanied by virtual office resources that enable online meetings, planning, and collaboration.
The lockdown had a tremendous impact on the SA Council for Business Women as many of the members had to review their membership. Some of the members used this as an opportunity to start or plan new businesses. The SACBW used this lockdown to empower our members through online webinars and the sharing of verified information on our National Facebook pages.
It was also during this time that the SACBW decided to use the opportunity and time at our disposal to review our constitution and to put a National Strategic Plan together for the next 5 years with an implementation plan. This was done online with the input of all the business leaders.
The National Strategic Plan has 5 focus areas for the next 5 years:
- To have a national footprint in all 9 provinces with a sustainable income.
- To implement good corporate governance on all levels within the SACBW.
- To ensure the webpage and digital online learning platform are valuable assets and tools for the SACBW to obtain their mission.
- To have an accurately portrayed true value proposition for members of the SACBW,
- To implement at least one sustainable development goal each year within the SACBW
We have learned a lot during this pandemic and have taken the opportunity to reflect on new ways to support our members in a changing world. Monthly webinars with articles from our Thought Leaders who are experts in their field. Our Leadership to Legacy in 2020 was celebrated online with a special message from Prof. Thuli Madonsela on ethical leadership. The presenters, Amb. Lynn Hill, Charlotte Kemp, and Dr Amanda Hamilton-Attwell gave informative, inspirational, motivational presentations. The development of our future leaders is a priority to ensure that the legacy of the SACBW will continue.