“It was Mother Theresa who said that love is not patronising and charity isn’t about pity, it’s about love. Charity and love are the same. Don’t just give money; reach out your hand instead.” These were the opening words of Dr Ben Ngubane, chairman of the board of Eskom Holdings, in his talk on state-owned enterprises’ (SOEs) commitment to economic development, delivered at The Trialogue CSI Conference, held in Johannesburg on 24 and 25 May 2016.

Dr Ben NgubaneDr Ngubane explained that when he was ambassador to Japan, he observed that big businesses are all connected to small, medium and macro-sized enterprises (SMMEs), and that the SMMEs are all trained by big businesses. “They supply the highest quality of products to these major companies, so that everyone is effectively and capably employed.”

He said that South African companies and SOEs need to think about how they can connect themselves into a system like this. He added that with the current state of our economy, the time is right for partnerships – private, public and state owned company partnerships. “Our endeavours must talk to sustainability – ultimately making recipients self-sufficient to become entrepreneurs in their own right.”