Greed and stupidity are key problems for economic growth
Recently the Economic Performance Indicators for Cape Town for the 1st Quarter 2019 was released.
This reminded me of the time, years ago when I owned a retail shop inside a major mall.
Business worked for many years until two issues made trading impossible. The first was the regular and massive rental increase and the second was staffing issues.
Since the business sold novelty items, the price had to be suitable. Novelty items are “nice to have” but not essential like bread and milk. Folk will pay any price for bread and milk even when the cost of production is a fraction of the retail price and we know that we are being robbed.
My product could not contain the abusive rental increase which also has little to do with retail reality except for pure greed. Ironically small shops pay much more per square meter rental, compared to major retailers. As a result, major multinationals are often subsidised by small shop owners. This makes it difficult for an average person to own a small shop inside a major mall.
The staffing issue was obvious. Especially frontline staff require much training as the jobless have limited clue what business requires. I thus spent months training new staff how to behave and interact with clients. Arriving on time, prompt service and smiling are not logical to some people.
Ironically as soon as staff were skilfully trained, they were offered more money by a bigger business. Most thanked me for the training but the allure of a more money was more important than loyalty.
To many, business is war and ruining rivals is okay as these are the unspoken laws of capitalism.
That I was a person of colour who was one of a handful of retailers inside a major mall, meant nothing. My rivals had meetings with my suppliers to withhold credit and some line items which they could access. So, I had to pay cash and constantly sourced new suppliers.
South Africa will struggle to create jobs because our business and political leaders worship money and have limited ethics. Our working class are unskilled, have no loyalty and also follow the money. To build a business with all the challenges (crime, corruption, taxes) that exist, is very difficult.
We are a nation with limited ethics and values that is why those who profited from Apartheid and former freedom fighters work together to steal from taxpayer’s. We are a nation mentally and materially at war with each other and do not realize that the world does not care what happens to us.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress