Introduction to South Africa

Saturday, 14th June 2014 – Morning

IBM South Africa

In the morning we visited the IBM office in Johannesburg and met the General Manager for South Africa, Abraham Thomas, spending a couple of hours learning about IBM’s strengths and challenges here. I was particularly interested to learn that the law now requires that every organisation should mirror the population of the country, so 60-70% of employees should be of either black or African descent. This means that there is an ongoing focus on training and recruiting from the country’s previously disadvantaged communities.  The equity of this is undeniable and it illustrates how far the country has come but it takes time and attention to achieve this kind of transition.

The message was reinforced again that our purpose as part of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps is not to win business for the company.  Instead it is a corporate social responsibility initiative that aims to bring about lasting change for communities in developing markets whilst providing global leadership training for the IBM team.

We finished the morning with a security briefing with further advice on sensible precautions that need to taken. Although the security issues facing the country remain a concern, most of the restrictions are based on a common sense approach that should be applied in any major city where you stand out as a visitor in a foreign country. So far my experience of the South African people has been that they are extremely friendly and usually smiling 🙂

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