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Speech by SEIFSA CEO Kaizer M. Nyatsumba, on the occasion of the presentation of the 2015 company of the year award to Voith Turbo

12 August 2016

Thank you very much, Charl, for the invitation and that introduction. My colleagues and I are delighted to be here with you on this important occasion.

Before I proceed to present Voith Turbo with its richly-deserved 2015 Company of the Year Award, I would like to take a few minutes to talk generally about the SEIFSA Awards for Excellence, by way of context. At a time when the world has become so intricately intertwined in every conceivable way and when globalization and technological innovation are galloping at a frightening and previously unforeseeable pace, innovation remains one of the few possible enduring sources of sustainability, let alone competitive advantage.

We experience phenomenal changes almost on a daily basis. Some of you will no doubt relate to how few of us are able to take full advantage of the technological advancement in our mobile phones, cars and other high-tech products or gadgets, and how often we have to turn to our children for assistance to navigate such innovations.

In their book, No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All The Trends, McKinsey Global Institute Directors Richard Dobbs, James Manyika and Jonathan Woetzel warn about “four forces colliding and transforming the global economy: the rise of emerging markets, the accelerating impact of technology on the natural forces of market competition, an aging world population, and accelerating flows of trade, capital and people.” They stress that any business or country hoping to remain in business or competitive simply has no choice but to understand, embrace and anticipate these powerful forces and to move either in tandem with or, whenever possible, ahead of them.

Innovation, then, is the name of the game. If there is any business out there to which that has not yet become clear, that business is seriously in danger of being left behind.

That is the context in which, two years ago, we launched the SEIFSA Awards for Excellence. We launched these Awards in order to recognize the excellence that we know exists within the metals and engineering sector in Southern Africa, and to encourage many other companies to embrace innovation and to excel. The inaugural SEIFSA Awards for Excellence took place on 27 May 2015 at Emperor’s Palace, on the first day of the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba, and the 2015 SEIFSA Awards for Excellence – at which Voith Turbo was one of the proud winners – took place at the IDC Conference Centre on 27 May 2016, the second day of the 2016 Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba.

There are seven categories for the Awards, and any company in the metals and engineering sector in Southern Africa is eligible to enter. There are clear criteria for each one of these categories and judging panels made of independent experts adjudicate in each category. Those categories are:

  • The Artisan of the Year Award;
  • Health and Safety Award of the Year;
  • The Most Innovative Company of the Year;
  • Best Customer Service Award of the Year;
  • The Most Transformed Company of the Year Award;
  • Best Corporate Social Responsibility of the Year; and
  • The Environmental Stewardship Award.

In addition to these seven categories for which companies submit entries, we, the SEIFSA Executive Committee, also offer what we call the CEO Awards to a member Association of the Year, a member Company of the Year and individuals whose service to the sector deserves recognition. For instance, our former Presidents, Scaw Metals Group Executive Chairman Ufikile Khumalo and Duys Engineering Chairman Henk Duys, were the individuals so honoured for 2015. For 2014, former Cobra Watertech CEO Tubby Boynton-Lee received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

At the SEIFSA Awards for Excellence Ceremony on 27 May this year, your wonderful company, Voith Turbo (Pty) Ltd, was announced as the deserving winner of the SEIFSA 2015 Company of the Year Award. This is an honour conferred on a member company that, in the calendar year under review, has made a significant contribution to Supplier Development, which is key in the equitable and sustainable growth of the country’s economy. Companies are required to spend 3% of their net profit after tax on Supplier (2%) and Enterprise (1%) Development. Although it is not a particular requirement, Voith Turbo was intimately involved in the process of developing five black owned suppliers and invested a considerable amount of time and effort, over and above the financial investment. The manner in which Voith Turbo immersed itself in the development of these small companies while excelling in its own right, made it stand out and earned it this prestigious award.

On behalf of my colleagues on the Executive Committee and the SEIFSA Board, I congratulate Voith Turbo on winning the 2015 Company of the Year Award. We are immensely proud of you and are honoured to be associated with yourselves. May you grow from strength from strength.

In conclusion, if I may, I would like to express the hope that we may see Voith Turbo entering for one or more of the other categories for the 2016 SEIFSA Awards for Excellence, which will be presented a function to take place in April/May next year. We look forward to your company’s continuing involvement in our unrivalled annual conference, the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba.

Congratulations, Charl and your team. Well done.

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