The South African mining sector has faced its own fair share of challenges over the past few years. Changes in economy, complexities with labour, rising costs, and political uncertainty have taken their toll on an industry once known for its stability. In 2020, this picture has slowly changed, in spite of an even more uncertain and volatile situation. Over the past year, mining has been turning around – the lumbering beast slowly gaining momentum in terms of growth and employment.
Using local technology to create relevant solutions for South African public sector and business that will transform industry and economy
It has been a long, hard year for government and citizens alike. The lockdown has placed necessary limitations on business and industry, impacting on service delivery, growth and economy. As the country moves into the second wave of the COVID-19 infection and we remain hopeful, as new vaccines emerge, this is the time to focus on local innovation and technology investment to aid digital transformation and shift the boundaries set in place by the pandemic to ensure business continuity. According to Sina Mvoko, Managing Executive: Public Sector at BCX, it is time for South African innovation to come to the fore and for companies to develop locally relevant solutions that can transform the sector and economy.
The unprecedented level of disruption the Covid-19 pandemic has heaped upon society is not something that should be feared or viewed as a temporary moment in history. This is a pivotal point, one that will make disruption a way of life for the near future and, possibly, forever.
At the Vision Beyond 2020 conference presented by BCX recently, this message was emphasised again and again by speakers and panellists. There will be more disruption, not less, in a post-Covid-19 world. It presents opportunities for meaningful and permanent change and discussions about the economy, health, climate, governance and the work-life balance. Disruption is an opportunity for all to become disruptors.
Change was happening before the pandemic. Last year, 140 000 jobs were lost on the High Street in the United Kingdom. Banks have retrenched staff as fewer customers visited branches. Digital transformation was already affecting the world.
In the age of the pandemic, for retail companies that have dragged their feet rather than sprinting toward digital transformation, itmay already be too late. As “retail futurist” Doug Stephens explains, in response to the restrictions on movement forced upon the market by Covid-19 – lockdown, social distancing, quarantine, self-isolation – “Consumers go looking for alternatives to get them through the short term, but those alternatives may change their behaviour over the long term.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mining sector, with the mining
and quarrying industries contracting by 73.1% between Q1 and Q2 of 2020, contributing significantly
to SA’s overall GDP contraction of some 16.4%. A negative impact on the mining sector is therefore a negative impact on the country. Local mining companies simply cannot afford any further financial shrinkage due to operational closure. Mining executives need to strike the right balance between productivity, cost and specifically safety. Safety is even more paramount, especially now when the COVID-19 pandemic is still rife.
Striking this right balance requires innovative thinking and technology.
The COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to its global health and social impact, has disrupted every business sector in some way. Financial
services companies are faced with several unique challenges, some as a result of the pandemic itself, and others as a manifestation of the heightened pressure on businesses and budgets. This time of rapid change is also an opportunity to respond with innovation and agility, refining and in some instances redefining the financial sector of the future.