South Africa rules out 2020 Olympic bid
South Africa has today sensationally ruled out bidding for the 2020 Olympic Games in favour of improving “basic service delivery” in the country.
In a spectacular U-turn, chief government spokesman Jimmy Manyi told the media that “the decision taken by cabinet is final”.
Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and in particular Durban were all said to be interested in bidding to become the first African host city of the Olympics, boosted by the success of South Africa’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup.
Only in March, South Africa's Sam Ramsamy, a member of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) ruling Executive Board, stated: "We presented the bids by the three cities to the [South African] government and we are awaiting the decision on which one of the trio will succeed. The outcome is expected next month and Africa is definitely in the race for 2020."
However, the cabinet turned down a request by the South African Sports Federation to host the bid and instead will concentrate on rolling out services and amenities in deprived communities.
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The lack of water and electricity in some communities has led to angry protests over the last few years, as a debilitating unemployment rate has also taken its toll.
"Job creation is going to be a serious issue," said Manyi. "That is where the focus is going to be. So if any money is going to be spent, it's going to be on basic service delivery."
"Cabinet has not taken this decision lightly. It has considered the whole view of the euphoria of the World Cup and the gains that we still have to consolidate on the World Cup," said Manyi.
"But more importantly, cabinet has felt... that it's better to rather focus the energies of the rest of the country on the basic service delivery - 'Laser approach' is the new terminology now in terms of what is going to be happening."
Manyi admitted that the amount of cash needed to host the global sporting event was factor in the decision.
"The financial implications indeed were considered but the key issue here in cabinet is on a laser focus. Cabinet does not want anything that can be interpreted to be a distraction of what this government must achieve."
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.