“THE Trustco performance management formula is tried and tested and the company’s achievements are proof that it can be successfully replicated to the national benefit by most, if not all of the current beleaguered state-owned enterprises.”
This was the message of Namibia’s foremost post-Independence entrepreneur and CEO of Trustco Group Holdings (TGH), Dr. Quinton van Rooyen, in Swakopmund.
Dr. van Rooyen was addressing the Chief Executive Officers of the Namibian SOE’s on reforms at The Dome in Swakopmund on invitation of the Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr. Leon Jooste, to allow for open discussion on issues facing the SOE-sector.
Dr. van Rooyen described the initiative as a ‘ground-breaking’ step in the direction of cooperation to improve service delivery and efficiency in and to the benefit of the national household.
He stressed that an improved and profitable SOE-sector can open the gates of development and investment to the SADC Region and can quicken efforts towards economic integration and skills transfer. He was supported in his view by the South-African Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, who elaborated that railway, air services and infrastructure development that cross borders should be targeted for accelerated improvement for the regional and common good.
In this regard, Dr. van Rooyen and Gordhan were amongst international experts for the historic Jooste initiative to ignite a bigger debate and input in reforming SOE’s.
Dr. van Rooyen used the famous Thomas Friedman quote that states: “Pessimists are usually right and optimists are usually wrong – but all the great changes in the world have been accomplished by optimists,” to remind participants that an attitude change is needed before institutional change can be effected.
During a panel discussion where most of the participants directed their questions to Dr. van Rooyen, he warned that the Namibian society should de-politicise service delivery and effectiveness to find sustainable solutions.
In reply to questions from organised labour, he warned workers’ unions that they must watch their language and tone of voice, because militancy sends “shivers” down the spines of potential investors. International investors can’t distinguish between political talk of factions and are easily alarmed.
Dr. van Rooyen demystified generous salaries and said the best companies are usually those that reward best.
“The Deloitte Best Company” to work for placed Trustco under the Top 2 for the past four years, and remains one of the ten best companies to work for. Trustco is one of the Top 10 best performing companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and has a presence in four African countries with World Class National and Continental Assets.”
Dr. van Rooyen said what makes this achievement even more compelling is that Trustco has more than 1 000 employees that are all shareholders.
“Salaries and perks should award initiative and foresight as Trustco appoints staff according to these values in order to secure a constant drive for innovation and creativity.”
His experience to the assumption that high rewards for competent staff contribute to financial ruin, is different, because he rewards skill and commitment generously, but equally has no tolerance for dishonesty.
“The Trustco success rests on three pillars where the tone of the company is set at the top and the creation of an environment that encourages and fuels productivity, accountability and transparency, but to achieve and maintain this, Trustco is prepared to reward generously, but also acts decisively against unproductivity and dishonesty.”
Dr. van Rooyen also referred to the running public battles between boards and CEO’s of parastatals and warned that this is a sure sign of corporate governance failure.
“A Board Chairman is independent and should leave the day-to-day running of their companies to the managers and CEO’s. They should resolve issues in Board meetings as Boards are expected to drive initiatives through the CEO’s from the top.”
Dr. van Rooyen praised Jooste for the initiative to create dialogue between SEO’s, government and the private sector, but warned that initiatives should be followed up and assessed.
“Namibia is in an extremely challenging time, but the challenge should be to move forward, even if it is just a step at a time. There is no more time to waist and to ponder, but the time for decisive leadership on all levels of society has arrived.”
Jooste expressed gratitude that Dr. van Rooyen and Trustco stepped up to the plate to share experiences openly and transparently with the SOE-sector without holding back.
“I am especially grateful for the atmosphere of cooperation and conversation that Dr. van Rooyen set,” Jooste said.