Categories: NewsPublished On: 11th July 2024

Nedbank and Partners in Agri Land Solutions inspire the Mpumalanga farming community to be responsible leaders

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Responsible Leadership Symposium attendees

Nedbank recently partnered with agricultural transformation specialists, Partners in Agri Land Solutions (PALS), to host a Responsible Leadership Symposium in White River, Mpumalanga. Held in collaboration with the Stellenbosch University Business School, the session sought to bring farmers together and inspire them to become part of the solution to our country’s land reform and other challenges.

PALS is a non-profit organisation whose key objective is to create an enabling environment to implement innovative land reform and inclusive agricultural growth that supports social harmony.

Distinguished thought leader, businessman, and president of the Institute of Directors in South Africa (IoDSA) Dr Reuel Khoza gave the welcome address on behalf of Mpumalanga PALS. Reviewing the mountain of challenges South Africa needs to overcome to set our economy on a growth path once again, Khoza noted that responsible leadership could not be more relevant than it is now. ‘South Africa’s political leaders are perplexed, bewildered and momentarily motionless and, right now, leading responsibly would be pivotal in addressing the challenges we face. Responsible leadership is responsive, transformational, accountable and chooses to be fair and transparent. By applying these characteristics, our leaders are more likely to act in the interests of the nation.’

Dr Khoza added that equitable land distribution is certainly in the interests of the nation. ‘Since becoming a pal of PALS – or friend of friends – I have learned that the PALS model holds the key to unlocking the agricultural and food security issues confronting our country. By partnering the knowledgeable with the up-and-coming, PALS has created an environment where “all guests can come home to feast”,’ he said.

Various PALS stakeholders shared their experiences and knowledge with guests, including Witzenburg PALS founding member and vice-chairman, Pieter du Toit; strategic partner, Hortgro; and PALS member, the NMTB Nsikhayesintu Trust Project, before Professor Arnold Smit from the University of Stellenbosch Business School began his workshop on responsible leadership.

Professor Smit took attendees through the pillars of responsible leadership and how it can be applied across various aspects of life. ‘Responsibility is about being proactive and considering the long-term and sustainable impact of your decisions and actions; being mindful and relational, in consideration of and collaboration with others; being ethical and acting for the best interest of the common good; and having the integrity to be truthful to our character and values.’

‘In a nutshell the responsible leader is mindful and connected to self, others, work and the world; collaborates with a diversity of stakeholders; makes sound and ethical decisions; and leads change in business and society. This type of leadership can be applied across the workplace, ensuring fair and ethical practice towards people, remuneration, inclusivity, working conditions and the like; the marketplace, including markets, suppliers, competitors, regulators; the environment (infrastructure, technology, land, water, air and waste); and the community, ensuring the best outcomes for organisations, families, neighbours and interest groups’, said Smit.

Nedbank Senior Manager for Enterprise Development Nirmala Reddy noted in her closing speech that responsible leadership is a mindset characterised by a personal sense of responsibility  – a mindset that prioritises lasting global change and a passion for building a better world. ‘It is this personal sense of responsibility that drives us at Nedbank and collectively breathes life into Nedbank’s purpose, which is to leverage our financial expertise to do good’, she said.

Nedbank’s partnership with PALS, which was established in 2022, includes funding for the training of new farmers through an enhanced ‘Next Level Training’ curriculum, which builds on and augments the training facilitated by PALS from 2016.

‘We are extremely proud that this funding has enabled the pioneering work and enriched training that guests experienced first-hand today,’ said Reddy. ‘Our partnership with PALS forms part of our commitment to facilitating transformation in the agricultural sector and the future commercial viability of emerging farmers. This, in turn, is aligned with our goals to contribute positively towards achieving food security, economic growth, job creation and skills development and transfer.’

SAPALS board chairman Dr Heinrich Jantjies said that the event had provided the opportunity to learn and grow together in true PALS spirit. ‘Responsible leaders live, work and lead with a broader vision in mind. They look at the land and see themselves as its stewards. They look at others and see in them stakeholders in a common future. They look at society and see themselves as citizens who contribute to the common good for all. We believe that creating responsible leaders and promoting responsible leadership is the way forward. It is one thing to lead, but it’s another to lead responsibly – and we are proud to have partnered with Nedbank and the Stellenbosch University Business School to inspire our guests to do just that.’

Source: Nedbank

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