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Although South Africa is still dealing with a marriage of third world and first world realities, the most significant dangers of business failure is to increase the quality of lives in a sustainable manner and still be able to make a profit. The preceding is lodged in unrealistic expectations and unaccommodating attitudes by the different strata groups that may hindrance the facilitation and acceptance of the various unique realities of the current situation in South Africa. The current realities are the existence of cultural colonialism; severely distorted levels of inequality; conscious policy measures that have a destructive effect on the development of a free, strong and widely distributed socio-economic bourgeoisie and structure; and Southern Africans in general are confronted by extremely powerful centrifugal forces such as the pressing needs created by poverty and the demands for immediate relief for survival.

The consequences of these are an underdeveloped worker class, a widely distributed spirit of social and salary dependency and an almost neurotic fear of risk and the risk-related challenges posed by the free market. If Southern Africa intends to succeed, fresh and creative management strategies, which will build on mutual foundations of trust is required. Thus, what is needed is a healthy integration of third and first world realities as well as sustainable participation in the global market. By introducing a sustainable supply-demand network management model, quality of life can be improved and sustainable development ensured. Tagliapietra (2003) indicated that through open network relationships businesses could search and obtain resources that it do not possess, gain new information and get hold of new opportunities. Sustainable development through the establishment of open network relationships is not only about compliance concerns throughout business supply and demand networks. It is also a strategic, opportunity-driven approach that can lead to a competitive advantage, for it creates the opportunity for business to take advantage of the knowledge and problem solving abilities of all actors belonging to their supply-demand networks directly or indirectly (Young & Kielkiewicz-Young, 2001).

A range of factors needs to be considered to establish sustainable supply network management in Southern Africa. One is to establish the minimum framework conditions required to ensure sustainable development whilst simultaneously improve the quality of life of all in Southern Africa. These conditions should also spell out the roles of local governments and its relationships with business and other stakeholders. Local governments should therefore engage in an integrative developing process through which issues and sectors in relation to each other is observed and all efforts to address the needs of its communities, especially the poor, are encompassed. Secondly, a need exist to change the relationship between industry and the environment from adversarial to collaborative. In this, business is designated as a leading partner in which environmental protection and sustainable development are shifted to the market, the traditional domain of business, and market-driven instruments. Thirdly, create and mobilize an integrated multi-level implementation process. The success of business initiatives will largely depend on how well actions are managed globally, nationally, locally, at organisational-, departmental- and individual level. The pursuit of finding communally developed objectives or by forming coalitions with other organisations may ensure the survival and growth of a business.

Because South Africa does not operate as a normal market, some social intervention is required especially with regard to business protection and growth. An option for government can be the relocation of certain business clusters into low wage Export Processing Zones (EPZs) that can help to cut wage rates and other export related costs. One option is to enter into sub-contracting relationships with large companies to produce sub-components of final product especially when the manufacturing of components demands labour intensive activities. Another option would be the implementation of social-grants, but what is more preferable is the development of an industry agreed upon and enforceable development value system agreement. The same value system agreement which drove the workability of the American Dream. The same instrument can be used to become the lifeblood of all Southern African people trapped in or not trapped in the claws of poverty.


Tagliapietra, G. 2003. Social capital-diversity dilemma: The impact of cultural diversity on the social capital of Tshwane’s multicultural organizations. (In International Conference on Entrepreneurship: Towards economic independence. Windhoek. Namibia. 17-18 September 2003. p.112-129).

Young, A. & Kielkiewicz-Young, G. 2001. Sustainable supply network management. Corporate Environmental Strategy, 8(3):260-268.

Lizl Steynberg is part of the Centre of Entrepreneurship at Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa. She has published in various accredited journals and has presented various papers at national and international conferences.

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This Entrepreneurship article was written by Lizl Steynberg on 8/19/2005

Although South Africa is still dealing with a marriage of third world and first world realities, the most significant dangers of business failure is to increase the quality of lives in a sustainable m