Over time and even to this very day one is often told, if not advised, to build and have as much network and connection as one possibly can and this could range from social, family to business connection.
This is mainly because networking and having connection of some sort has now become the order of doing business in the 21st century. It is, however, surprising (as I would discuss later) that when one uses that same network – whatever the nature of business – one is often accused of or suspected to be involved in criminal dealings and as a result is believed to be conducting some kind of unethical businesses.
A quick Google search has shown that in the Business world – something many journalists may not be familiar with (and bloggers like myself too) – networking is very important as one builds relationships not only to get or attract clients but that one is able to make a mark and build a reputation too. According to Business Know How web site, it is during this networking that people tend to share primary and business concerns, problems that need to be solved, unmet business needs and solutions that one provides which may overlap to others’ needs.
A further search indicated that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others. During the process one has to participate in meetings that “will help you get what you are looking for”. According to the site it is important to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Another important search I came across at the time of writing was that it is important to build connection with “like-minded people with whom you can do business, either now or in the future”. One of the best ways that works is to try to help them as much as they can help you.
I know many would think my statement about the businessman’s deals as now widely reported by Mail & Guardian (here, here, here and here) and Sunday Times (here, here, here, here, here, here and here) since last year – is stupid, sort of, but that is not true.
Shabangu was first exposed by Sunday Times last year after he apparently entered into a lease of a property with the South African Police Services’ boss Bheki Cele and the Department of Public Works. The lease was later investigated and found by the South African Public Protector to have been invalid. The deal, worth R500 million, never went to tender as is required by law, and neither did the police service provide reasons as to why just one sole provide – being Shabangu’s business – was used.
The newspaper claimed at the time that Shabangu appeared to have been “well connected to President Jacob Zuma’s government”. This, the newspaper continued, after he [Shabangu] attended Zuma’s inauguration as a VIP guest, although he denied having used his “political clout to close deals”.
Shabangu told the newspaper that he was a “businessman and not a politician”, and that “not everyone who attended that function was there because of political connections”.
And even if he did, so what? I ask.
This is so because his political connection [to the president or whomever he’s suspected to be connected to] is only speculation and cannot be proved to be true and real. It is only speculation. Again, if he’s politically connected as is alleged by Sunday Times newspaper, is there anything wrong with having such connection/network in high places?
Who doesn’t envy to have such a connection? Show me anyone not wanting that, one who is in some real business and I will show you a true and real businessman or businesswoman who is also a liar
The newspaper said Shabangu was accused of “colluding with bank officials to buy properties on auction and sell them back to the government at a handsome profit, but denied this emphatically”. “Ag no – that is not correct. We negotiated (farm sales) on behalf of the government and were paid a fee – that is all”, Shabangu told Sunday Times at the time when it exposed the R500-million lease last year April.
Many did not and still do not believe Shabangu when he told Sunday Times early this year, January 2011, that hard work got him where many see him today. According to the newspaper report, Shabangu, a professional boxer in the 90s and a father of five, said his “pugilistic skills and the fact that he had never been knocked out in his 21 fights had helped to make him a shrewd businessman”. He said boxing has provided him with the “meal ticket into the cut-throat world of business”.
He did not deny his political connection, saying “I am not going to deny that I am politically connected because one day you are going to see me at a function with ministers. Yes, I know a lot of ministers and they have a huge deal of respect for me”.
From many newspaper reports – being especially Sunday Times and Mail & Guardian – and now especially yesterday’s Mail & Guardian report and that other week’s analysis on how government departments were being skimmed off – I think Shabangu maybe have been treated as some kind of a dodgy businessman. This is because the report mentioned that in a new police deal, Shabangu may have used insider information, inflated figures and that the deal he had won from the department had not gone for tender as legally required. The deal is reportedly about R137-million, 10-year lease, and is for a property that is to house the police’s Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) department, according to Mail & Guardian report yesterday.
That just three month after Shabangu bought the new Vermeulen Street building from Sayed Sai he was then authorised to “negotiate and sign a lease agreement with the department of public works”, according to the Mail & Guardian, indicating that “he was in talks with the department almost immediately after buying the building, if not before”, and that “the department itself did not follow an open tender process and chose to negotiate directly with Shabangu, opening a window for him to be unfairly favoured”. This because Sai told the newspaper that: “I sat with that building for a long time and I couldn’t get a lease”.
I know that that Shabangu chose to do business this way may not be good not only for himself but for his businesses too but it seems everything is now blamed on him and that’s not okay. Or is it? I mean why isn’t much said about how government operates and closes deals such as these?
Assuming that Shabangu was approached by government over the said buildings, was he supposed to reject that business offered and loose on a lot of money?
Or even if he had approached the department offering the property, why didn’t the government reject his offer and tell him to wait until that request has been put for tender?
Isn’t this extensive reporting on Shabangu and his questionable property deals with the police somewhat a vendetta against him? Or was this just an enquiring mind?
Whatever it is, wasn’t he supposed to use his connection – whether political or not – to get business as this is how businesses operate in the 21st century?
And just how else to get business these days if not through connection?