The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Yes, the Covid-19 pandemic that descended on the world nearly two years ago, and temporarily closed down the South African economy at the end of March last year has seen our lives change in previously unimaginable ways.

We’ve had to master the art of mask-wearing, the discomfort of social-distancing, the panic of home-schooling, the exhaustion of virtual meetings. The worry of job losses and unemployment, reduced salaries, lockdown and curfews.

We’ve had to face the death of loved ones without the privilege of being with them in their final hours. Because as all too many of us have learnt, holding someone’s hand as they pass from this life is indeed a privilege. In-person memorials and funerals have been replaced with limited sized gatherings, devoid of comforting hugs from grieving family and friends.

We’ve started to enjoy sporting events where the familiar sound of stadium crowds are overlayed in the live broadcasts. We’ve witnessed (from a distance) a delayed Olympic Games where the world’s top athletes performed without spectators.

Brick-and-mortar businesses have dramatically evolved to online storefronts. Digital transformation has accelerated at a rapid pace.

Innovation has advanced, yet too many people have been left behind.

Children are still going to bed with empty stomachs. Unemployment has hit record highs. Health resources have been stretched to breaking point. Government coffers are empty – the ANC is effectively broke. Corruption has flourished.

For all the adapting we’ve had to do, the spectre of government corruption still hangs thickly in the air tainting the fight for economic recovery and equitable transformation– scaring off potential foreign investors. Sadly this is not new.

Thank heavens for the broad shoulders of the private sector. How else could it carry the burden of keeping the wheels of industry turning? The responsibility on businesses big and small, on SMEs and entrepreneurs, on Corporates and industry giants has ballooned. The country owes the private sector a great deal of gratitude and respect.

It therefore gives me great pleasure, as the editor of the country’s best-selling English language news title – the Sunday Times – to invite you to join us online at the prestigious Sunday Times Top 100 Companies Awards futured by BCX. It is important that we  celebrate the contributions of the private sector in securing investment, creating jobs, and keeping our economy alive. As such, the Awards acknowledge listed companies that have earned the highest returns for their shareholders over the past five years.

We’ll also announce the Lifetime Achiever and Business Leader of the Year , who will join a long list of esteemed industry icons.

Let’s acknowledge those business leaders with broad shoulders – strong enough to lift the hopes of our rainbow nation.

S’thembiso Msomi.

Date:  Thursday, 11 November 2022

Time: 7pm

Click here to register to watch online>>>