Bernard Swanepoel: “I have a dream for SA in 2017…” (Spoiler alert: no KPIs…) | Fin24

Bernard Swanepoel: “I have a dream for SA in 2017…” (Spoiler alert: no KPIs…)

Jan 04 2017 14:14

Bernard Swanepoel is the kind of man anyone would be proud to call friend. As I am privileged to do. A business master, brilliant communicator and passionate South African, he is at home in his own skin, comfortable in the company of kings and commoners. Best known for building Harmony Gold from a precarious small producer in the Free State to one of the world’s top five gold miners, after resigning over a matter of honour, Swanepoel has kicked on with a number of successful ventures – and serves in various ways including as President of the AHI. – Alec Hogg

By Bernard Swanepoel

A new year. A time of reflection…a time to think…and of course to dream. And boy do I have a dream….

A dream. Not a set of New Year’s resolutions – the classic “lose weight”, “get fit”, “read more”- type laundry list that I think just by noting will automatically make me “better”.  Also, as my wife Tracey points out in her book on leadership (The Leadership Riptide), Martin Luther King said “I have a dream” not I have a KPI (or a list of New Year’s resolutions, for that matter).

So…here goes:

I dream of a world where young people stand up and sign up to become authentic leaders. Leaders that break the mould. Leaders that inspire, include others and selflessly toil to make their world a better place.

I dream of workplaces, societies and communities of people who first see each other for their potential rather than their difference to another. The poor, the unemployed, the dropout, the illegal immigrant could be the next Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Elon Musk. Who knows?


                                                      Bernard Swanepoel

I dream that as South Africans, with so many reasons to be stuck in our past – we find a way to learn from it and in the process inspire each other to want to work together to make a better future. That we realise we are truly better together. And that together we believe we can create better schools, better educational systems, better health care services that are accessible and affordable. Because if we believe we can – we will.

Jobs! A job is more than just a way to put bread on the table – it’s a journey of lifelong growth, learning and ultimately fulfilment. I dream that every child will have a chance, (in time a fair and equal chance) to find their purpose and fulfil their potential. To work, create jobs for others and decide who and what they want to be.

I dream that we liberate ourselves from the tyranny of labels, titles, chains of commands that separate us from each other and our humanity.

I dream that enough of us still dream…about a better South Africa for all.

  • Bernard Swanepoel is the former CEO of Harmony Gold and Village Main Reef.

  • * For more in-depth business news, visit or simply sign up for the daily newsletter.



Company Snapshot

BizNews Premium
Learn More