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Jagjit Singh’s Inspirational Journey of Hope, Determination and Excellence in The Corporate World: South Africa Award Winning Serial Entrepreneur

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South Africa Award Winning Serial Entrepreneur, Jagjit Singh's Inspirational Journey of Hope, Determination and Corporate Excellence

The journey of life has its own twist and turns, as well as its own highs and lows, but despite all that, some people can still manage to display amazing hope, great determination and a touch of excellence to what they do in the pursuit of their wishes and dreams.

One good example of such people who has shown great willpower regardless of their circumstances until they achieve their goals is South Africa’s award winning serial entrepreneur Jagjit Singh who owns The Royal India Group.

The Royal India Group has business interests across various sectors of the economy including hospitality (high-end restaurants), minerals (diamonds) and energy (petroleum).

Jagjit who is originally from Punjab in India came to South Africa in search of greener pastures after he completed his tertiary education where he studied to be an Electronics and Telecoms engineer.

Even though he is now a celebrated entrepreneur pursuing various business interests in different fields not related to what he studied at school, Jagjit had a tough early encounter with life in South Africa because of hardships associated with culture shocks and unemployment.

Despite having studied for Electronics & Communication Engineering, when he arrived in South Africa, he had to start life as a waiter in an Indian Restaurant and later on rose through the ranks in the hospitality business until he started his own enterprise.

Currently, under The Royal India Group among other businesses, Jagjit runs The Royal India Restaurant, a prime food outlet in South Africa’s flamboyant Sandton suburb.

The restaurant has over the years hosted various prestigious events and is also a favourite venue for filming South African telenovelas such The Family Secrets.

Besides the hope and determination that he exudes in the pursuit of his goals in life, fellow entrepreneurs and even his clientele believes that Jagjit has a rare touch of excellence in conducting his business affairs.

The founder of Lavo Wines who is also the CEO of Polyzomba Rail Contractors which specializes in Rail construction and maintenance, Ms Lerato Pretorious describes Jagjit as a “Royal Man”.

While giving a speech at Jagjit’s birthday two years ago Lerato said “JJ, you are a true Royal Man. You command respect and you are confident. You demonstrate your leadership skills to both well established and new businesses. I admire your hard and smart work.

Such great business leadership and management qualities as acknowledged by fellow entrepreneurs such as Lerato Pretorious and others has resulted in Jagjit getting several awards of recognition for his input to both the field of commerce and society at large.

Recently, a leading business publication, CEO Insights named Jagjit among the Top 10 Indian Leaders in South Africa (2022) and cited him as an entrepreneur who ‘overcame countless challenges before achieving success’.

CEO Insights’s Managing Editor, Sujith Vasudevan, said that The Top 10 Indian Leaders in South Africa is an annual recognition that showcases exceptional Indian origin leaders in South Africa who guide the country’s business landscape to its future by setting benchmarks across several key parameters.

After having survived some serious finance related turbulences in his own life, the award winning businessman also known as the Punjab Boy or JJ now dedicates a part of his fortune to support charitable initiatives that seek to empower communities in the country.

For supporting such noble causes, Jagjit was awarded with the highest Commendation Award of Honour in Karate by the internationally recognized South African martial arts legend and President of Karate South Africa, Mr Sonny Pillay.

This was in recognition for his continued role in sponsoring and hosting the Karate South Africa 101 Charity Awards over the years.

Mr Pillay describes Jagjit as a person with a dynamic personality who never fails to exhibit tenacity, determination and courage despite the turbulent times we live in. He also says that Jagjit has a heart of gold and will give you a t-shirt on his back even if it’s the last one when a friend is in desperate times.

While commenting on his own commitment to charity work, Jagjit says he believes in making a positive difference in the lives of others and credits such good deeds to the helping hand that he has also received from other people during the times when life was hard for him.

Last year, Africa Heritage Society (AHS) in collaboration with the C2C Initiative, the 1873 Network’s Banking on Africa’s Future (BOAF) and Salute the Champions (STC) Initiatives proclaimed his birthday, the 4th of April as JJ Singh Appreciation Day.

In their joint statement, AHS, C2C and STC, said that the JJ Singh Appreciation Day was meant for citizens to reflect on the idea of corporate citizenship and the role played by corporate actors in delivering the promise of prosperous, dynamic, inclusive, and cohesive communities.

Brian Kazungu is an Author, Poet, Journalist, and Technology Enthusiast whose writing covers issues to do with Business, Travelling, Motivation and Inspiration, Religion, Politics, and Communication among others. https://www.amazon.com/author/briankazungu https://muckrack.com/brian-kazungu http://www.modernghana.com/author/BrianKazungu kazungu.brian@gmail.com @BKazungu-Twitter He has written and published several books covering various aspects of human life including leadership, entrepreneurship, politics, personal development as well as poetry and travel. These books are found on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/author/briankazungu

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Who does a President account to in a constitutional democracy?

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Yesterday, Mr. Tichaona Mupasiri arrived late yesterday for the hearing of his application that he launched on 17 December 2021 in the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe (CCZ) under Case Number 34/21 seeking to impeach President Mnangagwa alleging that he has breached his constitutional duties.

The case seems a forgone conclusion as it is unlikely that the Court will live up to its constitutional duty to determine independently and impartially as required by the constitution, whether the behavior of a powerful President like President Mnangagwa in the Zimbabwean context can ever be held accountable for his conduct.

Although accountability of public office bearers is entrenched in the constitution and this is what citizens demand today, it is not easy to realize.

The duties of the citizens in holding the President to account for his conduct are often not generally delineated against a backdrop of lack of information needed to understand how well the responsibilities of public offices are being discharged.

In a constitutional democracy, accountability is an implicit tenet of an accountable, transparent, and open society.

At the core of Mupasiri’s application is an attempt to test what President Mnangagwa knew of the facts and circumstances surrounding the origin and implementation of the reconstruction legislation in relation to SMM and other entities, how he got to know what he has admitted to knowing, what his interest, if any, in the affairs of the targeted entities, and details of his involvement, if any.

According to Manikai, there was a major political fallout between President Mnangagwa and Mr. Mawere that triggered a series of events including the decision to divest the latter of all his companies without compensation.

It is alleged that President Mnangagwa knowingly engaged in a wide-ranging pattern of actions that violate the constitution, laws, government agency regulations, ethical requirements, repeatedly putting his own personal political interests before the public interest.

His coterie of associates including Manikai has directly attacked the rule of law resulting in the creation of two justice systems – one for the President’s allies and one for everyone else.

As part of the systemic attack on the rule of law that began under Mugabe’s watch, the victims have been the very institutions that might hold the Administration accountable including the Courts.

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Did Minister Chitando steal claims? As Welshman Ncube and Prof Madhuku are put in the spotlight

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On 8 February 2022, Minister Chitando who played an instrumental role in the placement of Hwange Colliery Company Limited (Hwange) under the control of a state-appointed Administrator, was in court on allegations that he grabbed 8 mining claims.

The role of one of President Mnangagwa’s blue-eyed Ministers in undermining the rule of law is well established but his direct role in allegedly fraudulently diverting the 8 claims to a company in which he is director was not known until businessman Yakub Ibrahim Mahomed accused him of orchestrating a scheme that resulted in him losing the title, right, and interest in the claims.

In this matter, the role of the leading Zimbabwean lawyers in prosecuting and defending the indefensible also comes under the spotlight.

The VP of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party, Welshman Ncube, and the President of the NCA party, Lovemore Madhuku are acting for Minister Chaitando.

Chitando is accused of grabbing the claims and then re-issuing them to Golden Reef Mining (Pvt) Ltd, where he is a director.

Mohamed owns Anesu Gold (Pvt) Ltd, which he claims in court papers is the registered owner of the gold claims in Mberengwa district, Midlands province, which are also referred to as Mangoro claims.

Mohamed has filed a High Court application seeking to interdict Chitando, Mines secretary Onesimo Moyo, Golden Reef Mining, and Midlands provincial mining director Tariro Ndhlovu from grabbing the mining claims.

The matter was set for hearing yesterday, but High Court judge Justice Rogers Manyangadze postponed it to February 24 at the request of Chitando’s lawyer, Takudzwa Mutomba who indicated that the minister, together with Moyo and Ndhlovu had secured the services of a new lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku who was tied up elsewhere.

Welshman Ncube is representing Golden Reef Mining while Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara is representing Anesu Gold.

In his application, Mohamed said the mining claims were previously owned by, and registered in the name of Start Mining Services (Private) Limited, where he initially had a 70% stake with the other 30% owned by Rugare Gumbo.

Mohamed said he later bought out Gumbo and now owns 100% shareholding of the claims.

It is alleged that in 2018, Chitando sent invoices for Start Mining Services to pay mining fees for the claims.

Fidelity Printers approved that US$6,4 million must be paid to finance the applicant’s operations, including the payment of the inspection fees for the mining claims.

“This arrangement had the approval of the governor of the Reserve Bank and the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Fidelity gave the facility on the strength of clean and unencumbered mining claims following a due diligence process,” Mohamed’s court affidavit read.

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BNM Elite, The Accounting, Taxation, Bookkeeping and Quantity Surveying Consulting Firm Making a Difference in South Africa’s SME Sector

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Brian Kazungu, 27/01/2022

BNM Elite, a Johannesburg based Accounting, Taxation, Bookkeeping and Quantity Surveying consulting firm is making a difference in South Africa’s SME Sector through professional and affordable services to people who are taking the entrepreneurship route.

A black female owned business which was formed by two sisters who are both graduates from the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, BNM Elite helps entrepreneurs with statutory and financial compliance as well as cost assessment on construction projects.

With its motto being: We Analyse, We Standardise, We Restore Confidence, through BNM Elite, SMEs have found a cost-saving way to become professional in their engagement with their stakeholders through keeping books in order and being compliant with statutory bodies.

In many parts of the world, South Africa included, many people venture into entrepreneurship for various reasons but may find the journey to be tough because of lack of knowledge especially on how to plan and manage finances in their operations and projects.

The other challenge with SMEs is that they find themselves failing to comply with various statutory bodies out of ignorance and thus making it difficult for them to get contracts and qualify for tenders.

In response to these challenges, out of their academic training and work experiences, Nompumelelo and Bawinile Nyembe established BNM Elite in order to professionally and affordably assist fellow entrepreneurs to profitably navigate the business landscape.

iniAfrica News’s Brian Kazungu spoke to Nompumelelo Nyembe, the Chief Executive Officer of BNM Elite to find out more about their company and the approaches it is taking in assisting SMEs and other businesses to become successful.

iniafrica news: Would you briefly describe the background and nature of your business?

Nompumelelo Nyembe: BNM Elite is a black female owned business consulting firm specialising in Accounting, Taxation, Statutory Returns, Bookkeeping as well as Management Accounting, Business Consultancy and Quantity Surveying services.

It was established by two inspired sisters, an Accountant and a Quantity Surveyor who both graduated from the University of Johannesburg in their respective fields of study.

iniafrica news: What is the main motivation and major push for you to engage in the business that you are involved in?

Nompumelelo Nyembe: As a business, BNM Elite was formed out of the realisation that there are several opportunities in the market for those people with an entrepreneurial mind-set.

The time that we spent in formal employment showed us that there was still room for us to step into the market as independent service providers.

If you look at it, the world is gradually adopting entrepreneurship and many young people, instead of looking for jobs, they are now opting to start their own businesses and yet quite often, they lack the critical financial knowledge to professionally manage their enterprises.

The same applies to those who have ventured into the construction industry since they also need to understand the cost of their projects through the services of a Quantity Surveyor.

In this regard, we then realised that most SMEs cannot afford to employ on a full time basis the services of an Accountant (Tax Practitioner) or Quantity Surveyor who can assist with financial and cost aspect of their operations and that is why we stepped in to bridge the gap.

We give SMEs and even established business the option to access customised accounting, taxation and quantity surveying services only when necessary and this has proven to be a great cost saving approach for many companies and a source of business for us.

iniafrica news: Which products and services are you offering? Would you describe what each of these products and services is all about and the intended benefit of each of these to your targeted and actual clients?

Nompumelelo Nyembe: We specialise in Accounting, Taxation, Statutory Returns, Bookkeeping as well as Management Accounting, Business Consultancy and Quantity Surveying services.

Every business must be able to establish whether it’s making profit or not. As such, without proper bookkeeping and accounting knowledge, it is difficult to manage and control the revenue and expenses of an enterprise and thus the need to engage us as BNM Elite so that we can help with financial understanding and cost effective approaches.

The same applies to taxation and statutory returns issues since compliance with various regulations is important when it comes to tenders and other big projects. We help businesses to comply with the provisions of various government bodies such as SARS and the Department of Labour etc.

Because of both our academic backgrounds and experience in the market, we have thus managed to identify various challenges being faced by many entrepreneurs and we have also figured out solutions which we can offer to these businesses in order for them to succeed.

It is the same story with the Quantity Surveying service that we are offering. We help individuals, SMEs and big companies to establish the real cost of their projects so that they won’t blindly engage in operations. This saves them time and resources since it helps with making informed decisions

iniafrica news: How has the market responded to your products and services so far since inception and what can you attribute to such kind of a response?

Nompumelelo Nyembe: The market response has been very positive and pleasing. We are excited to continue offering these services because besides the fact that it is a source of income for us, our great motivation is that we are making a difference in our communities through helping other businesses to be professional, efficient and profitable.

Our motto is: We Analyse, We Standardise, We Restore Confidence

We are very excited to see that we have managed to live up to this motto as evidenced by the success stories from our clients and on even our own success stories.

The feedback that we get from our clients and the references which we get through our satisfied customers gives us so much joy and we don’t regret following the path that we took in establishing BNM Elite.

Some of the reasons why we have we have been well received as a company and why we have managed to retain our clients is the fact that we believe that every customer, whether as a business or individual is very unique and deserves customised attention.

We have noticed that besides solving their problems, customers enjoy the way we treat them and that is why they keep coming back and keep on referring others to do business with us.

iniafrica news: What is it that is unique about yourself, your team and your services which sets you apart and which also helps you to stand out among various service providers who are in the same category with you?

Nompumelelo Nyembe: The way we merge our expertise and academic insights into solving our clients’ problems makes us very unique. We also have an inspired, qualified, goal oriented and customer focussed team which ensures that we deliver the best service.

The other thing which makes us unique is the fact that we tailor-make or customise or service to meet the different needs of our diverse clientele. Whether your business is still starting or it has been in operation for some years, we devise a way to attend to your specific needs in a way which helps you to achieve your goals.

iniafrica news: Do you have any background in this industry? If yes, could that have helped you in identifying the business opportunities behind your entrepreneurial drive?

Nompumelelo Nyembe: I am a qualified Accountant and Tax Practitioner with a BComm Accounting degree from the University of Johannesburg. Before we started this business, I was formally employed in the same field and this where I gained the much needed experience to be proficient in accounting and tax services.

The other director who is also my sister is a qualified Quantity Surveyor with a Diploma in Building and a B-Tech degree in Quantity Surveying from the University of Johannesburg as well. She has also been formally employed in companies which handled serious construction projects and this has made her well prepared for any Quantity Surveying task.

The academic backgrounds and the experience that we have has helped us with spotting opportunities and responding to them effectively and efficiently.

iniafrica news: In a world where most people, especially the youth are failing to start and run their own enterprises because of lack of capital, how have you managed to launch and operate this initiative?

Nompumelelo Nyembe: One of the greatest advantages which made us to start despite the usual challenges that most SMEs face is the fact that we are a professional service centred business that does not need too much capital to start a business.

In a professional service business like ours, the biggest resource that is needed is the qualifications and expertise. With these in your possession, you can operate from anywhere.

Our business is different from those enterprises which needs serious investment in equipment which require substantial amounts of money for one to get started.

iniafrica news: It is a fact that the current economic situation globally especially in this industry is challenging. As such, what is it that has helped you as a business to continue operating under some difficult conditions that you have encountered?

Nompumelelo Nyembe:  Yes, the global economic situation has resulted in some loss of jobs but it has also resulted in many people converting their skills and expertise into tools of entrepreneurship rather merely looking for employment.

We help such people to professionally establish their business and this gives us a steady supply of clients.

On the other hand, besides people who starting their own businesses because of the economic situation, we also have medium size and big businesses which can no-longer need or afford the services of a full time accountant or quantity surveyor.

We are the best alternative for such businesses because we only engage them only when they need our services for example when doing statutory returns or financial statements.

iniafrica news: Based on your experience, what advice can you give to unemployed youths and many other job seekers concerning entrepreneurship as a way of creating employment for themselves and others?

Nompumelelo Nyembe: To those with the relevant skills and expertise but who have been laid off, my advice is that they can also consider the entrepreneurship route. Yes, I have heard some people say that entrepreneurship is not for everybody, but I believe that it is worth trying. As you prepare your CV, don’t forget to also try and come up with a sound business plan. If you become entrepreneurship minded, you may realise that the only person you are waiting for is you.

To those who are yet to attend college, I advise them to go for courses which will not make you reliant on finding a job as an employee only. It is also worthy doing course which will enable you to offer a service or produce a product whether you are formally employed or not.

iniafrica news: Where do you foresee your business in the future and what legacy do you want it to leave on earth? Why do you have such convictions?

Nompumelelo Nyembe: I foresee BNM Elite expanding and making a big impact not only in South Africa but across the world.

The world has suddenly become a small global village especially for people who are in the professional service industry like us. As such, we believe that as our clients succeed and grow, no matter where they are in this world, we will also succeed and grow together with them.

We want BNM Elite to be an inspiration to the youths especially young girls that you can pursue your gaols as a woman and still make it.

The questions in this interview are adapted from the book, The SME HANDBOOK written by Brian Kazungu.

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