7 March 2012



This open letter is in part a reaction to the “open invitation” in SA’s National Development Plan (NDP) as the National Planning Commission (NPC) states that it fully expects that the NDP will be enhanced and improved through public criticism and dialogue. Aspects of the 2012 State of the Nation & Budget Speeches also moved us into action. A campaign by one of SA’s national newspapers further motivated us to share our experiences and knowledge more widely.

With this open letter we aim to prompt discussions among the SA government, civil servants, business corporations, CSI practitioners, labour, schools & academia, civil society, parents and literally everyone thereby contributing to the shift that has to come into the nation’s thinking. We want to challenge readers to consider that:
  1. The stagnated potential of SA’s youth and the unemployed is, in conjunction with other factors, caused by under-developed will power (volition) and an unmindfulness of their responsibilities.
  2. Disempowerment of the masses and inequality are due to various human-development related issues such as parenting and education and not merely to historical errors or current misconstrued political and ideological arguments. It must also be noted that to change passive individuals into the good/active citizens as espoused in the NDP can take up to 5 years. Quick fixes and Band-Aid-type handouts that do not aim to develop the recipient do more harm than good.
  3. The formulation or improvement of skills audits cannot succeed without jointly considering both the man for the task and the task itself. (Please note that we will talk about “man” but refer to both genders). Only in a correct task-man fit, will employees/labour develop and contribute to the achievement of organisational goals. In understanding and applying the task-man, fit HR managers will be able to use novel interviewing tools to weed out candidates who are unsuitable for a post.
  4. Innovative and entrepreneurial capabilities can be incubated and developed in most individuals. This development has to occur in an eco-system of change, i.e. something like a “human-potential gymnasium” that is free of disempowering dynamics and in which individuals can practise their skills and get appropriate targets that stretch their potential to prevent start-up failures.
The existence of unemployment, poverty, inequality, lack of skills amongst the employed, etc. are well known and many realise that we are sitting on a time-bomb that could destroy our country. The A2BTM Entrepreneurial Transformation Movement (A2B ETM) has however found, as we worked with disempowered citizens for the past 19 years, that South Africans have more power and potential in their pinkies than most of the so-called power giants of the West and the East. We know this because after many tests, trials, and errors we have developed a method that has changed 1000 down-and-out people into successful entrepreneurs. We are not trying to compete with existing models or theories nor are we claiming any new theory. Frankly, our model is based on well-known mind-renewal practises and acts as the puzzle-piece to fit the “what” of human empowerment and development to the “how”.


Background. The A2BTM Entrepreneurial Transformation Movement (A2B ETM) began as a community development project at MEDUNSA Community Services after the demise of Apartheid in SA. The plight of millions of disadvantaged people who were living in poverty became visible only as the new government’s poverty alleviating projects started. We started research into sustainable entrepreneurial and leadership development programmes for humans who are at risk and deprived. After years of pilot programmes and refinements, we found a solution for people to lift themselves out of poverty through the A2B Entrepreneurial and Leadership Development Methodology (A2B methodology). It succeeded in changing dependent receivers of welfare into self-starters, problem solvers, decision makers, and entrepreneurs with a much higher self-actualisation potential. Today, this internationally acclaimed method challenges SA’s current intervention approaches that are little more than handouts that keep people passive, poverty stricken and tempted by criminal activity. (Refer to the sources at the bottom of the letter for more information about the Movement and its CEO: SA Ashoka Fellow, Vivienne Schultz.)

What Do We Do? The entrepreneurial transformation science that we apply is based on an innovative and integrated enterprise, leadership, and skills development and self-actualisation strategy. On the one hand, we train civil society/community practitioners/developers to transform their community development programmes and turn their clients into social entrepreneurs. On the other hand, it transforms markets to generate social change by reducing poverty and unlocking wealth on a local level. Here we establish value chains of research and development, volunteers & citizens, skills development practitioners, marketers, retail markets and corporate markets. We therefore adjust the mindset of those working for change (change agents), assist them in various ways and bring them into a value chain that is established to alleviate poverty by providing products and income-generating opportunities.

Why Does the A2B Entrepreneurial Transformation Science Succeed? We cannot add to the volumes of scientific documentation on one of the basic principles of human life: “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” When humans are not occupied with tasks, we become dependent on others and turn elsewhere for the mental and emotional stimulation and satisfaction that occupation provides. Bobby Godsell observes that we must remember that being Homo Faber (man the maker) is just as important as Homo Sapiens (man the knower). The foundation from which the A2BTM methodology operates is that humans are occupational beings, everyone with their own level of Occupational Intelligence (OI). The A2B ETM has found that the traditional IQ & EQ are not sufficiently outcomes based to measure our development as occupational beings. Therefore, we researched and developed the concept of OI that measures a person’s ability to perform a task. The A2BTM science that measures and improves OI is based on the confluence of various disciplines such as Occupational Science, Neuroscience, Entrepreneurial Studies, and other facets of the human sciences. 


    To prevent this document from becoming a lengthy academic treatise, we will only cover a few aspects in which we want to challenge our nation’s thinking.

Volition and Responsibility
A horribly misinformed stereotypical view claims that the high unemployment rate of SA’s youth is due to laziness and the unwillingness to work. This is not true! What is true is that the ability to work is influenced by a person’s will power (volition). SA needs to recognise that each person has particular knowledge, experience, culture, religion, ability, emotions and psychological processes that all need to work together to mobilise them into value-adding action. Trying to move them ahead by only offering external incentives (carrot & stick methods) will never stimulate internal volitional development. We need to understand that vlition is:
  • the ability to make conscious choices or decisions and exercising the will, and 
  • a cognitive development process that, like a jet engine, propels a person to engage in action and respond to life's demands

Developing human volition - and therefore potential - is central to enabling people to work and live productively and in dignity. Regardless of constitutional rights or governmental promises and plans, humans will never be in the position to exercise those rights or responsibilities or partake of promises and plans, if we do not know how to apply and grow what we are offered. Passive recipients who are constantly being offered external motivators are unable to respond to challenges or work together as teams because their main motivation is on greedily competing for more undeserved rewards. Government, Business & Labour cannot run the country’s labour force or human resources on external motivators. They urgently need to develop the volition and OI™ of their employees.SA will, not in a million years, unlock her human wealth, produce goods, or add any value to society or markets unless we learn to “spark” human volition. This is one of the main causes why so many clinical interventions by governmental health and developmental practitioners and civil society fail. It is also, why CSI funds - particularly those that feed external needs without also developing humans - seemingly vanish down a black hole of inefficiency.
Volitional development ought to be addressed as a fundamental cross-sectional outcome in schools and universities now so that today’s scholars and students do not become tomorrow’s unemployed. However, as our labour force is the largest demographic determinant, public and private bodies need to understand how to develop volition, which will in the end facilitate speedier skills development.

SA has experienced decades of bureaucratic, legally enforced, and will-power negating measures. Therefore, volitional development will not be a quick fix, magical miracle method that provides results overnight. SA must be prepared to walk a disciplined, medium term journey of strict planning, budgeting, and action. We must re-engineer every educational, social developmental and economic system so that it ignites the volition of the nation. We must stimulate “I can” challenges, willpower, passion, and enthusiasm to drive the country forward dynamically.

Disempowerment and Inequality
The bane of poverty-stricken people is that they do not always have the volitional strength, (and its sub-components of knowledge, capacity, or ability) to identify and use opportunities to get out poverty on their own. Colonial and Apartheid practises to advance one group above others have caused multiple problems. However, the country cannot continue to blame these practises as the prime reason why people are still locked in poverty today. In our research and experiences, the A2B ETM has found that a combination of certain factors perpetuate the historically created problem. The factors that prevent the masses from achieving independent socio-economic freedom are:

•    parenting that is oblivious to human development factors,
•    certain cultural traditions that work directly against human development,
•    party politics instead of public servanthood,
•    poverty and
•    perpetrating human development professionals.

Greed, dishonesty, abuse of power & status and materialism, mostly driven by the above disempowering perpetuating factors, have divided society today and caused untold suffering. Due to these factors, inequality and loss of the human dignity particularly among woman, people living in rural areas and the youth, scars the face of the nation.

BBEEE endeavours are noble in the intent of giving equal access to resources but fail miserably in the internal volitional development of individuals that is such an important prerequisite for the growth of the whole nation. Legally enforced affirmative action does serve to speed up equal development. However, if it is seen as the sole vehicle that will take previously disadvantaged managers and workers to their destination, it will fail. Without considering the ubiquitous threats to empowerment, the country will be like a taxi without wheels.

Should any of the nation’s current efforts, by chance, succeed in getting people internally motivated to stand on their own two feet, they still need ongoing volitional provoking, coaching and multifaceted development This is to be given by competent change agents that are trained in recognising the different levels of whole brain development.

The disempowered suffer from the lack of self-esteem and from anxieties, idealisms, and despondency. They have no hope for a better future. Where people have no hope, they develop a victim-mentality and regress into the entitlement syndrome (a chronic volitional pathology that is most likely worse than any other chronic disease) and will remain dependant on others their whole life. Chronic dependent people (with an “I can’t” mentality) in the country are consumers, not creators, and are a danger to society as they lose their conscience and are unpredictable. In our research in 2010 the A2B ETM found that approximately 85,4% of the population are functioning on an occupationally dependent level, while only 14,6% are on independent occupational levels.

Community workers confirm that they daily see worsening levels of dependency and the break down in values. However, because most community workers and NGOs are not equipped to penetrate something that is seemingly incomprehensible, they too are unable to treat the disease. Community workers are becoming progressively drained by or hardened against the very people that they are to help. Numerous doctors working in rural clinics admit that they don’t have any hope for their patients who cannot even take the responsibility of adhering to their medication routine. Little is accomplished because most helpers, when they try to address the problem, get impatient and do the work that the clients are supposed to do for themselves. The end-result is burnout and prescribing quick fix, band-aid type handouts that merely serve to look good in reports and budgets.

What is needed is a complete paradigm shift in the values of South Africa's social, government, corporate, educational, and developmental social systems. We need to consider that dependency, in the vocational context, speaks of one person being dependent on another person for any and all form of aid or supervision in the workplace.

The mind-set of dependent people keeps them in a default position as consumers while independent people are the creators. To change passive consumers to active creators - and the country to a global economic giant - we need to grow people with:

•    Internal Willpower
•    The Ability to Analyse & Synthesise
•    Pro-active Decision Making Ability
•    Problem Solving Ability
•    Response-Ability (Ability to Respond Appropriately to Life's Demands)
•    Self Discipline (Ability to Maintain Values & Morals)
•    The Ability to Take Initiative

Skills Audits & Interviews: Fitting the Task to the Man
Our nation’s attempt in providing jobs for everyone is beginning to bear fruit. However, the issue at hand is not just the availability of jobs but the skills of those employed in the jobs. We cannot develop the skills of our human resources without having pre-assessed the individual’s OI level on the task in relation to the standards for the task. Untold damage was done to the public image of government departments and parastatals (whom are becoming the preferred places of employment amongst students today) because the focus was on employment without norm-compliance skills development. The growth of SA’s manufacturing sector is dependent on developing skills. However, the skills of our labour force will never be developed to make us competitive in the global markets if we continue to outsource to China or elsewhere. The A2B ETM has developed tools, which can measure the task-man fit, as we call it, for workers and managers at all OI levels. We can determine where abstract or concrete thinking is required and have found that transition to abstract thinking should be addressed at school levels. This will contribute to a higher university pass-rate and employability of graduates. The A2B skills audits accurately pinpoint gaps in individual’s occupational intelligences, not for the sake of producing nice-to have assessments, but to show where the person is “stuck” and how to “crutch” them to move towards the next achievable point.

The task-man fit understanding offered by the A2B ETM is the golden answer to the empowerment and development conundrum. It is also the key to choosing the correct people for every job; ensuring that tasks get completed successfully and that people are crutched (supported) to prevent failure in performing the task successfully. Understanding the task-man fit will help parents, teachers, employers, managers, and community workers to pitch their expectations correctly to ensure success and thereby contribute to the growth in human identity, dignity, and empowerment. Traditional methods that are used in job interviews to determine the correct task-man fit are tests that discern external competencies such as the individuals’ impressive paper certificates, his impeccable dress sense and verbal ability to sell himself. These cannot stand up against an A2BTM assessment toolkit, which provides an accurate measurement of the volitional and OITM requirements of the job task, and giving a more accurate assessment of the interviewee to determine whether he is suitable for the job.

Developing Entrepreneurial & Innovative Skills in a Safe Environment
The A2B ETM challenges the thinking of many who say that only certain people can become innovative entrepreneurs or job suppliers. In a Sunday Times article, The Franchising Association of SA mentions the success of the major food franchises and that the results are mainly due to correct training and support. This proves the point that we made earlier of the power and potential of South Africans. Patrice Motsepe also believes that we have a country of exceptional business and entrepreneurial talent in both black and white communities. The problem therefore is not the lack of innate ability but the lack of support and enabling links/relationships. This is what Zwelinzima Vavi observes to be one of the measures required to improve the employment rate, i.e. the development of a national innovative system linking state entities, education, training & research institutions, and the private sector. He further mentions the promotion of collective forms of ownership like cooperatives and SMEs through access to capital or credit, equipment, technology, markets and skills.

Developing entrepreneurial & innovative skills in the SME sector is crucial. Through our research, and in piloting and honing our entrepreneurial and leadership development programmes, the A2B ETM fundamentally subscribes to eco-systems of change. It is an environment or milieu that is pre-designed to foster and drive change and empowerment. It is designed to encourage the essential dynamics to combat anti-developmental behaviour and enable the development of OITM. We have designed a safe environment where people can fail, learn, grow and be exposed to tough real-life situations in a measured way that stimulates development and work experiences. The A2B ETM has also piloted this in its Amajobjob Hub and is looking for partners to help set up “A2B Transformation Centres of Excellence”.


The volatility of SA politics and its competing ideologies makes for sometimes interesting and sometimes frightening reading. Patrice Motsepe warns that the inability of Business to impact the lives of all our people directly and positively is at the root for the calls for nationalisation. Despite the fact that it has failed elsewhere, people will still vote for it if they do not see that current policies are working for them. Bobby Godsell asserts that we better find a new balance between the demands of economic growth and the need for social cohesion between competitive, dynamic economic markets and a robust social structure. He says that we need a wealth creation strategy that puts human energy, creativity, and responsibility at the centre of our economy. Zwelinzima Vavi opts for a strong developmental state and to change the pattern of economic development. Cyril Ramaphosa calls for us to concentrate our efforts by taking responsibility to contribute in whatever way we can to alleviate the problem. The NDP opts for the active participation of all for growth, investment and employment; higher standards of education and a healthy population; effective, capable government; collaboration between the public and private sectors; and good leadership in all the sectors of society. Both the State of the Nation and Budget Speeches allude, amongst other things, to the improvement of infrastructure and education. Our famed Constitution embraces the restoration of human dignity, improvement of the quality of life of all SA citizens, the freeing of the potential in each person and equality in race and gender.

In reading about the hopes and plans for our nation, the A2B ETM is “Proudly South African”. One thought that is mentioned above, is however overlooked by Government, Business, Labour and most of Civil Society. It is the freeing of the potential in each person. In all A2B ETM programmes throughout SA, we grow the volitional and skills potential of the individual – the “how” of all the “‘what” that needs to be done to break the entitlement syndrome, the noose of poverty and the threats to the empowerment of each SA citizen.

The A2B ETM invites Government, Business, Labour, and Civil Society to partner with us in rolling out our internationally acclaimed A2BTM methods within your spheres of influence and invite you to comment on this open letter.

Runa Prinsloo
Writer for A2B ETM
{For Media Enquiries Only}: Email:

pp Vivienne Schultz
Social Entrepreneur & CEO of E Hubs Africa
Sect 21 Company trading as The A2BTM Entrepreneurial Transformation Movement. 2007. PBO: 930027931. NPO: E-Hubs Africa 065-493-npo. PO Box 26877, Monument Park, 0105. Email:

As Mrs Schultz travels and is occupied in training countrywide, all non-media related enquiries about training, book purchases,  non-media meetings with Mrs Schultz and other comments and queries are managed by Moreblessing Ndudzo; A2B ETM Relations Manager. E-mail:, 

Further Reading (Currently under construction)
Book: From Dependency to Dignity, Schultz & Buys. Purchase from

Copyright and Trademark laws apply to the A2B system and Occupational Intelligence. The A2B methodology Intellectual Property rights are registered to Vivienne Schultz/A2B ETM

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