14 December 2017

South Africans Should Unite to Fight Poor Governance in Public AND Private Sectors

Photo: Courtesy of Steinhoff International
Steinhoff International CEO Markus Jooste resigned with immediate effect after the retail giant's admission of financial irregularities that led to an investigation, and a drop of more than 60% in its shares.
press release

Statement from Mr Nyami Booi MP, ANC Whip on Scopa:

South Africa's established corporate sector, which has made hay for itself while the sun shines under the ANC government since 1994, must be brought to the table of accountability for the inequity in society today.

Steinhoff's accounting "mistakes" – at a staggering cost of hundreds of Billions of Rands to its shareholders, including South Africa's poor – should be seen in their proper context: Against the backdrop of widespread poverty, unemployment and indignity for millions of black citizens.

While government, with limited resources, has accepted its constitutional responsibility for the delivery of basic services to all people – with its spending under the microscope of parliamentary committees such as Scopa, a hostile opposition and media – the corporate sector, with seemingly limitless resources and subject to no public scrutiny, has quietly flourished under the new constitutional order.

Not always as ethically as they self-righteously proclaim…

Steinhoff's "mistakes" must be investigated by the appropriate regulatory, parliamentary and criminal agencies. As must allegations of corporate shenanigans by the likes of Naspers' Multichoice be investigated. As must Oakbay's…

I will be caucusing with my Scopa colleagues and my comrades on other parliamentary structures, such as the Finance Committee, on the most appropriate avenues available to parliamentarians to protect the assets of the Public Investment Corporation and Government Employees Pension Fund.

Questions should also be asked about asset fund management, and the due diligence responsibilities of managers.

But beyond that, the Steinhoff story screams for the need for the ANC, other political parties and civil society to unite to jointly develop the means to address inequity and corruption.

We must fight corruption in both the public and private sectors with every sinew of our beings, but we should not allow issues of public sector governance to de-focus us from our primary task of building a country that cares equally for all of its people.

South Africans must be wary of failing to build non-racialism. It is critical that we work together to develop our country while protecting the poorest of the poor.

It is my Christmas prayer that South Africans will rise above themselves to develop a new collective understanding of our responsibilities, and the necessity, to transform the economy.

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