Sygnia chief executive Magda Wierzycka. Photo: Supplied
JOHANNESBURG - Sygnia chief executive Magda Wierzycka, whose company has been at the forefront of the fight against corporate corruption, earned R3.33million in cash-based remuneration in the year to September, the company said in its annual report.

In the report Wierzycka detailed how the asset management company had played a role in flagging corruption, starting by exposing exploitation of the poor through the unscrupulous business practices of Net1 and challenging its shareholders to intervene.

Wierzycka said Sygnia had also dismissed KPMG as its external auditors after their role in state capture was exposed, adding that acting in her personal capacity, she had taken a stand in criticising corruption in both the public and the private sector.

“We believe that unless corporate South Africa stands up and fights for the restoration of law and order in South Africa we are heading down an economic abyss, with all South Africans becoming progressively poorer,” she said.

Wierzycka, the Sygnia founder, was vocal about the capture of the state by the Gupta family, which has strong links to President Jacob Zuma.

Scathing

Last week, she also spoke out on graft following the implosion of furniture retailer Steinhoff International following accounting irregularities, and was previously scathing towards MultiChoice amid claims of capture of the Communications Department.

Wierzycka said in the annual report that corporate South Africa could not be silent.

“The challenges we face as a country mean the business sector can no longer be silent. It cannot, through commission or omission, ignore the state of the economy, a state caused entirely by the unstable political environment.

“Sygnia has been founded on the core principles of ethical business practices, empowerment of consumers through financial literacy and lowering the cost of saving and investing. Our stance on corruption and business ethics, and a determination to fight for a free and fair South Africa, is consistent with this ethos,” she said.

Subdued

Sygnia grew the assets under management to R184.3billion at the end of September from R158.4bn last year. This despite a subdued investment environment.

Haroon Bhorat, non-executive chairperson, said in the report that the year ahead was set to bring even more challenges and opportunities.

“Emerging-market investors will be monitoring South Africa to determine if the next 12-month cycle will bring a serious improvement in governance, public policy and a commitment to higher levels of economic growth,” he said.

He also said that the company remained confident that Sygnia would continue to be an active corporate citizen, inspiring others to be brave, get involved and stand up for what is right.

“Sygnia’s market disruptor model and its broad-reaching low-cost business strategies will continue to gain momentum, ensuring that the company continues to thrive as it expands its reach and grows its visibility in the South African market.”

Sygnia shares fell 3.53percent to close at R13.40 on the JSE yesterday.

- BUSINESS REPORT