Johannesburg - Several prominent business leader have signed a CEO Initiative Pledge that is against corruption and what they call “politically motivated prosecutions”.
In a statement issued over the weekend, the business leaders – in a list of a veritable who’s who of South African leaders – commit to do the right thing, and reject what they see as wrong.
The list of what they see as right, and for which they stand, includes the Constitution, good governance, a vibrant democracy as well as “fast and inclusive economic growth”.
The leaders add they stand against “injustice, including failures to investigate and prosecute prima facie wrongdoing and any selective, malicious or politically motivated prosecutions that cannot satisfy the public interest test”.
They also stand against “corruption, graft and waste in both private and public sectors, threats of violence and violent protest, the damage to growth, job creation and transformation caused by policy uncertainty and by self-seeking behaviour in both the private and public sectors [and] persistent unfairness and inequity in the economy”.
In the statement, the leaders says, since the National Prosecuting Authority announced its charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in the public arena, they consider it their right and duty to respond in public.
On November 2, Gordhan is due to appear before court on charges of fraud over allegations that he illegally authorised an early retirement and established an illicit investigative unit when he headed the South African Revenue Service. This has been viewed as a continuation of the tussle between President Jacob Zuma and Gordhan over control of SA’s finances, which is coming to a head.
On Wednesday, he will also present what many view as his most important mini budget ever.
The leaders, joining a growing list of those standing against Gordhan being prosecuted at a time when the economy is in a fragile state, add “we stand as one for the rule of law and against the decision to prosecute the Minister of Finance on charges that are, according to the preponderance of expert legal opinion, without factual or legal foundation and not in the public interest”.
They add: “We stand against the damage this has caused to our economy and to the people of South Africa, especially the poor.”
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has described Gordhan’s recent spat with the National Prosecuting Authority as worrisome to most sectors of the economy. He said he had no doubt that Gordhan remained committed to building a better country for all South Africans.
After the announcement that Gordhan was being charged, former chief executives of Standard Bank and retailer Massmart, lauded Gordhan as an “outstanding” political leader. “We have no doubt about the need for his critical leadership at this time of vital economic importance,” they said. “South Africa’s democratic transformation cannot afford to have a man of Gordhan’s abilities distracted or sidelined.”
The business executives said ratings agencies wanted to see a better economic growth outlook and reforms to sustain faster economic growth over time and improvements in the management of state-owned enterprises.
Who signed the pledge?
Anglo American, Mark Cutifani
AngloGold Ashanti Limited, Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan
Asisa, Leon Campher
Aspasa & Sarma, Nico Pienaar
Aveng, Kobus Verster
Bain & Company, Vittorio Massone
Barclays Africa, Maria Ramos
Bid Corporation, Brian Joffe
Blue Label Telecoms, Mark Levy
Business Unity South Africa, Khanyisile Kweyama
Business Leadership South Africa, Thero Setiloane (on behalf of member companies)
Black Business Council, Mohale Ralebitso
Bowman Gilfillan, Robert Legh (Chairman)
Capitec Bank, Gerrie Fourie
CEO Initiative, Jabu Mabuza (Convener)
Chamber of Mines, Roger Baxter
Credit Suisse South Africa, Rick Menell (Chairman)
Dimension Data Middle East & Africa, Grant Bodley
Discover, Adrian Gore
Distell, Richard Rushton
ENSafrica, Michael Katz (Chairman)
Exxaro Resource, Mxolisi Mgojo
FirstRand Bank, Johan Burger
Goldman Sachs, Colin Coleman
Growthpoint Properties, Norbert Sasse
Hollard Group, Nic Kohler
Imperial Holdings, Mark Lamberti
Independent, Michael Spicer
Investec Bank & Investec, Stephen Koseff
Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Nicky Newton-King
Kagiso Tiso Holdings, Vuyisa Nkonyeni
KPMG Southern Africa, Trevor Hoole
Liberty Holdings Group, Thabo Dloti
Life Healthcare, André Meyer
Lion Pride Investment Holdings Ltd, Geoff Rothschild
Mediclinic SA, Danie Meintjes
Menston Holdings, Stanley Subramoney
MMI Holdings Limited, Nicolaas Kruger
Mondi Group, David Hathorn
Mr Price Group, Stuart Bird
MTN SA – Phuthuma Nhleko (Chairman) and Mteto Nyati (CEO)
Murray & Roberts Holdings, Henry Laas
Nampak Ltd, André de Ruyter
Nando's, Geoff Whyte
Naspers, Bob van Dijk
Nedbank Group, Vassi Naidoo (Chairman)
Nedbank Group, Mike Brown
Netcare, Richard Friedland
Northam Platinum, Paul Dunne
Old Mutual, Bruce Hemphill, Dave Macready and Ralph Mupita
PG Group, Charles Bromley
Pick n Pay Stores, Gareth Ackerman (Chairman)
Pioneer Foods Group, Phil Roux
Primedia Limited, Roger Jardine
RCL Foods Limited, Miles Dally
Remgro Finance Corporation, Jannie Durand
Reunert, Alan Dickson
Richards Bay Minerals, Mpho Mothoa
RMB Holdings and RMI Holdings, Herman Bosman
Rothschild, Martin Kingston
Safika Holdings, Moss Ngoasheng
Sanlam, Ian Kirk
Sappi, Steve Binnie
Sasol, Bongani Nqwababa & Stephen Cornell
SEIFSA, Kaizer Nyatsumba
Shell Downstream South Africa, Bonang Mohale
Sibanye Gold, Neal Froneman
South32, Michael Fraser
Spar, Graham O'Connor
Standard Bank Group, Ben Kruger & Sim Tshabalala
Sun International, Graeme Stephens
T-Systems South Africa, Gert Schoonbee
Telkom SA, Sipho Maseko
TFG, Doug Murray
The Banking Association South Africa, Cas Coovadia
Tower Property Fund, Marc Edwards
Twinsaver Group, Garth Towell
Webber Wentzel, Christo Els (Senior partner)
Woolworths Group SA, Simon Susman
Woolworths Holdings (Australia), Ian MoirIOL