Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) on Tuesday noted and accepted the resignation of tainted management consulting firm Bain & Company from the business body, reiterating its commitment to raising ethical standards in business.
Bain’s decision to separate itself from BLSA comes after it was embroiled in the state capture corruption scandal and subsequently identified in part one of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry into State Capture report– along with former Sars commissioner Tom Moyane – as having “a planned and coordinated agenda to seize and restructure Sars”.
“We reaffirm BLSA’s commitment to ensuring that all those involved in state capture are appropriately held to account,” BLSA said in a statement.
“We hope that as a society we can collectively direct our attention to seeking justice and amends for the damage to our country during the years of state capture and reforming our institutions to ensure it never happens again,” the business body added.
‘We made mistakes’
In a statement released on Tuesday, Bain said its decision to withdraw its membership from the business body was driven by not wanting to “distract from the important work BLSA does”.
In the statement the company apologised for the damage it caused to the revenue service saying that it was an “unwitting participant” and that its engagements with Sars “was a humbling episode”.
“We accept that through various lapses in leadership and governance, Bain South Africa became an unwitting participant in a process that inflicted serious damage on the South African Revenue Service (Sars), for which we apologise,” the company said.
“While we made mistakes in our work with Sars, we remain confident that we did not in any way wilfully or knowingly support state capture at Sars or elsewhere.”
BLSA which is a representative of JSE-listed companies such as Absa, Alexander Forbes, Anglo American and Capitec, had initially suspended Bain’s membership in 2018 after the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into tax administration and governance at Sars found that the company was implicated in the erosion of the entity.
BLSA set on restoration
BLSA says it is committed to restoring the face of business in the country by fighting against corruption and bringing back ethics to business.
“BLSA is widely active in supporting our institutions to recover following the years of state capture. Through Business Against Crime we work alongside our social partners to support the criminal justice system. We remain committed to supporting further capacity building where we can.
“Our goal is to contribute to raising the ethical standards of business. To that end, our members are all subject to our integrity pledge which prioritises the fight against corruption,” BLSA added.