Business leaders slam Zuma

Calls for more leaders to condemn Gordhan’s prosecution.

Prominent South African private sector leaders are starting to voice their disapproval of the current events surrounding Pravin Gordhan, the minister of finance, although there are calls for more to stand up.

The politically-motivated actions by the Hawks have profound economic implications and this will impact every single business in the country.

During the past few days we have seen public responses from leaders such as Saki Macozoma on behalf of Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA), Cassim Coovadia for the Banking Association of South Africa (Basa) and Telkom chairman Jabu Mabuza, who is leading the private sector’s engagement with government following Nenegate.

A tweet from South African business icon Johann Rupert also elicited some debate from other business leaders.

Screenshot 2016-08-25 12.05.31

But there remains a reluctance among some CEOs to comment publicly. Moneyweb has contacted at least four prominent CEOs who have been involved in this process. All declined to comment immediately, but undertook to reevaluate this decision at a later stage.

South African business leaders have to date been very reluctant to voice concerns in public against the political leadership of the country, trying rather to find solutions through private conversations. The most recent example was the hustle and bustle by various senior leaders, especially in the financial services sector, after Nhlanhla Nene was fired as finance minister in December last year.

The business leaders who have commented most, did so through industry bodies which include BLSA and Basa.

Coovadia of Basa released a statement stating: “We should be supporting the minister of finance to address the social and economic issues and challenges impeding the economy in order to facilitate development and stimulate growth – instead of pulling the rug out from under him. This flies in the face of the commitment made by government and the president, in addition to the commitment business has consistently expressed, that they support the minister of finance”.

He added that it was not in the national interest and we remain deeply nervous about the impact this will have on the country and economy, which has already been demonstrated in respect of the decline of the rand in last 24 hours. “We are immensely troubled as this sends out a fundamentally damaging and negative message to ratings agencies, investors and business.”

The Basa statement also addressed President Jacob Zuma directly: “Mr President, our country stands once more on the edge of the abyss. We urge you to act to preserve the unity and progress we have achieved since December by ensuring an end to the harassment, intimidation, and undermining of the leadership of our most important economic governance institutions.

BLSA also issued a powerful statement stating: “No one is above the law. However, the present Hawks’ investigation of the minister’s former role as Sars Commissioner lacks any legitimacy or credibility. It is shocking that our national collective effort to avoid a ratings downgrade and to restore inclusive economic growth is now being so insidiously subverted. If this sinister behaviour is allowed to continue the consequences will be devastating for our economy, and will fatally undermine our national efforts to address poverty, inequality, and unemployment. If there is to be an investigation into this issue, we would urge that this be conducted by a credible institution such as the Public Protector.”

COMMENTS   13

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Where is Lead SA’s voice in this matter, oh I know chasing down some or other mundane and infantile event or calling
Where is a clever attorney when you need one where the nation can start a ground swell to have Zuma impeached and to face his various charges in a court of law. When is SARS going to lumber Zuma with tax evasion and the non payment of fringe benefit tax on his Nkandla compound

Zuma and ANC please carry on as you are. Your self-destruction is assured.

The trouble is so is the destruction of every citizen of this country if he and his supporters stay any longer (with a few exceptions). The ANC can still come right if most of the leadership is changed. There are still wise people in the organization. Many people are beginning to have their doubts whether this is still possible.

Ryk, you said it all yesterday. You’ve added another chunk of truth today.

Got to love how “Bobroff is back in business” is just casually thrown in there.

the destruction of a nation hunger and fear. high prices dont affect the wealth but the poor are sorely tried thus stealing to feed their families and because of that the rich are living in fear.
the sooner big business start exerting pressure and creating avenues of employment the sooner this cycle will break
the sooner those able to exert pressure to rid our lovely country start eradicating those guilty of obvious thieving/state capture/corruption the sooner the poor can be attended to

Well said. It’s like looking through a mirror at other failed states. Zimbabwe went this way, and several other states that ended up as dictatorships where the wealth is reserved for one man and his cow (sorry, wife). SA is, I think, too strong for it to go this way. The justice system, or at least the Concourt, will never permit it. They have already given the clown a severe dressing down. Any more of his nonsense like capturing the Treasury and they will impeach him themselves. Whatever way they choose, the constitution will be preserved. Big business and mining giants will never accept that SA is abused in this way. When they met with the clown last year, they were cautious in their language. This time round they won’t be. Rupert has already spoken – the rest will do so very soon. The rural masses voted ANC this time. Sooner or later (and they do have some smartphones out there) they will also say enough is enough. The metropolitan areas are also lost to the opposition (permanently). Be concerned but don’t worry.

Zuma lied to parliament that Nene was destined for the BRICS bank.

If Gordhan goes then there should be an insistence that Nene resume his old position.

Everyone should always remember this: Zuma’s presidency and all that is associated with it will come to an end. So will the governing party. Probably soon. All things, especially governing politics, will change. Yes they will.

But South Africa, the State, will not. it will continue.

Totally agree with you. The sooner the better.

..continue with whom as the head of state and with what sort of powers ? The constitution has to be revisited and amended.
Currently the president has too much power hence his childish conduct , like a boy with many toys and doesn’t know how to play with them at once.

I will SLAM the clown into a brick wall at Nkandla. After shooting him in the knee caps, IRA style. G-d, But I hate the bugger.

BLSA’s statement must be delivered by hand to Zuma and be explained in the African way. . Zuma doesn’t read newspapers and surely does not know how to operate a magic box( laptop) because he is too busy planning Gordhan’s demise. By the way he mentioned this the other day( …I don’t listen to… or take note of….media reports…)
Never in our wildest dreams have we envisaged the ANC to be the laughing stock of South Africa. Ons kom wragtig elke dag in die skande!! ‘n man wat nie eers syfers kan lees nie. Here help!

End of comments.

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