Verbatim statement released by the Black Business Council:
On Friday the Black Business Council met the chairman of Nedbank, Dr Reuel Khoza, to seek and gain a better understanding of the thinking behind his seminal statement on ethics and corporate accountability as contained in the Nedbank annual report.
The Black Business Council admires Dr Khoza, whom it considers a true patriot, a pioneering black corporate executive and one of South Africa's most eminent business leaders. He has indisputable credentials as a catalyst and agent for positive change in society. Hence we have deep appreciation and support for his contention that business leaders have a duty to initiate and participate in any public discourse that seeks to strengthen our country's political economy.
However, the Black Business Council is not convinced of the wisdom of choosing to use the medium of the Nedbank annual report, a publicly-listed company, to launch a full frontal assault on our political leadership, in government or elsewhere, especially using sophisticated, yet uncharacteristically uncouth corporate language.
Most importantly, we believe the attack, perceived or real, on our government was unjustified and untimely, because the government, under the leadership of President Zuma has been very open and amenable to a constructive, yet frank dialogue with all social partners, including organised business.
We believe that the grave reservations that Nedbank may harbour about how our country is led, could have been raised more constructively in its regular engagements with the Registrar of Banks and Treasury, and perhaps through the associations that it is ultimately affiliated to.
Further, given that the current administration has given impetus to the strengthening of Nedlac as a forum for multi-lateral social dialogue, we believe this institution could also have been used more effectively to explore and debate Dr Khoza’s and Nedbank's assertions.
The Black Business Council laments and frowns upon the death of decorum in engagements among leaders in our society, and appeals for a measured approach to public conversations, debates that are free of profanities in assertions and counter assertions.
The Black Business Council has a lot of confidence in the quality of the leadership in government, yet we do not agree with them in everything they do. For example, we genuinely believe the government can do significantly more to improve the overall climate for improved and sustainable business confidence in South Africa and to alter, once and for all, the entrenched colonial and apartheid patterns of ownership and management of the South African economy.
That notwithstanding, in our numerous and regular engagements with various arms of government, the Black Business Council has found a leadership that is morally committed to a vision of a better life for all, which it hopes to achieve through transforming, developing and growing the economy, fighting poverty, reducing inequality and creating employment, whilst fighting corruption.
We, the Black Business Council have committed ourselves to walking the long walk and to work with government as we impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of its numerous implementation tools and systems. We will fight for inclusive growth, whilst maintaining and preserving decorum that is vital in public discourse, especially between government and business.