Thulani Gcabashe. Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Thulani Gcabashe. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

The Black Business Council (BBC) has called for "harsh action" to be taken against the former chairperson of the Imperial board, Thulani Gcabashe, following Mark Lamberti’s resignation as CEO.

While the BBC welcomed Lamberti’s resignation from Imperial and as a board member of both Eskom and Business Leadership SA (BLSA), the council also called for action to be taken against Gcabashe for siding with Lamberti.

"We would also like to acknowledge and thank the companies for taking a firm position against sexism and racism. These companies have demonstrated that they could not harbour a racist and sexist in their mist," said BBC CEO Kganki Matabane in a statement on Thursday.

This comes in the wake of the recent ruling in the High Court in Pretoria that found Lamberti had discriminated against a former employee, Adila Chowan.

"The BBC is disappointed with Gcabashe as we expected him to be a progressive agent of change in companies," Matabane said.

"Chowan turned to Gcabashe twice for help. She wrote two letters to Gcabashe pointing out unacceptable behaviour by Imperial CEO Lamberti and another executive, Ockert Janse van Rensburg. Gcabashe did not only dismiss her charges but subjected her to a disciplinary process for raising the grievance in a behaviour characterised by the judge as somewhat irrational."

The court found that Lamberti had wrongfully impaired the dignity of former Imperial employee Chowan by referring to her as a "female employment equity candidate".

Chowan was fired in 2015 following allegations of misconduct. She was summarily suspended and investigated after she laid a grievance about Lamberti’s comments.