Ever since that fateful day in December 2015, when President Jacob Zuma tried — and failed – to make an end run around the Treasury, business leaders have shown a greater willingness to engage on crucial questions of political governance. While the full story of those four days has yet to be told, it is clear that key business leaders played a major role in seeing off the hapless Des van Rooyen and in reinstating Pravin Gordhan. Instances of political activism on the part of business have occurred before, albeit not with quite the same urgency and unity of purpose. It has usually taken the form of a business leader publicly criticising the government only to be slapped down by whoever was in political power. It is then business as usual until the next time, so to speak. The unusual element this time around is that the business activism that flared so dramatically in December 2015 has continued to glow. But business interventions are still largely a counterpoint to the continued effo...

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