Jacques Pauw’s riveting tell-all book The President’s Keepers exposed the extent of the morass in which the country has found itself. But while state-owned enterprises and organs of state were fingered, I couldn’t help wonder about the knock-on effect of the weakening of our institutions on the broader economy. Little did I suspect that the decline also permeates the private sector. The collapse of Steinhoff on the back of grand larceny by its former CEO has had international repercussions, with global investment banks reporting elevated credit provisions in the first quarter and local investors still reeling from the decline in the value of their investments. At the annual general meeting a Dutch investor made a call for contrition and atonement to the board. Even the chairwoman of Steinhoff International acknowledged that the scandal had led to a trust deficit for the whole of the South African corporate establishment. Since then, we have had well-publicised issues with the Resili...

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