Few things have the capacity to polarise society more than discussions about the politics of proximity and the perils of association. In February Business Unity SA (Busa) president Sipho Pityana accused Sandile Zungu, president of the Black Business Council (BBC), of aiding and abetting state capture through the organisation’s structures. In Pityana’s assertion, as the political fortunes of former president Jacob Zuma soared so did the BBC’s complicity in enabling state capture through the elevation of “many incompetent and underqualified lackeys to boards and executive positions”. Pityana further alleges that the BBC became a “body for the condonation, defence and justification of corrupt and unethical practices”. In simple terms, Pityana accuses Zungu and the BBC of the sins of commission. While the BBC is indeed a lobby group, just like Busa, Pityana believes the proximity of its office-bearers to Zuma meant they were captured by association. Given the tenuous history between the...

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