Hilary Joffe Columnist

Has the South African market become a graveyard for the global reputations of companies that enter the market without taking account of its sensitivities or its politics? Over the past week Swedish retailer H&M has been in the spotlight globally and under attack from the EFF locally for the racism of its "monkey in the jungle" advert, while London-based law firm Hogan Lovells has been in the spotlight at the House of Lords for an investigation its local office conducted for the South African Revenue Service (SARS). It was an investigation that, said Lord Peter Hain, enabled "a corrupt money launderer to be returned to his post as second in command of the critically important SARS". H&M and Hogan Lovells are both relatively recent entrants to the South African market, which is seen as a platform for expansion into Africa. They sure have been making a name for themselves lately in these markets, but not in a good way.The racism tag is a disaster for a retailer that’s trying to build i...

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