For reasons I have never quite understood, SA has long prided itself on its corporate governance standards. But our confidence in the capabilities of our corporate directors is plummeting. Maybe we’ve been wrong all along. One way you can see the faltering faith is the World Economic Forum competitiveness rankings. These reflect the self-image of corporate leaders by asking them what they think of aspects of their own countries. According to them, SA has gone from having the third most effective corporate boards in the world to 34th from 2016 to and 2017. The strength of our auditing and reporting standards has collapsed from first in the world to 30th. Those figures are now dated, resulting from an opinion survey in the first half of 2017. In the light of the Steinhoff debacle, which began at the end of that year; the serious questions about Resilient we are grappling with; the accounting failures related to those and other examples; and outright illegal activity emerging at small ...

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