March 15 saw the “release” of the much-anticipated PwC report on what went wrong at Steinhoff. The current Steinhoff board indicated that it would not release the entire report, which is supposedly 15,000 pages long, but would publish an abridged version. And so it did. The problem lies in the interpretation of the word “abridged”. Whereas the SA public expected an expose, they received a few pages of illegible “accountant-speak”, with no clear confirmation of who did what. Perhaps it was naïve to expect more, but given the massive scale of value destruction, which touched almost every South African who had some savings, one would have hoped that the board would consider the “human” aspect of this tragedy. Unfortunately, it did not. Instead the only thing it considered was its legal obligation and potential personal liability. The duties of directors are codified in the Companies Act, which states that directors must exercise their powers and perform their functions in good faith an...

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