ON THE MONEY
STUART THEOBALD: Something is rotten in corporate SA as checks and balances are eroded
Collapse of National Prosecuting Authority, consulting by auditing firms and denuding of financial journalism have contributed to opening the floodgates to unethical behaviour
Something is rotten in the state of corporate SA. Steinhoff is the obvious example of grand-scale theft, but much else lurks in its shadow. Construction firm Group Five is bankrupt, one-time technology sensation EOH is plagued by corruption allegations that have scared off key partner Microsoft, sugar producer Tongaat Hulett is in trouble over land sales it banked as revenue, investment holding company Brait is a pariah for bailing out management for a share scheme that was R2bn in the red, pharmaceutical giant Aspen is flogging assets to try pay off an unsustainable debt pile, and property empire Resilient is being dogged by allegations of share price manipulation. All of those have wreaked havoc on shareholder wealth. These facts please some. Those on a smash-and-grab spree through the public sector love nothing more than to denigrate corporate SA. It is an attempt at a false equivalence, the scoundrel who declares “I might have done bad, but you did too” without realising the ack...