On Friday, Stephen York, Bain & Co’s managing partner in SA, took out a page three, full-page advert in Business Day appealing for “constructive dialogue” with South Africans. This came in response to the UK’s recent decision to ban Bain from receiving work from the UK’s cabinet office for three years, a move triggered by disclosure of Bain’s involvement in state capture in SA, specifically the dismantlement of the SA Revenue Service (Sars).  

York said his letter was necessitated because much of what South Africans had read and heard about Bain was untrue. But it is deeply cynical to pretend that the pursuit of truth is the object of his missive. Take his claims that Bain started proactively reaching out to SA authorities in 2018 to offer co-operation, and that “we are prepared to have the tough conversations”. Those claims simply do not align with the facts...

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