Markus Jooste. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Markus Jooste. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Whether it is in the political arena or in business, when dishonest tactics are deployed to secure short-term political or business advantage, the long-term outcomes turn out to be ruinous. Evidence supports this.

Sometimes the short-term tactics start out without deliberate nefarious intentions but inadvertently the success, the air of invincibility they breed and the commendation they attract have a way of spawning more of such tactics, inertia and false confidence.

Harvey Firestone Snr, the legendary and visionary founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company that was the world leader in tyre manufacturing and sales for about seven decades, got seduced and blind-sided by his tactic of staying close to customers to the extent that he got his granddaughter to marry Henry Ford’s grandson. Ford was the biggest car manufacturer at the time.

Firestone subsequently thought he had everything sewn up. Inertia set in and he was blindsided by cataclysmic changes in the marketplace. The Firestone company was eventually taken over by upstart Japanese company Bridgestone.

Perhaps erstwhile Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste may also have thought that he had everything sewn up when he had Christo Wiese and son eating from the palms of his hands. He got the son Jacob employed in the company in which the father was chairman of the board.

But again, it was not enough to save him or the company. Father and son resigned last week. What will become of them, apart from what is already known of their famed wealth taken together, is still unfolding.

Some may find all these familiar and relevant to the political landscape we are watching intently. There is yet another father and son who allegedly have been eating from the palms of business godfathers. Their collective fate will soon become clear.

Kola Jolaolu
Cape Town