LETTER: White-controlled firms get off easy
Bain saga shows corporate governance is not applicable to companies run by whites
The saga surrounding Bain & Co has taught us one thing about Corporate SA; that if you are a white-controlled and managed entity, corporate governance is not applicable to you.
Business Leadership SA allowed Bain to reform and cleanse itself of its sins before it was allowed to be a member again. There was no noise from the banking sector about closing its bank accounts. EOH, Steinhoff and Tongaat were also allowed to continue to trade, and were neither suspended from the JSE nor had their bank accounts closed. The company’s businesses continue to operate unabated. These companies were also allowed to reform and be new again.
African Bank is another company that was rescued and continues to be open for business. Audit firms such as PwC, KPMG and Deloitte have been found wanting in recent times due to the work they performed. Their businesses continue to flourish and they did not suffer any reputational damage, if we were to apply good corporate governance, which is something we were taught in school.
Let’s fast-track to companies that are managed and controlled by black people. Bosasa, Nkonki and VBS Mutual Bank were stopped from continuing to do business, rightly or wrongly. These entities were never given a chance to cleanse themselves, nor allowed to reform in whatever shape or form. The only option that was given to them was to close down.
Is there a specific criterion that is applied to black-owned businesses that is not applicable to white-owned establishments in deciding whether these businesses can continue to trade?
Director, GHLT Capital
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