As stakeholder engagements go, the Sasol AGM was more Communist Party of China plenary session than folksy Berkshire Hathaway AGM hosted by Warren Buffett. The cavernous basement at the Sandton Convention Centre didn’t help. It had been hired in anticipation of large numbers of Sasol BEE shareholders attending. Not many did, so the room echoed and rattled. What also didn’t help was the nine dark-suited directors staring down on the shareholders from their lofty stage setting, doing a modestly good impression of Xi Jinping and his cohorts. Adding to the them-and-us atmosphere was that the lighting was focused on the nine directors and the rest of the room was in semi-darkness. It didn’t help that chairman Mandla Gantsho started by telling shareholders he would limit the number of questions from the floor. This would have been an appalling PR gaffe — and probably a contravention of the Companies Act. Given the eye-watering fees that even the nonexecutive directors on this board are pa...

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