Sanlam takes corporate governance very seriously. We know this because lead independent director Sipho Nkosi said so four times in less than 12 minutes when he chaired the mid-December shareholders’ meeting called to vote on Sanlam’s latest multibillion-rand deal with Patrice Motsepe’s Ubuntu-Botho group. (It’s important to point out at this early stage that the Ubuntu-Botho CEO is current Sanlam chair Johan van Zyl, who was Sanlam CEO for 12 years to 2015. And that the deputy chair of Sanlam is Motsepe.) Nkosi told shareholders that the insurance giant’s value-creating track record is "supported by the highest standards of corporate governance, ethical business practices and transparency". He also assured them that Sanlam appreciates the importance of upholding the "highest standards of governance" when overseeing transactions, "in particular those involving related parties". And, it has to be said, the two-pronged deal with Ubuntu-Botho is about nothing if not related parties. But...

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