Steinhoff’s head office in Stellenbosch, Cape Town. Picture: DAVID HARRISON
Steinhoff’s head office in Stellenbosch, Cape Town. Picture: DAVID HARRISON

If the corporate sector wants to set an example to those in government when it comes to clean governance and transparency, the curious actions of embattled retailer Steinhoff on this front will engender anything but confidence.

Last week, Steinhoff released a scant 11-page summary of a 14-month forensic investigation by PwC into the country’s largest fraud. Even worse, that summary — a fraction of the 3,000-page full report — didn’t even bother to name those it believed responsible for a fraud that involved R106bn in fake earnings. It was only days later, in parliament, that Steinhoff was forced to reveal who they were — a cohort of eight individuals with former CEO Markus Jooste at the centre.

PODCAST: Hear from the Steinhoff whistleblowers 

This falls far short of even the most meagre commitment to the King governance principles of honest, open and transparent interactions with stakeholders, including 49,000 shareholders.

This is why the FM has now lodged an access to information request with the company, represented by law firm Webber Wentzel, to compel the release of the full report.

As we told Steinhoff, without the full report the media will not be able to fulfil its role of imparting accurate information on a matter that’s in the public interest.

If the private sector wants to prove it is serious about tackling corruption, it must step up.