It’s the largest hospital company in the country, with 54 hospitals and 10,605 hospital beds, servicing more than 8-million South Africans. It runs 422 operating theatres and its fleet of 911 emergency vehicles is known throughout the country. So what is it that Netcare doesn’t want people to know? Last week, Netcare held its AGM at its office, a stone’s throw from the JSE in Sandton. But when journalist Penny Mashego arrived, she was barred from entering. "Shareholders only, no press," she was told. Now, AGMs may be designed for investors, but virtually all companies allow journalists to attend. Not only is it in keeping with the King code invocation on transparency, it’s one of the few ways they can live the pledge to embrace all stakeholders. It also says a lot about a company’s culture: the fine list of companies that have barred journalists from AGMs includes JD Group (owned by Steinhoff), flailing budget airline Ryanair (in the midst of European strikes) and chicken company As...

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