Mark Lamberti, Imperial CEO. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Mark Lamberti, Imperial CEO. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

"... some degree of patronage in high office is inevitable," (Editorials, March 1-7). My first reaction was one of disbelief: how could a publication such as the Financial Mail, promoting probity, condone any kind of corrupt dealings?

Wanting to give the benefit of the doubt, I checked on the meaning of "patronage" and discovered that it has two sets of meanings: advocacy, backing, philanthropy, sponsorship, and the like on the one hand; and favouritism, nepotism, partisanship, that is "the abuse of the power of holding office — particularly political", on the other hand.

It may be a thin line, but surely, no matter what role "debts incurred in the process of being elected" may play, actual appointments should be on the basis of competence and merit, rather than satisfying ambition or repaying loyalty, à la Trump. If we do not hold our appointed or elected officials in the business and political arenas to the highest level of honesty and integrity, we are on the slippery slope of compromised morality; and we know the dark hole into which that leads us: Steinhoff and Eskom are still fresh in our memories.

It was therefore refreshing to read related comments (Cover Story March 1-7) in which Mark Lamberti was quoted as saying: "Ethical deterioration is not a general societal thing, it happens in selected businesses — it starts with the guy [or girl] at the top."

Mario Compagnoni