The Black Business Council (BBC) has lashed the infamous statement made by Nedbank chairman Reuel Khoza in his 2011 annual report after meeting him on Friday.
The BBC joins a flurry of comments which have followed Khoza’s controversial comments that South Africa has landed a “strange breed” of leaders incapable of navigating modern challenges of governance and threatening democracy. The comments has drawn reaction from all corners of society in a manner that seems to be dividing people for or against Khoza.
The BBC said while it respects Khoza’s right to make public statements, the Nedbank chair may have erred in using the Nedbank platform and in his tone.
The BBC said it considers Khoza as “a true patriot, a pioneering black corporate executive and one of South Africa’s most eminent business leaders. He has indisputable credentials as a catalyst and agent for positive change in society. Hence we have deep appreciation and support for his contention that business leaders have a duty to initiate and participate in any public discourse that seeks to strengthen our country’s political economy”.
“However, the BBC is not convinced of the wisdom of choosing to use the medium of the Nedbank annual report, a publicly-listed company, to launch a full frontal assault on our political leadership, in government or elsewhere, especially using sophisticated, yet uncharacteristically uncouth corporate language”.
The BBC said Khoza attack on government was government was unjustified. “Government, under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma has been very open and amenable to a constructive, yet frank dialogue with all social partners, including organised business”.
“We believe that the grave reservations that Nedbank may harbour about how our country is led, could have been raised more constructively in its regular engagements with the Registrar of Banks and Treasury, and perhaps through the associations that it is ultimately affiliated to”.
“Given that the current administration has given impetus to the strengthening of Nedlac as a forum for multi-lateral social dialogue, we believe this institution could also have been used more effectively to explore and debate Dr Khoza’s and Nedbank’s assertions”.
The Black Business Council laments and frowns upon the death of decorum in engagements among leaders in our society, and appeals for a measured approach to public conversations, debates that are free of profanities in assertions and counter assertions.
The BBC said it has a lot of confidence in the quality of the leadership in government, yet we do not agree with them in everything they do. “For example, we genuinely believe the government can do significantly more to improve the overall climate for improved and sustainable business confidence in South Africa and to alter, once and for all, the entrenched colonial and apartheid patterns of ownership and management of the South African economy”.