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Peter Hain again refuses to meet Bain until ‘full state capture disclosure’

Peter Hain again refuses to meet Bain until ‘full state capture disclosure’
Bain & Company logo. (Photo: Wikipedia | Unsplash)

Former anti-apartheid activist and British Lord Peter Hain has vociferously campaigned for accountability and action against global companies involved in state capture in South Africa. In a blunt letter this week, it was made clear that his battle with US-based management consultancy Bain & Co continues.

British Lord Peter Hain has once again refused to meet James Hadley, managing partner in Britain of international consulting firm Bain & Co, which has been widely accused of helping former President Jacob Zuma “capture” SARS.

Hain told Hadley in a blunt letter this week that he would not meet him until Bain & Co had fully disclosed its activities in SARS and other South African state entities during the Zuma presidency. And he vowed to press ahead to get the British government to reinstate its ban on Bain from doing business with the UK government. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Bain mistakes ‘can never be repeated’ – SA needs accountability, not whitewashed PR statements

Hain told Hadley that the Labour Party government, which he believes likely to be elected next year, would reinstate the ban. Hain had noted earlier that the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into the affairs of SARS reported that Bain had steadfastly refused to disclose everything about its role in the revenue service. And Bain had been “no more forthcoming” to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into overall state capture, “in particular in relation to evidence placed before that Commission by Mr Athol Williams.” 

Williams worked for Bain & Co in its South African office and blew the whistle on its complicity in state capture, for which the company fired him.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Why Bain & Co should not get a free pass

After a vociferous campaign by former anti-apartheid activist Hain, the British government last year banned Boston-based Bain & Co from doing work with the UK government for three years. 

Leadership change

But after a change in government leadership, Bain was reinstated this year – much to Hain’s disgust. Hadley first wrote to Hain in March this year, requesting a meeting with him to explain Bain’s contention that it had dealt with all complaints. In an initial reply on 30 March – published in Daily Maverick – Hain flatly rejected Hadley’s claims and said he would not meet him until he had received a full account in writing of outstanding issues.

These would include the evidence and findings of Bain’s internal investigations into the involvement of its South African office in state capture. Hain said Bain had withheld these from the Nugent Commission. 

He also demanded details about the plans Bain presented to Zuma between 2012 and 2015 for the restructuring of certain government agencies and state entities – including the centralisation of procurement across state entities “which appears to have been requested in order to facilitate even greater looting”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Peter Hain proposes UK ban on Bain and other global consultancies implicated in SA State Capture

Hain insisted too that Hadley reveal if Bain was still providing services to the ANC. He said he wanted proof that individual Bain partners had been held accountable and disciplined for the corruption the company helped facilitate in South Africa.

In a reply on 4th May, Hadley again asked to meet Hain to provide answers to his questions. He also claimed that Bain had already publicly apologised for its “serious mistakes” when working with SARS and had “exhaustively addressed” and taken necessary actions to remediate these recurring.

Bain

Former UK minister and anti-apartheid campaigner Lord Peter Hain is turning his attention to the US to impose a similar ban on Bain & Co. (Photo: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images)

Bain’s culpability denied

Hadley denied Hain’s accusation that Bain’s culpability went beyond SARS. He said Bain had acknowledged that the meetings of its former managing partner with Zuma had been “inappropriate and wrong” but that these were merely a “naive attempt… to build a public sector practice in South Africa by developing relationships with senior government decision-makers”.

Hadley said he also wanted to meet Hain to correct inaccurate information in his accusations.

‘Almost total denial’ in reply

But in a reply to Hadley this week, Hain said his letter of 4 May showed that Bain “remains in almost total denial” of its “complicity in industrial-scale corruption and looting”.

The letter also showed that Bain refused to accept full responsibility for its actions. He added that the way Hadley personally, and Bain as a whole, continued to treat Williams, was despicable.

“You have answered none of the points in my letter, indeed have dodged them, and I therefore see absolutely no point in meeting. 

“I will meanwhile continue my campaign to get Bain suspended from government contracts, including engaging with US anti-corruption campaigners I have recently been in touch with. 

“Given the likely election of a Labour government next year I will also personally press for the UK government’s suspension of Bain last year to be re-implemented.” DM

Hain was born in Kenya to South African parents and was a leader of the anti-apartheid movement in Britain. He later held several cabinet portfolios in the Labour Party government of Tony Blair. 

 

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Johnny Kessel says:

    Yessir! Keep up the solid effort Mr. Hain, decent South Africans remain indebted to you.

  • Chris Skinner says:

    Go Mr Hain. On this one I’m on your side.

  • Paul Savage says:

    Has the NPA prosecuted anyone for anything related to the SARS debacle? Anyone gone through a trial for the VBS debacle? Digital Vibes? I recall seeing about two or three years ago some miscreants who orchestrated the VBS looting in the dock. But that case seems to have gone nowhere? I mean, Adv Terry Motau produced his Great Bank Heist report in September 2018, nearly five years ago, handing the NPA all the information it could possibly need to prosecute the VBS looters on a platter. But nothing to date? Has the NPA been captured?

    • Gerrie Pretorius says:

      Add to the above the Covid-19 corruption (especially Gauteng Health and Babita Deokaran) and Life Esidimeni and the July 2021 looting (cr saying ‘we know who they are’) and Marikana and jz and … and … and … then it is clear that anything the anc touches is criminal but never to be prosecuted.

  • André Pelser says:

    Good on you Peter!

  • Louise van Dyk says:

    Wish we had more fighters for fairplay in our Country. What is currently happening in South Africa, on all fronts, is as a result of the imcompetence, neglect and corruption of none other than the Governing party. The elite have no sense of responsibility to the poorest of the poor and literally gets way with murder. The worst is that one cannot believe most of their utterances : a total disgrace to humanity!

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