After taking out a full-page ad in the Sunday Times calling on ANC members to vote with their conscience, Business Leadership South Africa, representing many large South African corporates, seems to have finally found its voice. It has also demanded a meeting with President Jacob Zuma to discuss the irrevocable breakdown of trust between Business Inc. SA and the government.
Unfortunately, discussions about relationships are a bit like marriage counselling – lots of talking, cajoling and promises. But unless there is a real willingness by both parties to change and meet each other halfway, not much will be achieved. In fact, over 50% of marriages end in a divorce despite the availability of counselling.
In this instance, given the removal of Pravin Gordhan, the essential FICA Bill not being signed, and the new-found narratives about nationalisation, radical economic transformation, White Monopoly Capital and land appropriation, I think it is safe to assume that marriage counselling has failed. In fact, the breakdown cuts deeper. One party has called the other party’s bluff. Moreover, the president of South Africa has called the whole of South Africa’s bluff. Hence, to maintain this relationship on an even keel, one needs to respond in kind.
What can BLSA bring to the table? First and foremost, it must be remembered that the business sector provides employment for 13.5-million or 86% of the country’s working population and pays the bulk of the taxes. That makes it a powerful force if it stands united.
It can use that power to take a number of legal steps without resorting to actions which could be challenged in court. Let’s think of some.
The list carries on and on. None of the above steps would be illegal. None are threats. They are merely a response to the government’s recent actions and narratives. Once all the options are out in the open, you can start true negotiations and ultimate healing.
However, the truth is that unless South Africa stands united, and this includes all ANC members who believe in a moral, just and free South Africa, we will achieve little but more marriage counselling. And finally, sadly, a divorce down the road. But not before both parties destroy each other, and the country, in the process. DM
Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka is no stranger to challenging the status quo. The actuary and consumer advocate believes in forcing transparency in the financial services industry, one educated investor at a time. Her outspokenness has earned her a legion of online trolls and is reported to have SA fund managers shaking in their boots. Shes the only female CEO of a fintech company in Africa and loves all things future tech. She tweets from @Magda_Wierzycka.
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