Last week we launched the Business Believes in South Africa campaign at an event in Alexandra. It was a short hop from our offices in Sandton, but a world apart.
It was important that business travel to Alex to help people understand we are committed to transformation – delivering an economy that works for all. Too many people in that community and elsewhere in South Africa live in poverty. Society needs to address their scourges of unemployment and inequality.
Business believes it is part of the answer, not the enemy. We need to stress this after the lies of the “white monopoly capital” campaign, which sought to position business as part of the problem.
That is why we launched our Contract with South Africa and our Integrity Pledge. The contract is a positive statement of our values, with six key pillars. We will:
- Create even more jobs;
- Encourage and empower senior black leadership;
- Invest in training and developing a highly skilled workforce in preparation for future challenges;
- Do more to ensure the communities where we operate thrive and prosper;
- Support small businesses and entrepreneurs to help them succeed; and
- Crush corruption.
We will work with labour, faith organisations and political parties of any kind – anyone who shares our values and our vision for South Africa.
As important as the Contract with South Africa is our Integrity Pledge. That is because the country is facing a crisis.
If the government fails to foster an environment where business can thrive, we will not reap the fruits of growth. The twin cancers of corruption and state capture are the most serious impediment to inclusive growth. We have discovered in recent months how far-reaching the systematic project of state capture has been. While there are encouraging signs that transparency is working as a disinfectant, it is too soon to be confident that the justice system will work as one might hope and hold to account those responsible.
Corruption in the corporate sector is a serious issue, but is dwarfed by the industrial scale of the problem in the government sector. Business is overwhelmingly honest; too much of government is not. Even so, we accept that we cannot point fingers at poor government leadership without cleaning our own house.
So, business leaders are clear: we will not tolerate corruption in our ranks. Our members – 80 of South Africa’s largest companies – have pledged zero tolerance for corruption, to act anti-competitively, to protect whistleblowers and to provide information.
Business complicity in corruption betrays the public trust in us and undermines democratic values.
We are determined to play our part in preventing and defeating corruption, to reaffirm honesty, respect for the rule of law, accountability, transparency and putting South Africa first. To achieve this, we will act with courage and consistency – but most of all with integrity.
Because business believes that when the economy is strong, South Africa is strong. Let there be no doubt; business believes in South Africa.
View article here.