From the editor
anybody who has spent just one day on Twitter will know that it is no sweeping statement to say that, in general, everybody in this country is angry at everything all the time. That’s why I found a particular statement from Ian Sinton’s testimony before the Zondo commission very refreshing. Sinton’s testimony (also) has South Africans up in arms – and rightly so. Formerly the chief compliance officer (CCO) at Standard Bank, Sinton detailed how the former minister of mineral resources, Mosebenzi Zwane, had engaged with the bank on its decision to close the accounts of the Gupta family. Zwane allegedly threatened that he would change the country’s banking laws to make it illegal for banks to close accounts. He also made a reference to the fact that government licenses banks – perceived as a veiled threat that the bank could lose its banking license should it not play ball.
Another meeting that allegedly took place and that indicated ANC involvement in trying to defend the Gupta family was well reported on in the media in the days after Sinton’s testimony. This allegedly took place at Luthuli House, the ANC headquarters, and was attended by none other than current ANC chairman Gwede Mantashe, as well as NEC member Enoch Godongwana and deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, said Sinton.
It was during this meeting that Standard Bank was, according to Sinton, asked whether it was part of the white monopoly capital that oppresses black people, and whether it was taking orders from Stellenbosch. Business Day quotes Sinton as commenting on this by saying: “It was the first time I saw my boss get really angry.”
That’s of course Sim Tshabalala, CEO of Standard Bank. As CEO of one of the big four banks, Tshabalala must have more than enough daily frustrations that could anger him. But if his CCO has never seen him “really angry”, he clearly does not allow frustrations to get the better of him.
And maybe all South Africans could take a leaf from his book. Maybe we should choose our battles wisely – and only allow ourselves to get really angry when it really matters.
Matter of fact
In the 13 September edition of finweek, we wrote: “Speaking to finweek earlier in the year [South32 CEO Graham] Kerr said that despite withdrawing from South Africa, the company hadn’t completely given up on pursuing new investment…” South32 has not signalled its intent to withdraw from South Africa, where it is a major producer of coal, aluminium and manganese ore and alloys. We regret the error. ■