Adri Senekal De Wet, Page 18

We are not a pro­ce­cut­ing author­ity, but we will ex­pose cor­rupt business

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Adri Senekal de Wet

ALL SOUTH Africans, in­clud­ing my­self, are con­cerned of the sta­tus of state owned en­ter­prises (SOEs), in par­tic­u­lar those sus­cep­ti­ble to cor­rup­tion. The me­dia has fo­cused on the “Gupta Leaks”, which con­cern the re­la­tion­ship of the Gupta fam­ily to SOEs and of­fi­cials.

This is a very valu­able source of in­for­ma­tion and helps us to un­der­stand how cor­rup­tion has oc­curred at the high­est lev­els.

What is very clear is that for each in­ci­dent of al­leged cor­rup­tion re­ported, which has amounted to hun­dreds of bil­lions of rands in to­tal, there has been a complicit com­pany.

We have high­lighted a num­ber of multi-na­tion­als who are im­pli­cated in the Gupta e-mail saga, in­clud­ing house­hold names such as McKin­sey, KPMG, ABB and Neo­tel, to name but a few. There are also many SA com­pa­nies who have been im­pli­cated in th­ese and other re­cent rev­e­la­tions of cor­rup­tion.

What all of th­ese com­pa­nies must recog­nise is that cor­rup­tion firstly robs the state of re­sources to pro­vide for the poor and the in­di­gent. And cor­rup­tion cre­ates an un­equal play­ing field for young, and es­pe­cially black com­pa­nies, to make their mark in business.

Th­ese gi­ant com­pa­nies with big cheque books are able to en­sure that they ob­tain con­tracts by hook or by crook. Most of us love South Africa and we sup­port the mar­ket econ­omy; most im­por­tantly we sup­port busi­nesses com­mit­ted to the growth of our econ­omy and eco­nomic and so­cial trans­for­ma­tion.

We are op­posed ve­he­mently to busi­nesses that are cor­rupt and un­der­mine the in­tegrity of the state and the free mar­ket.

The fo­cus of the me­dia on the Gupta leaks, due to the dra­matic na­ture of the rev­e­la­tions, has di­verted at­ten­tion from the wrong­do­ings of com­pa­nies.

It has al­lowed high-pow­ered PR firms to give South Africa flow­ery pre­sen­ta­tions and re­sound­ing but empty prom­ises of full in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

We at BR have as­sem­bled a se­nior editorial team with a top flight of in­ves­ti­ga­tors and have man­aged to un­earth a ca­chet of in­for­ma­tion on cor­rup­tion per­pe­trated in SA by large com­pa­nies and multi­na­tion­als.

Since we first pub­lished ar­ti­cles on some of th­ese com­pa­nies we have been in­un­dated with whis­tle blow­ers of­fer­ing us ev­i­dence of greater cor­rup­tion. We are shocked by the scale of cor­rup­tion in the pri­vate sec­tor.

As a re­spon­si­ble me­dia house we have to bal­ance the need for pub­lic in­for­ma­tion with ver­i­fied in­for­ma­tion, val­i­dated be­fore we pub­lish. We are not there to be puni­tive to large com­pa­nies, but we be­lieve that we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to hold com­pa­nies to the high­est level of eth­i­cal business prac­tice. In that re­gard we again issue a chal­lenge to er­rant com­pa­nies to open their books for in­spec­tion.

BR will pub­lish a se­ries of ar­ti­cles on the role of com­pa­nies in­volved in al­leged cor­rup­tion. This will send shock waves through the business and fi­nan­cial com­mu­nity in the weeks to come, due to the rep­u­ta­tion and stature of many of them. We can­not, how­ever, pro­vide you with a moral sense that you should have ac­quired along your jour­ney.

We are not a pros­e­cut­ing author­ity; our role is to pub­lish in­for­ma­tion we re­ceive from our sources. Th­ese ar­ti­cles will be thor­oughly in­ter­ro­gated by our le­gal team be­fore pub­li­ca­tion.

We ask Cor­po­rate SA to take a deep and hon­est look into their prac­tices, and come clean if nec­es­sary. If cor­po­rates re­main ar­ro­gant, and mis­lead the pub­lic about their role in cor­po­rate cor­rup­tion, we will have no hes­i­ta­tion in pub­lish­ing in­for­ma­tion at our dis­posal.

BR is de­ter­mined to re­store our coun­try’s for­mer re­spected sta­tus in the com­mu­nity of na­tions.

We pledge re­spect and hon­our the con­tri­bu­tions of peo­ple and lead­ers such as Madiba who sac­ri­ficed their all for the bet­ter­ment of our na­tion.

This is our prom­ise to the peo­ple of the coun­try we so much love: we will at­tempt to fos­ter a cli­mate in which the econ­omy is char­ac­terised by equal op­por­tu­ni­ties, true trans­for­ma­tion, in­clu­sive growth, en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit and fair trade.

South Africa de­serves to be clas­si­fied as a coun­try of in­tegrity. It also de­serves a re-assess­ment as a coun­try which is open for business and in which it is prof­itable and eth­i­cal to do business.

As the ex­ec­u­tive of In­de­pen­dent Business, I com­mit to over­see­ing a process of in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which is both foren­sic and fair. Let’s com­bine forces to make our coun­try great again.

What all of th­ese com­pa­nies must recog­nise is that cor­rup­tion firstly robs the state of re­sources to pro­vide for the poor and the in­di­gent.

Adri Senekal de Wet is Ex­ec­u­tive Edi­tor: In­de­pen­dent Me­dia. Edi­tor: Business Re­port & Per­sonal Fi­nance.

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