The Mercury

Parsons holds fort as Busa fight hots up

- Donwald Pressly

STRENUOUS infighting in Business Unity SA (Busa) ended in a stalemate yesterday when deputy chief executive Raymond Parsons was named interim head of the organisati­on in an acting capacity, while the search goes on to find a candidate acceptable to the Black Management Forum (BMF).

Minutes of a recent Busa special management committee meeting were leaked to Business Report yesterday detailing the squabble between president Futhi Mtoba and the BMF over the appointmen­t.

The minutes noted that Mtoba had requested vice-president Mthunzi Mdwaba – who was not present at the meeting – “to put together the job spec for the position”.

Mdwaba, who applied for the post of chief executive, then approached the chief executive to assist with informatio­n pertinent to the appointmen­t procedure. BMF believes this is a conflict of interest.

The squabble began earlier this year after Mtoba was opposed as candidate for the presidency last year by BMF president Jimmy Manyi, who is now also a government spokesman.

He described Mtoba’s election – over Sandile Zungu, the founder of Zungu Investment Company – as “a blow against transforma­tion” and a victory for “establishe­d business”.

Yesterday Manyi was emphatic that he would not comment on matters at Busa, but it was reported that he had stormed a recent meeting of its executive to complain about the procedure of appointmen­t of the new chief executive to replace Jerry Vilakazi, who retired on Monday.

The minutes of the executive’s meeting – attended by Mtoba, chairman Andre Lamprecht, and vice-presidents Venete Klein and Brenda Madumise, Vilakazi, Parsons, finance chairman Cas Coovadia, Elize Strydom and Nomhle Nkumbi-Ndopu – reported much acrimoniou­s discussion surroundin­g the position.

Nkumbi-Ndopu, the BMF chief executive, argued that the appointmen­t process – by a “search” company called Heidrick and Struggles – was irregular. It is known that Ndwaba does not enjoy the support of the BMF. Nkumbi-Ndopu said the process should not be handled in such a way “as to raise a reputation­al risk for Busa”.

It was not appropriat­e, she said, that Mdwaba had written the job specs and then applied for the post. This participat­ion by the candidate in the appointmen­t process gave him an unfair advantage and raised questions of governance.

Mtoba was emphatic that “the relevant candidate”, Mdwaba, had recused himself timeously and that the chairman, Lamprecht, would “in any event not tolerate any conflict of interest”.

Vilakazi reported to the meeting that when the search companies were shortliste­d, he was asked to check on their empowermen­t credential­s and Heidrick and Struggles was found to be “fully compliant” and outperform­ed others.

The committee meeting, after Nkumbi-Ndopu’s interventi­ons, decided that in the event that a candidate had not been appointed by May 31, Parsons should act “until a new appointee took over”.

That compromise decision was rubberstam­ped by Busa yesterday. It is expected that the new chief will be appointed in September.

 ?? PHOTO: NTSWE MOKOENA ?? BMF president Jimmy Manyi is reported to have stormed a recent meeting of Busa’s executive.
PHOTO: NTSWE MOKOENA BMF president Jimmy Manyi is reported to have stormed a recent meeting of Busa’s executive.

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