Busi Mavuso is the chief executive of Business Leadership South Africa. Photo: Supplied
Busi Mavuso is the chief executive of Business Leadership South Africa. Photo: Supplied

Bain - Busi Mavuso newly-weds proudly present their dirty linen to the country

By Pali Lehohla Time of article published Jan 14, 2022

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Karl Marx in defining the social relations of production says that “in the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production”. How apt is this in the case of US consultancy firm Bain and Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA). This says to us that state capture is dead, long live state capture!

Hardly has the ink of the first report of the all important Zondo Commission dried up than BLSA embraced the infidelity infested Bain, which bribed its way, leading to the destruction of the SA Revenue Service.

BLSA was part of the vocal movement for bringing about the Commission of State Capture and its president Busi Mavuso did a sterling job. The courts of our country have accepted that Acting Justice Raymond Zondo can deliver the report in three parts to the president.

On his part the president made the report public within hours of its release. The president has also been allowed by the courts to submit his decisions on what has to be done by the end of June.

Bain and the Guptas are amongst many that have been fingered in the report and Zondo gave no pardon to any of the wrong doers as this was not his mandate. Neither have these wrong doings been tested in a court of law to adjudicate the appropriate sentence. For all intents and purposes, therefore, all those fingered are yet to stand accused in a court of law.

Even in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, headed then by our revered Archbishop Emeritus Tutu, it was only at the end of the ommission that they adjudged whether there was full disclosure and only then they could withhold or suspend prosecution. Even if we could pretend that Zondo could use such precedence, he does not have such powers.

That Bain paid back some sum of money and Zondo reported that, does not beyond any shadow of justice leave Bain off the hook for its rapacious and lucid disregard for institutions responsible for addressing our gnawing poverty. Targeting the SA Revenue Service (Sars) for its greed showed the highest of this disregard for our challenges.

The person who stands accused in Zondo for abetting this misdeed is former commissioner of the Sars, Tom Moyane, who still remains accused.

In that regard, therefore, the case against Bain is not closed until and unless all those associated with it are taken through the appropriate systems of justice as the president and law enforcement agencies will decide. In this regard we have to remind ourselves of the seminal decision that former president Thabo Mbeki took in relation to his deputy: only when Schabir Shaik was found guilty through the courts of law did he act on his deputy president and fired him.

The point I make here is that when evidence is presented, action can be taken. But our enthusiastic business sector embraces Bain in the midst of legal evidence and a confession, which does not authorise its redemption, but on the basis of Bain paying some trivial sum of money relative to destroying our not only citadel of the fiscus and futures of the country, but of the pride as a nation.

How does this bridal party look. This behoves the question why is BLSA so eager to kiss and make up when it was the same BLSA that was so spirited in the advocacy for conducting state capture. This lustrous encounter happens even before the nuptial bed of sins of Bain’s and Sars’s assistants has dried from the silly events of the honeymoon.

With all the fresh dirt dripping from the linen of dishonour, BLSA proudly embraces Bain. Moyane should count himself unlucky, perhaps his day of being embraced is yet to come.

But worst still, Athol Williams, a whistle-blower who exposed the dirt between Sars and Bain, was forced to leave his own country last year due to death threats because of doing the right thing.

Perhaps, BLSA is asking Williams to withdraw his evidence on Bain or forever be a truth refugee. On the other hand Zondo makes a clear recommendation, which was very obvious that whistle-blowers should be protected, yet the government that holds the key to this has failed to do so dismally.

Themba Maseko was right in saying that when you do the right thing, the government and the private sector collude, they too perhaps independent of their will as Marx says they enter into definite relations …. Appropriate in this regard to state capture where Bain and Maseko are of no consequence.

What BLSA has done is to render whatever decision the president is required to make under the relevant act irrelevant. This is a contribution by business to undermine the Zondo Commission. Would Mavuso embrace the Guptas. When is society going to take a stand around these forked-tongued goons?

Dr Pali Lehohla is the former Statistician-General of South Africa and a former head of Statistics South Africa. Meet him at www.pie.org and @palilj01

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