Baijoo to steer clear of interest conflicts

2010-03-30 00:00

NEWLY appointed Msunduzi council speaker Babu Baijoo has taken one month’s leave from two of his most responsible positions in order to focus on his latest political occupation.

For the next four weeks, Baijoo will relinquish not only his position as the president of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI), but also his management post at Capital Media, where he oversees several publications.

This is so he can reassess whether his position as speaker may potentially be a source of conflict with these interests.

“The ANC had specific duties for me as council speaker and I have less than a year [to perform them before the upcoming local government elections]. Because of potential conflict, I have taken leave,” he said.

In the meantime, the deputy president of SACCI, Chose Choeu, will act as president for the next month, said Baijoo.

Baijoo said that although he has stepped aside from these two positions, he will still continue serving on the boards of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB), FET and the Natal Museum as they are merely advisory — not leadership — posts that do not come with a salary. He said he is able to juggle responsibilities while still a part-time councillor but that this may change.

“I was told there would be no conflict between the chamber movement and government, but I need it in writing so that I don’t put myself, the ANC and council credibility at risk,” said Baijoo.

DA caucus leader Bill Lambert said Baijoo’s decision is a step in the right direction.

“Avoiding conflict shows dedication to the position. It gives one a certain confidence and hope that this ship that is Msunduzi is beginning to steady.

“With councillor Baijoo’s vast experience in the business arena … he will use his ability to act as an impartial speaker and that, of course, is to be welcomed by us all,” he said.

IFP caucus leader Dolo Zondi said his party supports Baijoo because he is mature, experienced and very knowledgeable.

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