PCB may face legal action

2013-09-12 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) may face legal action to force it to make the minutes of its board meetings public.

The Maritzburg Sun said it would make an application to court, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, to compel the PCB to make the minutes of its board meetings available.

This was in response to the PCB’s denial on Friday of a number of allegations made by the Maritzburg Sun in an article published last week (September 6) titled, “Tender saga threatens business unity”.

The Maritzburg Sun alleged the PCB was “facing a leadership crisis marked by in-fighting, divisions in the board and a series of highly damaging allegations made in the national media against its president Paris Dlamini”.

Areas of concern included an alleged alliance formed by CEO Melanie Veness with Dlamini that “resulted in her supporting the proposal which allowed the previous office bearers to remain in office instead of allowing a new board to be voted in”.

Labelling the Maritzburg Sun article as “mischievous”, the PCB said, “there is no leadership crisis at the Chamber, nor are there any divisions in the board.”

It said that as far as its board had been able to ascertain, the allegations against Dlamini of gaining access to municipal tenders were unfounded.

It said that relationships between its CEO, president and board “follows the best rules of governance” and said that “any allegations of improper alliances are entirely spurious and unfounded”.

It also said in response to the concern that the PCB’s second AGM was “stage-managed”, that its board “is comfortable that the process followed to elect the board members at the AGM was legally and procedurally correct and unanimously stand behind their decision to allow office bearers to serve the balance of a two-year term”.

The PCB said its first AGM was postponed due to the “very onerous requirements of the New Companies Act” and said that it was held, procedurally correctly, a week later in accordance with the act.

“We are bemused by the fact that board members are quoted in the Maritzburg Sun article, whereas all members of the board categorically deny having spoken to the media about this issue. We regard this as mischievous reporting …” the PCB said in a statement.

Sibusiso Mboto, Group Editor of Capital Newspapers said: “We stand by our story and by our sources.”

“We find it unacceptable that the PCB has thrown a veil of secrecy over its affairs and is refusing to provide the media access to its minutes,” he said in reference to the PCB’s response to them that its “management board meetings are not public meetings”.

“We will be making an application to court, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, compelling the PCB to make its minutes available. It is our view that the PCB should be setting the highest examples of good corporate governance and transparency,” he said.

“The organisation refuses to acknowledge that the allegations made against its president impact on the integrity of the institution. At the very least the allegations bring into question the PCB’s ability to act independently and fearlessly when it comes to challenging government on matters affecting business and industry broadly,” said Mboto.

“Instead of media bashing, the PCB should focus its attention on the core issues at hand,” he added.

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