Black Business Council (BBC) president Sandile Zungu has responded to a scathing open letter from Sipho Pityana by questioning “the ethics and drama queen antics” of Pityana and calling him an “angry old man”.
“I received and read for the first time Sipho's open letter after being alerted to it by the media. So much about the ethics and drama queen antics of its author,” Zungu said in a Whatsapp response to City Press.
Pityana holds the position of Business Unity South Africa (Busa) president. Busa represents big business and is a rival business organisation to BBC, which is a black business lobby.
In the open letter, Pityana accused Zungu and the BBC of being like “apartheid era pimps”.
“The BBC of Jimmy Manyi and your era owe, if not anybody else, but black business and professionals, an account of your role in state capture and the corrupting of the state, the ANC and the broader liberation agenda,” Pityana said.
“That is why, in 2016, I personally wrote and subsequently met the BBC leadership during [Ndaba] Ntsele’s tenure to urge you to use your proximity to Zuma to point out the devastating effects his corruption was having on the economy and the country,” he said.
“Like the ‘apartheid era pimps’, you all thought you’d quietly inform him of my ‘treasonous conduct’. Little did you all know that I’d already made my disapproval of his corrupt leadership of our country known to him and done so publicly,” Pityana said.
In reaction, Zungu said that: “Sipho has never forgiven me and the erstwhile leaders of the BBC for showing zero interest when, a few years ago, he personally wanted me as then secretary-general and spokesperson of the BBC to publicly denounce the chairman of Barloworld, Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, when the Barloworld empowerment transaction in which Sipho participated was floundering, barely in the money, nearly a decade or so after it was put in place. I may have not told Sipho then, but let me tell him now: the BBC shall never be the useful idiot of blackmailers who masquerade as entrepreneurs. No ways! Never!,” Zungu said.
“Sipho is an angry old man who is deeply envious of the success of others. His record of failures in diplomacy, public service and real entrepreneurship talk for itself. That Sipho cannot accept there are much younger black people who succeed in spite of odds are delusions which are not for me to cure,” he added.
“Today is the eve of the Black Business Summit, which will be the gathering of the members of the Black Business Council, thought leaders on transformation, government leaders and interested South Africans. The Black Business Summit promises to be a hugely successful event. By all accounts it will be. The BBC will not bother responding to personalised attacks by what is evidently a failing wanna-be entrepreneur who leads a rival apex organisation, Busa. The timing of the rantings of a failing wanna-be entrepreneur is clear. He wants to steal the limelight and headlines away from the success that the renewed BBC is gonna be. Sorry pitshana!”
“We will discuss the rudderless diatribe and respond more substantively, if at all, early next week after the Black Business Summit,” Zungu said.
In this letter Pityana said that: “It’s clear now that you and Jimmy Manyi hijacked the proud, legitimate and noble cause of black economic empowerment — with disastrous consequences. The foundation of BBC can be traced to the relentless efforts of Dr Sam Motsuenyane’s Nafcoc that was founded in 1969, and subsequently Fabcos which broke away from it, and a number of other sector specific black business formations that lobbied for reforms under apartheid to secure a level playing field for black business whose commercial undertakings were restricted on a racist premise.”
Pityana accused the BBC of becoming: “a body for the condonation, defence and justification of corrupt and unethical practices which whenever challenged were rebutted by cheap and flimsy allegations of racism”.