‘Come clean’: Pityana fires back at Black Business Council’s Zungu

Sipho Pityana, president of Business Unity South Africa, during an interview at his office in Parktown in 2018. Picture: Tebogo Letsie/City Press
Sipho Pityana, president of Business Unity South Africa, during an interview at his office in Parktown in 2018. Picture: Tebogo Letsie/City Press

Sipho Pityana has taken aim again at Black Business Council president Sandile Zungu, accusing him of dishonesty and of trying to downplay his links to former president Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family.

Writing again in his personal capacity, Pityana, the leader of Business Unity SA (Busa) and the chairperson of Anglo Gold Ashanti, says that unless Zungu “comes clean”, he “cannot be worthy of our trust”.

Late last month, Pityana wrote an open letter to Zungu, accusing him of having played a role in state capture and of playing a part in plunging the country into a “perilous” state.

READ: ‘You’ve missed the point’: A response to Sandile Zungu 

At the time, Zungu fired back, accusing Pityana of “drama queen antics” and of being “an angry old man”.

READ: BBC’s Zungu: Pityana is a ‘drama queen’, ‘angry old man’

Over the weekend, Zungu wrote that Pityana was an “enthusiastic purveyor of untruths”.

READ: Sandile Zungu: Sipho Pityana is divisive and toxic

But in his letter yesterday, a copy of which City Press obtained, Pityana does not let up.

Beginning “Dear Sandile”, he says: “Thank you for responding to my open letter which invited an open discussion on business ethical leadership. Unfortunately, you seem to have missed the point.”

Pityana writes that while previously his problem with him has been “the unethical conduct that has been a trademark of your past”, he now can add to that his “dishonesty in owning up to that past and trying to rewrite history”.

He also charges that Zungu was a “useful comprador for the barons of state capture” and accuses him of “selling out the very crooks you were once proud to have as business partners”.

In his letter, Pityana slams Zungu as an “unscrupulous state capture collaborator”. He says while he doesn’t want to become embroiled in a “tit-for-tat”, he seeks to correct Zungu’s attempts to “airbrush history – particularly your collaboration with the architects of state capture, and your dealings with the Guptas”.

“I do so if only to ask black business whether it is right that we be led by a dishonest Gupta protégé,” he writes.

Pityana lists some of the statements Zungu allegedly made in response to his open letter by quoting media reports in which Zungu himself appears to confirm them.

“Your flat denial that you ever had a business association with both Duduzane Zuma and the Guptas, in light of extensive media coverage that brought this to the nation’s attention, is incredibly dishonest.

"Your expectation that we should believe you simply because you insist that it never happened leaves us not only feeling disrespected, but also wondering what else we don’t about your role in state capture,” he writes.

“And then there’s your relationship with former president Zuma, which you attempt to downplay now that the disgraced former president is persona non grata,” Pityana writes, before quoting an interview in which Zungu is quoted saying of Zuma:

“I’m very well and positively disposed towards the president of the republic … I’ve never disguised the fact that I’ve been a long-term friend of his”.

Pityana also states that he does not understand why the BBC was so opposed to the amendment of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, a law intended to align the country’s legislation with the international battle against money laundering and racketeering.

“Where you are quick to point out that you rejected a donation to the BBC from the Guptas, you do not tell us who in your leadership was a recipient of their largesse and partnered them in business. Why does it upset you so much that I demand that these be exposed?” Pityana asks.

In the letter, Pityana reiterates the request in his previous letter that a “forum” be found in which all these issues can be discussed.

“For us to be in step, we have to be part of what President Cyril Ramaphosa has dubbed a ‘cathartic moment’ for our country. We all have to seize this moment. We have to come clean and hold each other accountable,” he wrote.

“That means owning up to historical mistakes that have been made, rather than trying to rewrite one’s personal history.”

Zungu did not immediately respond to calls and a WhatsApp message yesterday.

Read the full letter here.

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