The leader of Business Unity South Africa, Sipho Pityana, has written a scathing open letter to Sandile Zungu, accusing him of being complicit in state capture machinery which contributed to decay at state-owned entities.
The letter emerged on the eve of the Black Business Summit, which is convened by the Black Business Council (BBC) - a formation headed by Zungu.
Pityana was writing in his personal capacity, he said.
In the letter, Pityana states that the BBC of Zungu’s era has brought "utter shame to scrupulous black professionals and business leaders", and urges the businessman to testify before the Zondo commission of inquiry on state capture.
"Today, our country is in a perilous state. And you and your cronies played no small part in that – so it is about time you confronted your ugly ghosts.
"The BBC of your era brought utter shame to many of us who consider ourselves upright and scrupulous black professionals and business leaders," said Pityana.
In August 2018, Zungu was elected president of the BBC, an organisation that advocates for the participation and integration of black business in the economy.
Relations between BUSA and BCC have been strained over the years.
Pityana says Zungu and fellow businessman Mzwanele Manyi and others sought to take over BUSA in order to reposition business to prop up former president Jacob Zuma’s agenda. Zungu was once one of Zuma's advisors.
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"As you gather this week, I call on you to resolve to testify at the Zondo Commission on your and your organisation’s possible complicity in the state capture project, whether knowingly or otherwise.
"After all, you have been at the centre of it all. You took our black identity only to blemish us all," Pityana charged.
The letter follows controversial remarks associated with former KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan about the role of black professionals in the Eskom crisis.
Fellow ANC officials were riled by the remarks, which were seen as an attack on black professionals. It later emerged that the remarks were taken out of context, after Gordhan demanded an apology from the party over its reaction.