BBC's endorsement of Zuma a betrayal - Pityana

Johannesburg – Businessman and chairperson of AngloGold Ashanti Sipho Pityana is disappointed in the Black Business Council (BBC) for publicly endorsing President Jacob Zuma, labelling this a “betrayal” that goes against the best interests of the country.

This follows reports in the Sunday Times that the BBC fully supports the president and wants him to complete his term in office. This is despite Pityana’s petition to have the president removed.

The president met with the BBC last Friday. The presidency subsequently released a statement on Monday, indicating that the president plans to address some of the issues raised by the organisation relating to economic transformation.

“We have resolved to work together even closer in order to ensure that we address the important issue of de-racialising the ownership, control and management of the economy,” said Zuma.

Spokesperson for the presidency Bongani Ngqulunga told Fin24 that the president would reconvene with the organisation at a later stage to give feedback on the issues raised. However, a date for the meeting has not been set up as the president needs to consult with the relevant ministers.

Among the issues raised by the BBC are the objection for the president to sign the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill (Fica). The act aims to fight organised crime and terrorism by allowing for the investigation of accounts to expose illicit transactions.

READ: SA banks urge Zuma to pass money laundering law

In a statement, Pityana expressed his concerns for the stance taken by the BBC. “The BBC is supposed to be an important and rational voice of black business leadership, of which I am a part.” The BBC’s members include associations such as the Black Management Forum, the Association of Black Chartered Accountants, and the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals.

“I have always believed that, as black business leaders, we are united in our belief that South Africa deserves a leadership that is transparent, accountable and free from corruption,” he stated.

According to the presidency, the BBC’s reasons for supporting the president include the progress made under Zuma’s administration in advancing black economic empowerment. This includes the establishment of a Small Business Development Department, the Black Industrialists Programme and the participation of South Africa in Brics and the participation of black business in the Brics Business Council.

But Pityana said that transformation and empowerment cannot be used as an excuse to defend corruption, poor governance and poor economic leadership. He added that the BBC’s reasons for supporting Zuma were “flimsy” and that they falter in comparison to the fact that the Constitutional Court found that the president failed to uphold his oath of office.

READ: FULL JUDGMENT: Constitutional Court rules on Nkandla

Pityana added that Zuma continued to “obstruct” efforts by business and labour to avoid a sovereign downgrade by failing to stabilise state-owned enterprises, and by projecting policy certainty.

The BBC’s chairperson George Sebulela has not yet responded to Fin24's request for comment. 

ALSO READ: Zuma vs Ramaphosa: Who is in charge of SOEs?

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