Defending Bain is 'legitimising wrongdoing', says Black Business Council

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The logo of Bain and Company
The logo of Bain and Company

The Black Business Council (BBC) has joined critics calling for action to be taken against companies, notably consultancy Bain & Company, who were implicated in the first part of the Zondo Commission's report on state capture.

The law should take its course and justice be done, regardless of whether it involves "big, small, black- or white-owned, local or global" companies or individuals, the BBC said in a statement on Friday.

The first part of the Zondo report was released last week.

The Council called for no "fear or favour" to be shown in the process. Even those who have reimbursed funds earned irregularly "should still face the full might of the law", it said.

Bain has been at the centre of a controversy this week after business lobby Business Leadership South Africa opted to retain it as a member. The consultancy paid back the money it earned from its work at the South African Revenue Service, with interest, which amounted to over R200 million.

BLSA argues that Bain's former leadership was responsible for the suspect conduct at SARS, and that reforms have since been instituted. BLSA CEO Busi Mavuso says the organisation does not believe Bain is "inherently corrupt".

But the BBC believes Bain should face further sanctions.

"The BBC is of the view that companies such as Bain should be blacklisted and prevented from doing business with the state. Reimbursing the State and getting off scot-free makes a mockery of our legal system and does not constitute sufficient punishment for wrongdoing."

The BBC further argued that anti-apartheid activist and former British MP Lord Peter Hain has called on the UK government to bar the US management consultancy from doing business in that country by freezing all its contracts with the government, subject to Bain's co-operation with the NPA in SA. 

"What is stopping the South African government from doing the same? There should be serious consequences and accountability for private sector companies that enabled looting and state capture. We urge those that are defending Bain to be consistent and stop legitimising wrongdoing," said Matabane. 

Bain is of the view that the Zondo report mischaracterised the role it played at SARS.

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