Jail Bain executives, says former BLSA boss Bonang Mohale

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Former BLSA chief executive, Bonang Mohale.
Former BLSA chief executive, Bonang Mohale.
  • Former BLSA boss Bonang Mohale says firms implicated in state capture have no place in the business group.
  • He says the reputation of BLSA is sacrosanct.
  • Bain voluntarily withdrew its BLSA membership, but the organisation had previously welcomed it among its ranks.

The executives of the local unit of US management consultancy Bain and Company should be charged and serve time following the company's implication in the State Capture Inquiry report, according to former Business Leadership SA (BLSA) CEO Bonang Mohale.

Mohale, who headed the organisation from June 2017 to end of June 2019, also questioned the re-instatement of the company's membership in April 2021 following its suspension in September 2018. Bain's name had featured prominently in the Nugent Commission report into the destruction of the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

"Bain must be charged, convicted and sentenced. Those executives must serve time," Mohale said during a Think Big Series discussion by financial services group, PSG.

The business lobby group under the current CEO, Busisiwe Mavuso, had resisted cutting ties with Bain following the release of the first volume of the state capture report by acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo earlier this month. Mavuso had maintained that the consultancy was not "inherently corrupt", arguing that it had taken remedial measures.

Mohale, however, stated that the reputation of the organisation which represents big business in the country is "sacrosanct".

The Zondo report was scathing in its assessment of Bain's "unlawful" consultancy work for SARS. The report recommended that law enforcement agencies should investigate Bain, "with a view to enabling the National Prosecuting Authority to decide whether to initiate prosecutions" related to the awarding of contracts from SARS to the group. 

It further recommended that all Bain's contracts with state departments and organs of state be re-examined for regulatory and constitutional compliance.

Bain voluntarily quit BLSA on 18 January.

Mohale also questioned the company's readmission in 2021 while the Zondo Commission was nearing the end of its inquiry. He said he would have proposed to the council that handles readmission to wait until the inquiry was over in case the report revealed unflattering details about the company.

Bain was readmitted into BLSA in April 2021, before the Zondo Commission's report was released.

Mohale's stinging criticism of the companies implicated in state capture did not end with Bain. He said other entities implicated in state capture have no place in BLSA until they have cleared their names. 

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