By Alec Hogg
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille will doubtless afford herself a wry smile over the demise of Bell Pottinger and growing problems for KPMG, McKinsey and SAP. Zille, pilloried over a tweet saying not everything about colonialism was bad, knows what it’s like to be the target of a righteously indignant pack. The multinationals are beginning to get a taste.
Having buried Bell Pottinger, the UK media is starting to hunt other Goliaths inflicted with the Gupta Curse. An article in the London Financial Times yesterday showed it is very much onto KPMG’s case. Other media heavy hitters have grabbed hold of global news agency Reuters’ explosive report on McKinsey and are doing their own follow ups.
What they find incredulous is the crude way these big name firms facilitated the Gupta plunder of South African taxpayer resources – motivated solely by profit justified by the belief they wouldn’t be caught, and that this was how all business is conducted in SA. The Enron accounting shenanigans which brought down the one-time audit giant Andersen appear tame by comparison.
The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. But only if its user is allowed to operate without fear or favour. The founding fathers who drafted SA’s admired Constitution took great pains to ensure press freedom was enshrined. Today we all know why. And will three of the mightiest Goliaths of the global business establishment. Soon enough.