The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
During the “suddenly” phase, things tend to happen quickly. Especially when malfeasance begins to surface. Yesterday, the main editorial comment in the London Financial Times called for a robust international response to what it called “SA’s descent into despotism.” It reflects global interest in the industrial scale theft facilitated by president Jacob Zuma and multinationals KPMG, SAP and McKinsey for the crony capitalist Gupta family.
Within SA, the criminal justice system has reacted to the expose’s slower than a garden snail. But the private sector is starting to follow the lead of Sygnia’s CEO Magda Wierzycka with Sasfin yesterday becoming the second JSE-listed company to fire KPMG. They could soon be joined by banking heavyweights Absa and Investec, both of whom are poised to cut relationships which go back decades.
Tomorrow McKinsey’s top brass will try to explain themselves to anti-corruption flag bearer Iraj Abedian who has called their theft of billions “primitive and crude”. As FW de Klerk opined last week, despite enormous pressure, South Africa’s centre has held. With more than a little help from 200,000 emails from within the Gupta Empire that were leaked. Hope springs.
A post script to Tuesday’s mail. The feature of the note, Cees Bruggemans, unfortunately never got the chance to read it. He passed away yesterday morning. Economists around the country have their flags at half mast today. This clear, independent thinker is a big loss to his profession. And the nation.
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.