Former foreign affairs director-general and AngloGold Ashanti chairperson Sipho Pityana is calling on business to stand up and speak out against government corruption and ongoing state capture and demand clean and accountable governance.
Speaking at the Joburg Mining Indaba yesterday, Pityana reiterated his call for President Jacob Zuma to go.
“The elephant in the room is a president who lacks integrity and lacks honour. None of the promises he makes to any segment of society can be held on to, because he lacks integrity.”
He said the business community had a vital role to play in saving South Africa, but time was being wasted.
“Business is present in every home in one way or another, yet it is a missing voice in meaningful social discourse on the most important issue of the day.”
Pityana commended Business Leadership South Africa and Business Unity SA for starting to ask the right questions about what was happening in the country under Zuma. He said the CEOs of FirstRand, Sibanye Gold and De Beers had also voiced their concerns.
“We’ve also seen churches voice their concern at our leadership and the state of our nation. Civil society is speaking out, with a growing chorus, including NGOs, students and academics. We have seen more urgency from opposition political parties and there is a growing clamour on social media saying one thing, which I agree with: ‘Zuma must go’.”
Pityana said that, even within the ANC-led alliance, there was restlessness with the SACP, some Cosatu unions, ANC branches and new lobby groups such as #OccupyLuthuliHouse breaking ranks over the crisis under Zuma’s leadership.
“The stakes for those inside the alliance are impossibly high — yet they have found the courage to challenge their peers,” Pityana said.
“If we each continue to keep our heads down, protecting our own, narrow self-interest, the business environment we are so desperately trying to protect with our silence will simply become unmanageable.
“We can agree and must agree, that … the government is incapable of genuine reform.”