Business Leadership South Africa, which represents many large corporates in the country, recently published an open letter to ANC MPs, urging them to vote in the future motion of no confidence bid using their conscience.
According to Sygnia CEO, Magda Wierzycka, this is a sign that private businesses in the country are “finally waking up” to the reality that president Jacob Zuma and his policies are a significant risk to the country.
The CEO has been vocally against president Zuma, and has pegged South Africa’s economic woes on his whims. She said she would be willing to pay the president any amount of money for him to step down – so great is his destructive effect on the country, and the potential for him to send it deeper into the ground.
She highlighted that the removal of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan; the continued delay of the signing of the anti-corruption bill; as well as new-found narratives of “radical economic transformation”, “white monopoly capital” and land redistribution without compensation hold major risks for the country.
“The president of South Africa has called the whole of South Africa’s bluff. Hence, to maintain this relationship on an even keel, one needs to respond in kind,” she said.
Wierzycka highlighted a number of ways South African businesses – which as the country’s biggest employers and taxpayers, hold a significant amount of power – can legally push back against the destruction of the economy.
These steps are legal, non-threatening, and can be taken without having them challenged in court:
- Businesses can withhold capital – not through tax revolt, but by refusing to invest in future bonds issued by government and state-owned companies.
- Funding should be withheld until proper boards and audits on SOEs have been completed.
- Businesses can call on the international investment community to stop supporting the SA government until corruption has been rotted out.
- Businesses should inform the international investment community of the political risks facing the country – as it is evident that they are unaware.
- Businesses can refuse to tender for government projects and terminate current projects.
- Businesses can freeze hiring until changes are implemented.
- Businesses can donate money to civil action groups and unions and opposition parties.
- Businesses can spend money on advertising campaigns to educate the general population on destructive economic narratives and policies.
- Businesses can help fund legal cases currently underway, challenging corrupt government processes.
- Businesses can bring their own civil cases against anyone who, through their actions, destroys shareholder value.