A conspiracy of silence

THE conspiracy of silence surrounding allegations against former Vodacom chief executive Alan Knott-Craig betrays a hypocrisy that only the most optimistic will not read race and identity politics into.

THE conspiracy of silence surrounding allegations against former Vodacom chief executive Alan Knott-Craig betrays a hypocrisy that only the most optimistic will not read race and identity politics into.

It might be a coincidence that there is always excitement each time black corporate leaders are alleged to have done wrong, many of whom get convicted by a jury of newspaper letter writers and callers to radio talk shows.

There would have been a huge clamour had the recently exited head of a government department or parastatal countered the allegation that he got R1million a month for staying at home by merely saying that "it was not that much" without proffering a different number.

It is not enough to argue, as some have, that those raising issues with Vodacom's policy of paying their former chief executive millions for staying at home are disgruntled employees.

The motives of the whistleblowers cannot change right from wrong.

The indifference to this scandal is yet another manifestation of market fundamentalism. The lie that the corporate world can do no wrong has allowed it to get away with fixing prices, posting huge profits and then attributing these to "efficiency" or the exemplary leadership of executives.

If we are driven by principles and a desire for good governance when we attack government departments or state-owned enterprises, we should have the same courage to speak to the power that is corporate South Africa.

We need to show consistency.

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