Trump administration leads calls for SA to sort out corruption, BBBEE issues
THESOUTHAFRICAN / O3 FEBRUARY 2019 - 14.45 /TOM HEAD
Five countries, including the UK and the US, have written to Ramaphosa and asked him to iron out domestic issues of corruption, or lose out on foreign investment.
A startling change in diplomatic tact from some top South African allies has raised eyebrows in Pretoria. Five major nations: the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands – have all called on Cyril Ramaphosa to enforce judicial proceedings on those involved in corruption.
President Cyril Ramaphosa chairing the BRICS Leaders’ Summit at the Alvear Palace Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina [Photo: GCIS]
In a bit of a do this or else letter, the countries apparently threatened to cut South Africa’s foreign investment. This just months after Ramaphosa’s road showed brought in some decent dosh.
The letter detailing the concerns has been described as “unprecedented” by the Sunday Times, who have confirmed with the office of the presidency that world leaders are certainly keeping a keen eye on the state capture inquiry.
How foreign investment hinges on corruption follow-through
Cyril Ramaphosa has made a foreign investment drive one of the key facets of his leadership. He’s secured hundreds of billions of rand in cross-country deals, as he targets $100 billion (R1.2 trillion) from overseas investors.
However, his mission has been interrupted – rather than derailed – by this coming together of concerned diplomats. The five countries who signed off on the explosive memorandum contribute roughly 75% to all foreign investment made in South Africa. These parties now want guarantees on convictions, after an engrossing month at the Zondo Commission.
Corruption in South Africa: Who signed the letter addressed to Cyril Ramaphosa
US Chargé d’Affaires Jessye Lapenn
Dutch Ambassador Han Peters
Swiss Ambassador Helene Budliger Artieda
German Ambassador Martin Schäfer
British High Commissioner Nigel Casey
Mining and BBBEE also attacked
For many, the stand-out intervention will be from the USA. The Trump Administration hasn’t made too much noise about South Africa, barring one pretty crass tweet from Donny T last summer on land expropriation.
However, along with their international colleagues, this seems to be a more measured and rational approach from the American representatives. Here’s what was featured in the document, and it includes concerns raised about SA’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment programmes as well as corruption and shifts in mining policy:
“We have been watching the revelations of the Zondo and other commissions very attentively. The commission is also being followed very closely from abroad, in our home countries. No investor would venture to come to SA without proper and comprehensive guarantees for their investment.”
“We need to trust sustainable, legal frameworks for domestic activities. Ever-modified rules of the game and changing of the goalposts for mining, BBBEE and intellectual property rights has created uncertainty that hampers investment.”
Memorandum signed by five countries, addressed to South Africa.
Bosasa case sets alarm bells ringing
Star witnesses at the state capture inquiry have implicated government ministers, high-profile business owners and even former President Jacob Zuma in the sophisticated bribery operation run by security service company Bosasa, who are knee-deep in corruption allegations.
They hold multiple government contracts and have been accused of keeping the likes of JZ sweet with monthly R300 000 bribes. Even Ramaphosa himself has faced difficult questions over his dealings with the organisation, who donated R500 000 to his ANC leadership campaign.
The dignitaries are about done with salacious testimony and dramatic revelations, though. Like the rest of us, they want words to be followed up with actions. With Cyril so keen to impress his international colleagues, this memorandum could be the swift kick up the backside South Africa needs.
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER