Former Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela on Tuesday gave the keynote address at the 11th Trialogue Business in Society Conference in Johannesburg, where she said that the biggest challenge facing South Africa and the world was social injustice.
The conference aims to promote thought leadership, collaboration and innovation for more effective development, with emphasis on business’s integral role in society.
Madonsela said for as long as there was injustice in the world, peace was at risk.
She went on to state that social justice was about ending poverty and reducing social injustice.
It was important for black South Africans to be global citizens, she stressed.
“Black South Africans needs to know about the opportunities out there. It is better to light the small candle and curse the darkness. We need to scale up the initiative and connect the light. When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion,” Madonsela averred.
The problem, she noted, was not democracy but the fact that the economic system and political system were not reconciled.
Madonsela pointed out that countries like Canada and Sweden were able to reconcile the two and added that corruption was a significant factor in slowing down progress.
Referring to the current developments in the North West province, Madonsela said corruption undermined equality.
She also urged business to play a role in helping through corporate social investment (CSI) and revealed that while she had come from a poor background she was able to become educated through the generosity of strangers.
Madonsela also challenged business to do more than just give and encouraged them to also collect funds like in the case of KFC’s R2 Add Hope initiative, where it asks customers if they would like to add R2 to their meal purchase which, in turn, gets donated to nongovernment organisations to assist children.
“Corporate social responsibility should not be linked to BEE but it should be about the world we live in and about giving for common good and improving society,” Madonsela said.
In her conclusion she commended the work already done by President Cyril Ramaphosa since he took office in February and advised him not to let his guard down.
STATE CAPTURE AND THE ECONOMY
Meanwhile, Business Leadership South Africa CEO Bonang Mohale said that South Africans were resilient.
He was referring to the tackling of State Capture and in particular the Estina dairy farm investigation, which was finally being accelerated by the Hawks.
“What took us six years to try and accomplish through the judicial system following Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report was finally accomplished under the new leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa. That is why tomorrow is going to be better than today because we are a resilient bunch,” said Mohale.
He went on to say that overseas investors saw ‘Madiba’s children’ in South Africans.
Mohale added that while State capture was at its height, the country was able to function because of intellectuals such as former Treasury director general Lungisa Fuzile and Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala.
He went on to state that Ramaphosa had inherited a public administration worse than the one inherited by Nelson Mandela’s administration.
Mohale stressed that one of the key challenges of government was to fast-track CSI.
“Ethical leadership will help enhance good leadership which will enact good policies to help those who are less fortunate,” he said.