DEMOCRATIC Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko has objected to President Jacob Zuma’s statement at the weekend that business leaders should align themselves with the African National Congress (ANC) to further their business interests.
The Sunday Times reported that the president told the ANC’s anniversary gala dinner in Durban on Friday night that businessmen who supported the ANC were investing well in their businesses. "Everything you touch will multiply," he said.
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu on Monday rejected Ms Mazibuko’s concerns and said the party supported Mr Zuma’s view that "businesses that support the ANC will prosper".
"It is a sad fact that Lindiwe Mazibuko is so naive when it comes to African traditions that she cannot relate to them. It is our tradition as Africans that if someone gives you something, in return you thank him or her and wish them prosperity and abundance.
"It is also a fact that the ANC is the only party in South Africa that has economic-and business-friendly policies. The implication of this reality is that if business wants to prosper in South Africa they have to support the ANC as their prosperity is dependent on the ANC being at the helm of South Africa’s government."
But Ms Mazibuko said Mr Zuma’s comments had the potential of severely compromising the principles of good governance. "They imply that by backing the ANC, businesses will be provided with financial reward, which can only be leveraged through state resources.
"With high levels of corruption already costing the economy billions of rands, such a comment is deeply irresponsible."
Ms Mazibuko said Mr Zuma confused the role of the state and party. He remarked in Parliament in May last year that he saw nothing wrong with politicians doing business with the state.
Black Management Forum national president Bonang Mohale said it was important for South Africa’s economic development and transformation for there to be a close relationship between business, labour, government and civil society. This close relationship existed all over the world and was especially important in South Africa, where the government would fail or succeed on its ability to manage.
Business could help the government to effectively execute its policies and develop skills.
South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Neren Rau declined to comment on what he said was a political matter.