DAVID Gleason’s Torque column is always great. He has highlighted an issue that leaves me annoyed and angry, even though I have some sympathy for JSE listed companies’ CEOs and chairmen (From tip-toeing to stepping on toes, August 3). Unfortunately, their silence is deafening.
I am constantly amazed at the timidity of these people — both in their public and private lives (which admittedly overlap) — faced as they are with the continued onslaught their companies suffer at the hands of this government’s agencies and its affiliates, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party.
These couple of hundred companies provide the lion’s share of governments collection of revenue by way of VAT, PAYE, company and dividend tax, yet they cower at the incompetent minions in government that bully them. Hark, I hear echoes of the old SA — however I fear it is worse this time.
Are they just protecting their shareholders? A dependency on government largesse for contracts? Or is it really just their inflated emoluments and share options that matter? I for one, as a small shareholder of a wide range of the JSE’s offering, will jump to support more forthright CEOs even if it hurts their company share price in the short term. In the long term, their silence will be far more damaging.
At the moment the private sector is a prop to this government — it needs to start stepping on toes — it needs to assist in the process of voting this regime out of power.
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