Country Analyses, Second Edition
Edited by Christine A. Mallin
Chapter 18: Corporate governance in South Africa
Lynn McGregor It’s only when you admit deficiencies and weaknesses that you make sense to the people, who can see for themselves. After fifteen years people are saying: ‘Where is the delivery?’ President Zuma, Time (Perry, 2009) INTRODUCTION In 1994 when the first democratic elections were held peacefully in South Africa, South Africa inspired the rest of the world. The name of Nelson Mandela was an icon of the greatness of the human spirit, yet his government had inherited a bankrupt country, oppressive practices, riddled with racism and a deprived and badly educated majority black population. The country was on the brink of civil war, but this was averted. The business community played a prominent part in taking part in negotiations to bring about peaceful change. Since then there have been three successful elections, South Africa has taken a prominent place in African affairs, the United Nations and other key organizations, and was the only African country to be represented at the G20 summit in April 2009. Given its history, corporate governance in South Africa is inextricably connected with the socio-political and economic environment in South Africa (Welsh, 2000). On the one hand it is regarded as having some of the most advanced corporate governance thinking and practices in the world. On the other hand the government and the business community have to take into account the abject poverty and historical deprivation of the majority of the population. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE IN SOUTH AFRICA South Africa is a pluralistic multi-racial/cultural...
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