Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) has accepted consulting firm Bain’s decision to withdraw from the organisation.
BLSA has been criticised for recently re-accepting Bain to its membership after the firm's part in the so-called restructuring of the South African Revenue Service (Sars) to facilitate corrupt activities, which had seen Bain having its BLSA membership suspended in September 2018 following revelations to that effect at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into Sars.
BLSA's reappointment of Bain to its membership saw it citing that the firm had made satisfactory changes through several interventions that realised past mistakes.
As such, in April 2021, the BLSA board resolved to readmit Bain, satisfied at the key interventions implemented by the company, including the appointment of an independent board chairperson, the implementation of risk protocols for public sector clients and an increased level of oversight by Bain & Company international.
Bain's mention, however, in the Zondo Commission of Inquiry’s first report on State capture, saw both Bain and BLSA come under fire and Bain, on January 18, decided to withdraw its membership.
In a statement on January 19, BLSA said it reaffirms its commitment to ensure that all those involved in State capture are appropriately held to account. “We hope that as a society we can collectively direct our attention to seeking justice and amends for the damage to our country during the years of state capture and reforming our institutions to ensure it never happens again.”
BLSA also stated that it supported South African institutions in their recovery following the years of State capture and that, through Business Against Crime, BLSA aims to work alongside its social partners to support the criminal justice system.
The organisation posits that its goal is to contribute to raising the ethical standards of business, and that to that end, its members are all subject to BLSA’s integrity pledge which prioritises the fight against corruption. “[BLSA] will continue to lead by example and support the fight against corruption alongside our social partners.”