Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Politically connected BEE players losing status

The RepTrak Leader SA 2012 survey – conducted by the Reputation Institute South Africa – rated the leadership qualities of the top business‚ political and BEE figures in South Africa.

Of the 1 304 economically active people surveyed, it found there had been a huge shift in the reputations of BEE business leaders from similar surveys conducted previously.

Mining magnate Patrice Motsepe achieved the highest score in the survey‚ at 64.56%‚ while BEE leaders Cyril Ramaphosa‚ Tokyo Sexwale and Saki Macozoma were placed 13th‚ 15th and 16th respectively with scores of 55.54 (Ramaphosa)‚ 54.75 (Sexwale) and 54.74 (Macozoma).

In overall second place was general secretary of the Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (Cosatu) Zwelinzima Vavi (61.17).

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe‚ with a rating of 59.93‚ was overall third‚ with MTN CEO Sifiso Dabengwa (59.38) and SABMiller CEO Graham Mackay (59.31) in fourth and fifth places‚ respectively.

Reputation Institute South Africa’s MD and senior lecturer in strategy at Wits Business School‚ Dr Dominik Heil‚ said: "In previous surveys‚ BEE leaders were overall seen as iconic‚ and as a vivid demonstration that the ordinary person could make it to the top of the pile.

Political clout
"Whereas this is presumably still true for Patrice Motsepe‚ the prominent players in the BEE space who are seen to have gotten there predominantly through political clout rather than entrepreneurial initiative are no longer regarded as proxies for people’s aspirations and are now in the middle of the spectrum‚" Dr Heil said.

"Despite their philanthropic initiatives‚ they have failed to convince the public that their involvement in the economy has helped to build a more equitable society or has benefited South Africans at large. This provides an opportune moment for a new conversation about making BEE work for those in real need of empowerment."

All those surveyed were living standards measure 6 and above‚ had some level of education and lived mostly in Gauteng‚ KwaZulu-Natal‚ the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape. In order to qualify to participate in the survey respondents had to be "somewhat" or "very familiar" with a leader to provide a rating.

BEE leaders surveyed were chosen after a combination of a preliminary qualitative research on top-of-mind familiarity about beneficiaries of BEE deals and a Google search on number of mentions of these candidates to verify their prominence.

With an average score of 49.4‚ politicians in South Africa performed better than other world political leaders (who scored 43.20 in a similar survey in 2011)‚ while South African business CEOs‚ with an average score of 55.68‚ fared worse than the global average for business leaders of 59.80.

Heil said the study aimed to give an informed baseline to the debate about the kind of leadership needed in South Africa to achieve a shared vision of society.

'Inherent bias'
"It was interesting for us at Reputation Institute to see that overall there is no strong inherent bias for or against political or business leaders as such‚ and that you could find people of different sectors‚ gender and races at the top‚ in the middle and at the bottom of the pile‚" he said.

Heil said it was an important aspect of any leader not just to fulfil their managerial tasks but also to manage appropriately the perceptions among the public and stakeholders.

"South Africa comes from a long history of leaders who are holding themselves accountable to cliques rather than society at large‚" he said.

The study found that in the context of the current debate on CEO remuneration‚ there seemed to be no inherent bias against well-paid or rich leaders. The issue seemed to be rather whether business leaders contributed to value creation in a way that justified their financial reward.

"Those leaders who have done well in the survey seemingly demonstrate a good understanding of the space that they occupy in society and are perceived to occupy it with vision‚ integrity and in a way that earns respect‚ even if people don’t agree with everything they say or do‚" Heil concluded. – I-Net Bridge

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

I Net Bridge
Guest Author

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Zondo commission: 10 unanswered questions

Zuma went to jail rather than testify. Some who did told blatant lies. Who decided Cabinet appointments and how much money was carried out of Saxonwold?

Local elections: Water tops the agenda in Limpopo’s dry villages

People in the Fetakgomo Tubatse local municipality, who have to collect water from Motse River, are backing independent candidates because they’re tired of parties’ election promises

More top stories

Zondo commission: 10 unanswered questions

Zuma went to jail rather than testify. Some who did told blatant lies. Who decided Cabinet appointments and how much money was carried out of Saxonwold?

Nigeria’s palm wine tappers face stiff competition

Large companies such as International Breweries and Nigerian Breweries are vying for the population’s drinking money

Covid-19 border closures hit Zimbabwe’s women traders hard

The past 18 months have been tough for women cross-border traders, who saw their income vanish when borders closed

Local elections: Water tops the agenda in Limpopo’s dry villages

People in the Fetakgomo Tubatse local municipality, who have to collect water from Motse River, are backing independent candidates because they’re tired of parties’ election promises
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×