Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Mboweni calls on business to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies

Reflecting on his tenure as finance minister, Tito Mboweni said on Monday that he feels like a war veteran after stepping down in August.

“The demands on the fiscus in South Africa, as is the case in many parts of the world, are immense, particularly in the context of high unemployment. We constantly have to balance the responsibilities to serve and protect the people in our countries … with a broader objective to grow the economy,” said Mboweni, who was delivering the seventh Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Annual Lecture on values-based leadership hosted by Rhodes University.

Demands were made on the budget and the result, Mboweni said, was more borrowing, leading to more debt “and getting the country more and more towards a debt crisis”.

To “get economy recovery going” it was important to improve educational outcomes throughout the system, particularly early childhood development, and implement youth employment interventions. 

He said skills constraints must be addressed by importing skills from abroad “to show that we have a capable and developmental state”.

“We do not need more planning or guesswork about what needs to be done. We know what needs to be done, we just need to get on with what we need to do,” said Mboweni stressing that state administration must be up to the task to drive economic renewal.

He called on business to adopt a just and sustainable economic system, pointing to the United Nations’ Global Compact that advocates sustainable and socially responsible policies.

“This global corporate stage means operating in ways which meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption, yet, the general essence of the global business community remains the endless pursuit of profits before people”.

Stressing the importance of the 2021 UN climate change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in early November in Scotland, he said, ”Corporate citizens need to report on how they’re handling labour and employment principles. It is high time that the business community sees the work of social and ethics committees not as mere ticking box exercises and make them fundamental to their value system.”

Vote for an informed choice

We’re dropping the paywall this week so that everyone can access all our stories for free, and get the information they need in the run up to the local government elections. For the latest updates and political analysis, sign up to our daily elections newsletter.

If our coverage helps inform your decision, cast your vote for an informed public and join our subscriber community. Right now, a full year’s access is just R510, half the usual cost. Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a junior daily news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a freelance journalist and a broadcaster at Maroela Media and Smile90.4FM.

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Appointment of ‘incompetent’ Mahikeng manager unlawful, court finds

Mike Mokgwamme, the high court ruled, was appointed to the crucial municipal manager post despite being the least qualified candidate

Sisulu to appeal Umgeni board court ruling

New Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has already started moves to implement the court order and dissolve Sisulu’s interim board

High court dismisses Zuma’s plea for state prosecutor Billy Downer’s...

Judge Piet Koen set 11 April 2022 as the date for the arms deal trial to commence and if Zuma’s counsel signalled that they may seek leave to appeal, this is highly unlikely to force an umpteenth delay

Drop in registered voters, but will turnout continue to rise?

Voter turnout for local government elections has steadily risen since 2000, but the uptick could be stalled by Covid-19, much like registration has been

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…