Press Statements

Johannesburg, South Africa; 6 April 2018

The Black Management Forum (the BMF) welcomes the judgement on Mr Mark Lamberti, the Group CEO of Imperial Holdings Limited and a Board Member at Eskom SOC, which was delivered by Judge Pieter Meyer at the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday, 3 April 2018.

The BMF welcomes the ruling as it seeks to restore and protect the dignity of the plaintiff, Ms Adila Chowan, a highly qualified and experienced black female executive. The comments that are attributed by Mr Lamberti have absolutely no place in South Africa as they seek to drag our country backwards and are reminiscent of our brutal past. Race and gender discrimination in the workplace that is perpetuated by those in positions of authority should have no place in our business society.

Business plays a critical and significant role in our society. We cannot let the scourge of racial and gender discrimination be left unattended. The extreme masculinity that was shown by Mr Lamberti and his all-white executive team when Ms Chowan raised her discomfort at the comments made by him must be condemned in its strongest sense. This behaviour needs to stop. Power and influence must not be used to suppress career progression of qualified black female executives.

The violation and discrimination of women in corporate South Africa leaves a lot to be desired. The objectification of black women in the workplace cannot be addressed solely by policies but by a responsible company leadership attitude and corporate systems that see black women executives as equal players in business and the companies they work for.

The BMF calls on the Eskom board, in particular the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan to remove Mr Lamberti as a board member of Eskom. By extension, we also call on the board of Imperial Holdings Limited to remove Mr Lamberti as its Group CEO. It is inconceivable to have Mr Lamberti sit on any board or position of authority when he holds such discriminatory views against black women executives. Lastly, the BMF calls for the amendment of the Companies Act 71 of 2008, Section 69(8), ‘disqualification to be a director of a company’, to include all offences under the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998, the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act and the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000.

Johannesburg, South Africa; 3 April 2018

The Black Management Forum (the BMF) mourns the sad passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Mam’ Winnie, as she was affectionately called, was a struggle icon who played a phenomenal role in striving for freedom in South Africa. She was a champion freedom fighter; a heroine.

The BMF will remember Mam’ Winnie for her courageous and selfless leadership having defied repressive laws especially those associated with patriarchy.

Mam’ Winnie was a fore-bearer for gender equality and was dedicated to women emancipation and empowerment. She was an inspiration to many women across the country who had to head up their families when their male relatives were incarcerated.

The ideals that Mam’ Winnie lived and fought for are equivalent to the mandate of the BMF of influencing socio-economic transformation in South Africa, in pursuit of socio-economic justice, fairness and equity. In 2007, the BMF bestowed on Mam’ Winnie a “Lifetime Achievement” award for exemplary leadership and bravery in leading the country to freedom and democracy.

Mam’ Winnie may be gone but she will never be forgotten.

The role she played in fighting for freedom and democracy will forever be engraved in our hearts. 

Johannesburg, South Africa; 3 April 2018 

The Black Management Forum (the BMF) which is at the forefront of transformation in Corporate South Africa welcomes and celebrates the appointment of Basani Maluleke as the Chief Executive Officer of African Bank. Basani Maluleke is the first black woman to head a bank in South Africa.

“We are proud of the progressive and exemplary move made by African Bank to appoint Ms Maluleke to head the bank. The appointment of Ms Maluleke, a seasoned executive is a step in the right direction especially against the backdrop of setbacks on transformation of executive teams of major financial services sector companies in corporate South Africa. Ms Maluleke’s appointment also shows African Bank’s seriousness about succession planning as Ms Maluleke went through a succession induction process from July 2017,” said Mncane Mthunzi, President of the BMF.

“Ms Maluleke’s appointment further highlights the benefits of converting a non-executive director to an executive director in a company. As a previous non-executive director at African Bank, Ms Maluleke is already well versed in all aspects of the company. The conversion makes sense for companies to leverage high-performing and thought-leadership that already exists within its board and use non-executives as a talent pool to fill vacancies at executive levels. The conversion of non-executive directors to executive directors will accelerate black talent and help top management in organisation to reflect demographics of our society,” continued Mthunzi.

Ms Maluleke’s appointment shows that African Bank takes employment equity and gender diversity seriously. Companies that have women directors and executives send a clear message that they value diversity of thought, perspective and experience. Advancing women leadership is a business imperative.

The BMF extends its well wishes to Ms Maluleke pledges its unwavering support as she takes African Bank to greater heights and drives to achieving transformation at African Bank.

Johannesburg, South Africa; 12 March 2018

The Black Management Forum (the BMF) has noted the decision taken by the South African Reserve Bank (the Reserve Bank) to put VBS Mutual Bank (VBS) under curatorship.  The curatorship process should not have been the first method of intervention in assisting the bank with its liquidity challenges. The BMF is of the view that the Reserve Bank and National Treasury should use this process as an opportunity to move faster and address a sharp observation of the joint committees – the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry and the Standing Committee on Finance – concerning transformation in the financial services sector.

Amongst others, the parliamentary committees observed that “the main banks in South Africa function in a globalised financial system and that there are imperatives for the country to meet the requirements of global standards on the financial sector set by multilateral institutions in which South Africa participates. However, the committees believe that National Treasury and government in general shape policies and Bills too much on the basis of these standards and too little on the specific requirements of the country. Some of these standards could serve to undermine the goals of economic and social transformation in the country and exacerbate race, class, gender and other inequalities.”

The BMF will seek to engage with the management, shareholders, relevant key stakeholders of VBS as well as those from Treasury to get the full details and context on this matter and decision taken.

The BMF hopes that the outcome of the consultations with the relevant parties concerned will get VBS back to a fully operational Board and Executive to a sound footing. The BMF urges that the VBS commercial licensing application processbe expedited to ensure that they do notwait the normal 12 – 18 months review period.

Johannesburg, South Africa

The Black Management Forum (the BMF) which is the foremost organisation in the development of managerial leadership and advancement of socio-economic transformation in South Africa is proud of the appointment of Zweli Manyathi as Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Personal and Business Banking (PBB) at Standard Bank. Manyathi was previously the PBB CEO for Africa regions.

“The BMF is encouraged by the transformation journey taken by Sim Tshabalala since he took over as sole CEO of the bank. Manyathi’s appointment is a clear demonstration of what the BMF expects from all black executives in advancing the transformation agenda in the corporates they lead. Standard Bank has exhibited their seriousness about succession planning and respect for black talent and leadership. We need to continue to build a critical mass of black executives of Manyathi’s caliber,” commented the BMF President Mncane Mthunzi.

Manyathi’s appointment is a step in the right direction especially against the backdrop of setbacks on transformation of executive teams of major companies within the financial services sector. The BMF further welcomes the appointment as it has identified the financial services sector as one of the least transformed sectors in the country. 

“Manyathi is an eminent role model to black professionals. This appointment inspires us as black professionals that we have a future in these companies and that our talents can propel us to achieve greater heights,” concluded Mthunzi.

The BMF extends itswell wishes to Manyathi and pledges its unwavering support to him and his business.

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