Condemning the Abuse of Professionals

The Office of the Presidency

September 18, 2023

The Black Management Forum (BMF) is deeply concerned and troubled by the recent developments at Postbank surrounding the resignation of Non-Executive Directors and the Chairperson of the Board.

We view this occurrence as an example of the ongoing challenges that professionals are confronted with, especially those entrusted with leading critical (public) institutions. The events leading to the resignation underscore the urgent need for safeguarding the dignity, character, status, and reputation of professionals in leadership roles.

BMF firmly believes that professionals, irrespective of their positions or affiliations, should be allowed to discharge their duties with integrity, professionalism, and a sense of duty to the public. We recognize that the appointment of board members to state-owned entities is a critical aspect of good governance.

Board members play a pivotal role in ensuring the effective operation and strategic direction of these institutions. It is however essential that they are allowed to operate independently and without undue

political interference. We assert that professionals should be empowered to execute their responsibilities in a manner that serves the best interests of the public and the institutions they lead.

The circumstances surrounding the resignation of the Postbank board members have cast a shadow on the principles of good governance. It is troubling to note that the board members had committed to constructive engagement with the minister of Communications and Digital technologies, Mr Mondli Gungubele to foster a productive working relationship. Their commitment to professionalism and their willingness to engage constructively was a demonstration of their dedication to their roles.

The resignation of board members who were due to serve for several years also raises questions about the long-term stability and governance of the Postbank. The impact of these resignations on the institution’s leadership and decision-making processes cannot be underestimated. Agencies of the state are a significant contributor in shaping the careers and development of many Black Professionals in the interests of grooming industry leaders who further our pursuits of transformation and professional excellence. These are people with limited pathways in Socioeconomic South Africa whose only chance lies in the preservation of the stability and integrity of such institutions. It is incumbent upon relevant authorities to address this situation promptly and effectively.

The BMF calls for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the resignations and the conduct of Minister Gungubele in this regard. It is essential to determine whether there was any undue influence or political interference in the operations of Postbank. Such investigations should be conducted transparently and independently to uphold the principles of accountability and good governance. The Black Management Forum condemns the abuse of professionals in leadership positions and reaffirms our commitment to upholding the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, transparency, and commitment to socio-economic transformation, development and empowerment.

We call for the protection of the dignity and integrity of professionals, especially those serving in critical roles in stateowned entities. “It is of vital importance that professionals are allowed to carry out their duties without fear of hostility, intimidation, oppression, or interference. We urge all stakeholders, including government officials and professionals, to work together to ensure that the principles of good governance are upheld, and the public interest is served diligently and ethically. It is only through such collective efforts and preservation of sound institutions that we can build a stronger and more prosperous South Africa for all”- said BMF President, Dr Sibongile Vilakazi.