Russell Loubser, the former chief executive of the JSE and former member of the SAA board, hit out at corruption and the lack of leadership that has destroyed confidence in South Africa.
He said yesterday that the lack of leadership went back
decades and could be seen in apartheid, which destroyed
education, family values and the dignity of individuals.
In an address to students at the Wits School of Economic and Business Sciences, Loubser – who is a visiting adjunct professor – said Julius Malema and the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) were racist, greedy and few had any hard skills.
He said: “Today’s ANCYL is not the ANCYL of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and Oliver Tambo. The ANCYL of today is a disgrace and an embarrassment… it is a consumer of value and a destroyer of confidence.
“You won’t hear anything [from the ANCYL] about how to create wealth and value, but you will hear constantly about how to redistribute wealth.”
He referred to the “constant emotional and brainless talk about nationalisation of the mines” and how that was destroying confidence in South Africa.
Loubser also lambasted the trade unions and what he described as their “irresponsible actions”, which were helping to destroy the economy and jobs. While he said that
everyone had the right to strike, (he said) that strike-related
marches were accompanied by violence.
“Against this background of frustration, contempt, lack of
respect, distrust, fear and incitement, it was absolutely
inevitable that something had to give and it did tragically and more than 40 people lost their lives.”
Loubser, who began his address by saying he had “no real interest in being politically correct, diplomatic or sensitive”, said that South Africa could be described by a one-liner – “no guarantees but many opportunities”.
Although he argued that long-term confidence could not return while there was a climate of corruption, contempt for the law and the undermining of the judiciary, he said that South Africa had many world-class institutions.
He referred to the Reserve Bank, the Financial Services Board, Strate, the JSE and the Treasury, which he said “has done absolutely fantastic work over the last 20 years and is world-class”.
He said for economic activity to happen, confidence had to
be inspired in the domestic and international community. Loubser told Business Report after his address that he spoke to Wits students once a year.
“I chose this topic [no guarantees, many opportunities] because it is close to my heart, this is my voice not the voice of business.”
He said there was a need to speak constructively “from time to time”, adding in reference to the lack of a business voice, “business is doing its thing in its way”.
Loubser said it was “very, very sad” to see how a committed South African such as Reuel Khoza (Nedbank chairman) had been “nailed” after he had publicly criticised the ruling party and its “strange breed” of leaders.