When things are most dire, we need the voices of powerful people to rise above the noise. South Africa is plagued by rampant corruption, a struggling economy, and a list of other problems so long, we won’t mention them all here. During Women’s Month we celebrate the powerful women in all spheres of society, and today we salute three who are using their influence to stand up for all of us. Each of them has put her money where her mouth is, and we salute their courage.
Dr. Makhosi Khoza
ANC MP Dr Makhosi Khoza knew that it would be easier to remain silent, but refused to compromise the integrity of the ANC or the people it serves. She spoke out against President Jacob Zuma, asking him to step down from office. She now faces disciplinary action from the ANC on charges of bringing the ruling party into disrepute. News24 has reported that she is not shaken by this and will continue fighting the corruption that is eating away at our democracy.
The ANC’s repeat scandals have damaged the ruling party’s reputation, and has brought into question its integrity. We have seen what happens to those who defy the powers that be, though. Ex finance minister Pravin Gordhan experienced pressure from the ANC executive when he would not compromise his position as head of the treasury: it ultimately lead to threats of prosecution and eventually his being sacked. Dr Khoza was aware of the risks and spoke out anyway.
Dr Makhosi Khoza is truly inspirational, using her voice and power in one of the most difficult times that our country has faced in the last 20 years.
In these uncertain economic times, making business decisions is tougher than ever. No-one knows this better than Magda Wierzycka, chief executive officer of Sygnia, the JSE-listed asset-management company. Magda made headlines recently when she decided to fire renowned tax and audit firm KPMG. This happened after it came to light that KPMG might have irregular business relations with the infamous Gupta family. The Mail & Guardian reported that this relationship could be the reason why the firm overlooked money reserved for business being channelled into a lavish private family wedding.
Rather than draw out long and complicated investigations, Magda decided that for the sake of her company and its reputation, she would rather cut ties altogether with KPMG. We were amazed with her swift decision-making skills as pressure mounted from clients. Magda is a fierce businesswoman, and she’s taking the lead by being unwilling to compromise on ethical and transparent business practices.
Before the Guptas or state capture was household conversation, Vytjie was one of the first people to come forward about the dubious relationship between the Gupta family and top officials in the ANC government. Risking her career as well as public scrutiny, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor chose to blow the whistle in 2016.
Vytjie has now released a book, No Holy Cows in which she explores and reveals the mechanics of the corruption that plagues South Africa. She also details the disturbing political history of President Jacob Zuma, reported Daily Maverick.
We commend these women for using their power and influence to challenge a status quo which they consider to be unacceptable.