South Africa

Big companies tell the government, ‘No thanks’

When the government tried to get money from big businesses like Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, Makro, Distell, Nedbank, and others for its BRICS Parliamentary Forum, they did not want to be part of it.

This was revealed by Emma Louise Powell, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) shadow minister of international relations and cooperation.

Powell told Biznews that the BRICS Summit in South Africa has been marred by ANC incompetence and wasting millions in taxpayer money.

She said the summit was characterised by the ruling ANC’s “complete disregard for professionalism, timekeeping, and organisation, and nothing more than a propaganda talk shop”.

R75 million was spent to deploy 5,234 police members during the summit, and 726 police vehicles were used.

She lamented the use of scarce police resources to an event used to drive the agenda of the ANC and not address the best interests of South Africans.

Powell, who attended the BRICS Summit, said it was essentially an anti-West talk shop attended by companies like China, Russia, India, Brazil, and Iran.

“The speaker of Iran’s national consultative assembly, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, delivered a vitriolic diatribe against the West as part of his opening remarks,” she said.

Particularly telling was that large South African companies did not seem to want anything to do with the government and the BRICS Parliamentary Forum.

“13 large companies were approached for what they called ‘resource mobilisation’, which is another world for sponsorships,” she said.

Of the 13 companies approached for sponsorship, 12 either declined or failed to respond to requests.

The companies include many prominent names, including MTN, Vodacom, Telkom, Volkswagen, AdaptIT, Accenture, PetroSA, Distell, and Makro.

“There was one company which provided a fan park, and there was a social tour organised to places like Freedom Park,” she said.

“This signals an emerging trend by corporates to distance themselves from South Africa’s BRICS association,” she said.

“It is indicative of concerns and reservations around how useful the BRICS events are from an economic and trade perspective.”

Powell added that companies may not feel comfortable that the South African government cosies up to countries like Iran and Russia.

The table below shows the companies who were asked for sponsorship, along with the responses.

Telkom MobileDeclined
BAIC AutomobileDeclined
Adept ITDeclined
MTNAwaiting a response
VodacomAwaiting a response
AccentureAwaiting a response
BrandSAAwaiting a response
PetroSAAwaiting a response
DistellAwaiting a response
Freedom ParkAccepted


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