Cape Town - Comments by Nedbank chairperson Reuel Khoza
that the moral quotient of South Africa's political leadership is "degenerating" reflect uncertainty about the government's policy direction, JSE chief executive officer Nicky Newton-King
said on Friday.
Newton-King told the Cape Town Press Club that investors want certainty from markets and that South Africa's policy position is unclear.
"All of these comments reflect the uncertainty," Newton-King said.
"I have a choice of where do I invest a billion - in South Africa or Australia... I can't put capital at risk if I don't know what the policy direction is.
"We have to make up our minds what we want to be."
Khoza said the country's "strange breed" of leadership needs to adhere to the institutions that underpin democracy.
"Our political leadership's moral quotient is degenerating and we are fast losing the checks and balances that are necessary to prevent a recurrence of the past," he said.
SA Communist Party leader Blade Nzimande
attributed Khoza's anger to "the crisis of neo-liberalism" affecting the financial sector.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa
also accused Khoza of belittling those who voted for the ANC as stupid.
Newton-King said the "haves and the have-nots" were increasingly linked to doing business in South Africa.
"Companies have to stop and think how they do business," she said.
"We need to think about what has to change for the gini coefficient (a measure of income inequality) to shrink."
However, South Africa remains an attractive destination because investors can move their money in and out of the country as they like.
The JSE is also the world's best regulated market.
Recently the chief executive of Oando, Nigeria's largest non-government oil company, chose to list on the JSE because he wanted to attach the company to the bourse's high governance standards.
Newton-King said Bric countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) would become a much larger part of South Africa's future.
She said, however, that the country has to attract more business from these countries, expected to have about 40% of the world's wealth by 2020.