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Sipho Pityana to lead Business Unity SA

Jun 12 2018 16:01
Lameez Omarjee

Sipho Pityana, businessman, Save SA convenor, and outspoken critic of former president Jacob Zuma, is set to take over as president of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) later in June.

Pityana, the founder and chairman of black economic empowerment group Izingwe Capital, was unanimously nominated for election as president. He will take on his new role with effect from June 26, when the next AGM takes place, BUSA said in a statement on Tuesday. 

He will take over the reins from Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza, who served for two terms. Martin Kingston has been nominated to serve a second term as vice president. 

The new BUSA board and elected members will be ratified at the AGM.

"It’s an honour to be asked to serve the unified voice of business at such a critical time in our struggle for transformative inclusive economic growth, as we position our country to be a successful participant in the Fourth Industrial Revolution," Pityana said in a statement.

Pityana currently holds positions on various boards, including AngloGold Ashanti. He has held board positions at companies listed on the New York, London and Johannesburg stock exchanges, as well as unlisted companies.

He was the former chairperson of the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme, or NFSAS, and is currently chairperson of Council of the University of Cape Town. He was also previously the chair of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution.

Pityana also has experience in government, having served as director-general of the Department of Foreign Affairs from 1999 to 2002. He was also director-general of the department of labour from 1995 to 1999.

He was one of the founders of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) and the Council for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Pityana has served in a number of other business groupings. 

BUSA, in a statement, recognised Pityana's "strong sense of civic duty" which led him to form advocacy group Save SA, after revelations of state capture emerged. 

Following former president Jacob Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle in March 2017, where he replaced former finance minister Pravin Gordhan with Malusi Gigaba, Pityana was among those who condemned Zuma's actions.

Other elected BUSA board members include Absa CEO Maria Ramos, Managing Director of the Banking Association of South Africa Cas Coovadia, and CEO of the Minerals Council of SA - previously known as the Chamber of Mines - Roger Baxter.

Speaking on his term of office, Mabuza said he was confident that he was leaving the organisation in a "stronger state", with business having a credible voice anchored by "constructive engagement" with social partners.

"It is critical for business to adopt a proactive and unified stance as it seeks to unlock value in the economy and address poverty, inequality and unemployment. I congratulate the incoming board under the leadership of Sipho," said Mabuza.  

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