Writing in South Africa's Business Day, Ron Derby is outraged at an Australian mining investment company's boast that it had put some politically well-connected local businessmen in its pockets, or rather on its board, because of their "strong commercial and government relationships." The Australian company even financed the acquisition of 26% of the equity by the well-connected but apparently cash-poor local, to create an immediate local stake.
"What really concerns and shocks me is the matter-of-fact statement that the rationale behind introducing the partners was their strong government relationships," writes Derby. "To go out there and blatantly tell shareholders that you’ve bought political connectedness speaks of a very corrupt and, more worryingly, an accepted way of doing things."
Funny, isn't it only Africans who are supposed to be corrupt?!
Derby's indignation is understandable and perfectly legitimate but the mining industry is not known for its probity. The small mining company has just been tripped up by its own inexperience at how the game is played by being so open about what the big mining boys would only do more quietly-buy influence.
Welcome to the real world, Derby.