THE Black Management Forum (BMF), the champion of transformation in corporate SA, yesterday dismissed talk of a power tussle among its leadership.
This came in the wake of MD Busisiwe Mavuso having jumped ship to Business Leadership SA (BLSA) as chief operating officer. She came under heavy criticism over the move and for having joined the ranks of “white monopoly capital”. But this criticism has been brushed off by senior BMF officials.
“This is a sellout of the majority of black people who are still waiting for their leadership to fast-track transformation, inclusive growth and addressing triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment,” an analyst who did not want to be named said. Others charged that it appeared as if black lobby groups such as the BMF were also captured by “white” business lobby groups.
Mavuso had been with the BMF since 2009, starting as chief financial officer and since May last year was MD of the organisation. Analyst James Kgoele said loyal stalwarts and activists were no more “and one can’t blame the young generation for changing careers”. “Today if your career is absorbed by the likes of BLSA, BMF, BBC or Nafcoc is all about spin doctoring to deliver on a particular mandate to please your employer.
“However, jumping ship to advance your career and not being aware of the damage caused elsewhere paints a particular picture for those anxiously waiting on the ground for change,” Kgoele said. BMF deputy president Dumisani Mpafa denied the BMF was “captured” or that there was infighting. Mpafa told The New Age the forum was financially sound.
“The investment arm pays dividends every month, and pays well,” he said. He insisted that the BMF’s history speaks for itself. “We don’t want to attack our black brothers and sisters. “Mavuso’s performance at the BMF was amazing. She took this organisation to greater heights.” He said she was offered a better position at BLSA and took it.
BLSA CEO Bonang Mohale concurred and said “in Mavuso, the BLSA has attracted a strong general manager, a strong defender of our democracy, a change agent who is also a passionate development activist and an advocate of transformation.” Responding to allegations, Mavuso said people were always looking for gossip when there was none.
“I remain a member in good standing. “BLSA is trying to position business as a national asset and a lot of critical discussions are happening. It would be wrong for people who call themselves change agents – like me – not to grab the chance to contribute and change the direction of business in SA,” she said.