In all the discussions about who’s responsible for the woes of this country and who will lead us forward, there’s one player that seems to get a free pass. I speak of big business. I believe that companies have a duty to help fix our nation, but they’ve been shirking that duty for 20 years.
Here’s why they must take responsibility. Although businesses that operated during apartheid like to cast themselves as innocent bystanders to an unjust system, they were not, in fact, innocent. Instead, they were implementers of oppressive policies, because to operate within that system—to get access to capital, to infrastructure, to the people that the system produced—they had to be part of the system.
I am not contending that business necessarily liked the policies of the Nationalist government. Some loved them more than others—that is undeniable. For many, it was a matter of complying with the laws of the time.