In this picture: Prof Mervyn King an d Adv. Thuli Madonsela
Few will argue that Adv. Thuli Madonsela has become for many people the personification of integrity and courage as she went about the duties and challenges of being South Africa’s public protector.
Similarly, Prof Mervyn King, perhaps more than any other individual, has promoted an integrated and inclusive approach to the business life of companies. Slowly but surely boards of companies are coming to accept that the sole purpose of a company is not simply to make profits for shareholders, but to operate ethically for the benefit of all stakeholders in a company.
The four King Reports on corporate governance have changed the face of reporting and governance on a global scale.
This was according to Prof Arnold Smit, president of Business Ethics Network of Africa (BEN-Africa) and head of Social Impact at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), welcoming them as key speakers at the organisation’s 15th conference recently held in Stellenbosch.
The conference, with Governance, Ethics and African Development as theme, was presented in association with KPMG and with a sponsorship from USB Executive Development.
Both Adv. Madonsela and Prof King were presented with the organisation’s prestigious ‘Order of the Baobab’ for extraordinary achievements in good governance and ethical leadership.
Prof Deon Rossouw, founding president of BEN-Africa and CEO of the Ethics Institute, said that with the Baobab as a symbol of the organisation, it symbolises the traditional meeting place where minds meet in order to discuss ideas. The Order of the Baobab is an award by BEN-Africa for extraordinary achievements for the advancement of organisational ethics on the continent of Africa.
Adv. Thuli Madonsela received the award for her indubitable and explicit adherence to the rule of law and the principles of democracy, underpinned by an unequivocal commitment to good governance in practice and ethical leadership.
She opened spaces for thought leadership in ethical practice and a values-driven economy, both nationally and globally; and her distinguishing trait of equanimity in the face of adversity makes her the epitome of the esteemed ethical servant leader.
Prof Mervyn King received the award for his invaluable contribution to ethical leadership and governance in business and society in South Africa and around the world.
His strong advocacy of transparency, stakeholder inclusivity, responsible corporate citizenship, ethical leadership and integrated thinking is embedded in the world-renowned series of King Reports and the work of the International Integrated Reporting Council. His legacy will guide global practice in corporate governance and decision making for many years to come.
Nosisa Fubu, Head of Forensic at KPMG, said King IV comes at an opportune time for SA.
"The days are gone where we can assume government can provide everything. I believe corruption happens when ethics are broken and when good governance is not at the basis. We all should be working on it."
She described King's tireless work on corporate governance as probably being like that of a rock star working on the launch of a new album.
Prof Divya Singh, deputy vice-chancellor of Unisa and member of BEN-Africa’s advisory board, said in her motivation for the award to Adv. Madonsela that her name “Thuli” stands for Transparency, Humility, Unequivocal commitment to the rule of law and governance, Leadership and Integrity.
Mohammed Adam, General Council and General Manager of Regulatory Affairs at Arcelor Mittal, said Prof Mervyn King is someone that is true to ethical beliefs and values and in this way gives a lot back to the community.
He is also someone Nelson Mandela called “his favourite judge.”
Prof Obiora Ike, Executive Director of Globethics.net, Geneva said “The BEN-Africa conference brought to the centre the challenge of governance, ethics and development in Africa. The challenges are enormous as they are in the area of poverty alleviation, education, lack of access to quality of life and the overall growing gap of values and ethical concerns. There are, however, great chances for the African continent and its people through integrated approaches. The primary key is values-driven education and an ethical standard that lead to transformation and development. We, at Globethics.net, must start with the youth who are the future. ”