JSE chief executive officer Nicky Newton-King enters the great debate. Picture: Gallo Images
Phuti Mosomane and Sapa
Comments by Nedbank chairman Reuel Khoza that the moral quotient of political leadership was "degenerating" reflected uncertainty about the government's policy direction, JSE chief executive officer Nicky Newton-King said on Friday.
Newton-King told the Cape Town Press Club that investors wanted certainty from markets and that South Africa's policy position was unclear.
"All of these comments reflect the uncertainty," Newton-King said.
"I have a choice of where do I invest a billion - in South Africa or Australia... I can't put capital at risk if I don't know what the policy direction is.
"We have to make up our minds what we want to be."
Khoza, writing in Nedbank's latest annual report said South African's "strange breed" of leadership needed to adhere to the institutions that underpinned democracy. The political climate was not a picture of an accountable democracy, he said.
"Our political leadership's moral quotient is degenerating and we are fast losing the checks and balances that are necessary to prevent a recurrence of the past."
Khoza said South Africans had a duty to build and develop the nation, but also to hold their leaders accountable.
"We have a duty to build and develop this nation and to call to book the putative leaders who, due to sheer incapacity cannot deal with the complexity of 21st century governance and leadership, cannot lead," said Khoza.
SACP leader Blade Nzimande attributed Khoza's anger to "the crisis of neo-liberalism" affecting the financial sector.
"Therefore the crisis of neo-liberalism means a crisis for the financial sector, being simultaneously the generator and victim of the global capitalist crisis. It is for this reason for instance that countries like Greece and Portugal are now literally owned by the German and French banks, which in themselves are further exposed by this vicious cycle of trying to save neo-liberalism through further financialisation. No wonder Khoza is so angry!" Nzimande said
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa also accused Khoza of belittling those who voted for the ANC as stupid.
Newton-King said the "haves and the have-nots" were increasingly linked to doing business in South Africa.
"Companies have to stop and think how they do business," she said.
"We need to think about what has to change for the gini coefficient (a measure of income inequality) to shrink."
South Africa however, remained an attractive destination because investors could move their money in and out of the country as they liked.
The JSE was also the world's best regulated market.
Recently the chief executive of Oando, Nigeria's largest non-government oil company, chose to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange because he wanted to attach the company to the bourse's high governance standards.
Newton-King said Bric countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) would become a much larger part of South Africa's future.
She said however that the country had to attract more business from these countries, which are expected to have around 40 percent of the world's wealth by 2020.