Black Business Council to Rupert: 'We expect leaders to be considerate'

The Black Business Council has hit back at remarks made by billionaire Johann Rupert during a controversial interview with PowerFM, saying they expect "any leader to be considerate".

The multi-billionaire Rupert was a guest on the Chairman's Conversation, an annual event hosted by the radio station's founder Given Mkhari.

"Leadership comes with responsibility, and as the BBC, we expect any leader to be considerate when making remarks that have the potential of being offensive," CEO Kganki Matabani said on Wednesday afternoon.

"The wounds of the recent past have yet to heal and leaders should be sensitive to the correct history of the country. Any disparaging and condescending comments should be avoided at all costs."

Rupert, who is chair of the Swiss-based luxury-goods company Richemont as well as of South African-based company Remgro, came under fire for several remarks, including referring to employees of SARS as "thugs" and hitting back at criticism from the Economic Freedom Fighters by saying he had been labelled as "toxic" by "a little Venda in a red beret".

Telling Mkhari he did not wish to entertain tenderpreneurs, he said "a lot of Shangaans are very good at this".

Matabane said business leaders should cooperate for the wellbeing of South Africa rather than using potentially hurtful language.

"Now it is time for all the social partners – government, labour, business and society – to work together to bring the much-needed economic growth in the country, in order to deal with the challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment which still weighs heavily on the social, political and economic wellbeing of the country," Matabane said.

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