Nedcor Hires Baqwa - And His Impeccable Reputation
Nedcor has landed a real coup - the addition of advocate Selby Baqwa, South Africa's first Public Protector, to its top team.
Baqwa's non-renewable seven-year term as Public Protector ends in October. Appropriately, he will then fill Nedcor's newly created job of head of corporate governance.
Earlier this year, Parliament set up a 27-member ad hoc committee to nominate a successor to Baqwa.
It was to report to the National Assembly, which would then make a recommendation to the President, by June 21. A public announcement on a successor has yet to be made.
Baqwa was nominated by MPs in July 1995 by a 75.9% majority, and appointed by the President in September 1995.
According to the Constitution, the Public Protector must be a South African citizen and a "fit and proper" person.
Nedcor says the creation of the new position "reflects the growing demands on companies, both globally and locally, to conform to the highest corporate governance standards".
In South Africa, the King II report stresses the "triple bottom line", which holds that companies should report not only on their financial performance but on all the impacts of such performance in terms of social and environmental criteria.
Baqwa, Nedcor says, "will have responsibility for ensuring that Nedcor observes the highest standards of governance across the entirety of the triple bottom line.
"His activities will impact on all the key audiences of the bank - customers, staff, investors, suppliers, regulators and the public at large."
Nedcor chairman Chris Liebenberg says: "We are delighted that Selby has decided to join the Nedcor group. He has built a wonderful reputation in his current role for integrity and effectiveness.
"He will bring the same qualities to bear at Nedcor and will be a huge asset to the group. Great companies can only be built by winning the trust of their key stakeholders. This is the governance challenge. It is one we afford the highest priority, and there could be no clearer evidence of this than Baqwa's appointment to this new position."
Baqwa's 200-strong team has investigated the Sarafina II scandal, the arms deal and Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka's diamond tiara.
Born in 1951, Baqwa studied at the University of Fort Hare, Unisa and Natal University. He was admitted as an attorney of the Supreme Court of South Africa in 1976, and as an advocate in 1988.
He spent much of his working life in Durban, where he also lectured in mercantile law at Natal University.
Baqwa served as general secretary and later president of the National Executive Committee of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers. Late last year, he was re-elected as vice-president of the International Ombudsman Institute.
With acknowledgements to the Sunday Times.