South African directors positive about governance

In the first survey of director sentiment in South Africa conducted by the country’s Institute of Directors (IoDSA) its top bosses are more positive than negative in their perceptions of governance in contrast to their economics and business sentiments which are more negative.

The top three governance challenges impacting current business identified by the survey are:

  • the lack of understanding the overall benefits;
  • the lack of sustainability focussed thinking and
  • that it is costly or the perception of being too costly.

When asked about the main governance challenges impacting industry the top-ranked concern was unethical behaviour  – essentially bribery and corruption.

Female respondents showed a marked increase in “very positive” sentiment, in comparison to male respondents, in the following areas: directors showing the necessary values in the boardroom; the willingness of directors to take risks that will progress innovation and growth; and D&O insurance adequately covering the inherent risks relative to directors in fulfilment of their legal duties. Directors were also particularly positive about their role in regard to the expected impact of continuous professional development on the board.

“The Directors’ Sentiment IndexTM research will be conducted annually —over time, we believe it will become a useful barometer of how a broad section of corporate leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors view the general business climate,” said Parmi Natesan, Executive: Centre for Corporate Governance, IoDSA. “What our corporate leaders think impacts society as a whole, and needs to be understood.”

The survey was completed online by 338 members of the IoDSA’s database as well as a specified sample of 103 non-members drawn from a research company’s national panel. The respondent base was 75% male and 25% female, across all ages—35% fell into the 55-plus age group. Of the respondents 78%  were executive directors, and 22% were non-executives.

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