Start main page content

The question is not where but what?

- Wits University

It is harder to resist this (moral) slippage than to go along with it.

Anti-competitive behaviour by companies that undermined the laws of the country and more recently, state capture, have made headlines after it emerged that politically connected businesses had tried to unduly influence political and national decisions.

This behaviour thrives and persists because individuals do not act when they are co-opted into illegal activities, said Norman Manoim, Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal.

Manoim was speaking to graduands about the moral challenges that await them in the workplace as they carve out their careers.

He warned that “straying from one’s moral compass is not always an observable event. For the most part it happens without the devil emailing us a calendar reminder saying moral slippage starts at 2pm today in the boardroom.”

“It is insidious but inconspicuous. We just find that we fit into a corporate culture where we are doing that very thing that maybe 10 years back – when we sat in our gowns in the graduation hall – we never thought we would do.”

Citing the bread cartel that affected many poor households and other cases, Manoim sought to instil moral consciousness in the graduands who, on their way to success, might be placed in precarious positions.

A reoccurring question posed by Manoim during his address to graduands is whether they will be who they say they are today.

“You are today hopefully a person who is ambitious, idealistic and wants to change the world into a better place than it was when your career started.

“In 10 years’ time - will you still be that person?”

About Manoim

Norman Manoim is the Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal. He has served as a full-time member of the Competition Tribunal since its inception in September 1999 and was part of the team that drafted the present South African Competition Act.

He has a history in activism and student politics having once occupied key positions including Wits SRC president (1979 – 80), vice–president of the National Union of South African Students, and president of the South African Students’ Press Union. He was active in several anti-apartheid structures and key institutions post democracy.