“Together we are building the structures and foundation that will realise a purpose-led and sustainable business. We still have a lot of hard work to do, but we have made meaningful progress. We are an ethically led organisation, with zero tolerance for corruption and an ethos that attracts the best talent, in order to ambitiously drive forward our central purpose: technology that makes a positive contribution to business and society, across Africa, and in the wider world.”
Chief Risk Officer
OUR NEW FOUNDATION
EOH has worked over the latter part of the year to put in place functional capabilities that will drive forward an ethical, futureproof and sustainable organisational culture.
Governance, risk and control: A new function with a best practice framework to ensure ethical and strategic decision making, compliance and oversight.
Procurement and supply chain: A new bid management framework and training for staff and suppliers to futureproof against corrupt practice.
Legal and internal audit: Mobilisation of an internal audit capability, and an ongoing process to ensure justice and restitution for historical wrongdoing.
Human capital management: A refreshed employee Code of Conduct, supported by training and a learning platform to embed ethical practice and share lessons learned.
Whistleblowing: Launch of ExposeIT South Africa’s first truly anonymous whistleblowing app to enable employees and third parties to report wrongdoing without fear of victimisation.
THE EOH CODE FOR SUSTAINABLE AND ETHICAL BEST PRACTICE
A challenging legacy
Over the past year EOH has faced a crisis of confidence. Our governance and risk management frameworks and process were proven to be inadequate and ineffective. Our business, having grown exponentially, became compromised by corruption. Significant value was eroded, the interests of our stakeholders were materially damaged, strategic partnerships were lost, and reputational damage ensued, damaging our credibility.
Zero tolerance for corruption
Since this devastating series of events in our evolution, our unified strategy as a business has been to clean up the misguided ways of a few, and to rebuild value for all our stakeholders, and for our customers. We have adopted a policy of zero tolerance for corruption, and we have worked around the clock to build the risk, compliance, legal and governance capabilities needed to re-enable the incredible value hidden within EOH.
A new CODE for governance
My mandate has been to ensure a forensic analysis and understanding of what went wrong, and to futureproof EOH against future corruption. This has entailed the establishment of refreshed and best practice governance and risk management capabilities, comprising the people, processes and toolsets needed to manage and safeguard our complex business. It has also been my responsibility to relentlessly pursue justice, remediation and restitution for EOH by leading our ongoing legal process. It has been our mission at EOH to learn all the hard lessons, and to move with determination toward the establishment of an ethical, robust, well led, and properly governed foundation that will protect the interests of all our stakeholders in the future.
A commitment to justice
Central to our philosophy has been the need to be courageous, honest and transparent about our experience. Our rationale for this is that we need to demonstrate ownership and leadership, taking firm and fair accountability for what went wrong. I am part of a leadership team that stands firmly committed to successfully repairing damage done, to rebuilding our credibility, to regaining trust and to laying a pathway toward sustainable value. We are determined to apologise sincerely, to share the lessons that we have learned, and, if possible, to do all we can to share our narrative in a way that can prevent similar outcomes for others.
A forensic approach
Over the last months we have run a comprehensive, ambitious, and relentless remediation plan. We have left no stone unturned in our determination to root out corruption. We have collaborated extensively, internally and externally, with professional partners to design and embed best practice governance and risk management. We have recruited talent with the high calibre professional skills we need to galvanise our internal teams at executive and Board level.
We have made progress. Yet, we still have further to go.
Embedding new capabilities
EOH has now reorganised and simplified, creating three clear organisational pillars that will drive future value. This process has given us wide opportunity and scope to restructure governance to ensure high quality oversight, compliance and decision making. We have enhanced our Board, aligning to King IV, remobilising committees with fresh appointments and updated terms of reference. Our work over the coming year will entail relentless effort to embed our new best practice governance frameworks, to ensure understanding, capacity, and compliance, driving forward consistent, integrated and modern ways of working.
Commitment to the good
It is our intention to ensure that we are futureproof: A force for the good that provides the enabling technology that our customers and wider society need to innovate and succeed. We are committed to playing a positive role, beyond the norm of business practice, creating value in South Africa, across wider Africa, and in our ever more global world.
A sustainable future
Our CODE for governance, risk and compliance is committed to a future that is sustainable. As the largest technology service provider in Africa, EOH is uniquely positioned to create digital value in our evolving world. We can do more to drive positive transformation and are committing to playing our part to drive the United Nations 2030 agenda and the 17 sustainable development goals. We intend to play our part in enabling a future that offers value for all our stakeholders, with a sustainability strategy that is aligned to our core business, to maximise our positive impact.
We now have a sound foundation upon which we can build.