MiWay insurance has committed to using the controversy surrounding a fake email to bolster transformation in the company and broader sector.
CEO Rene Otto says the saga has been a personal growth opportunity to learn more about white supremacy and the grievances of many black South Africans.
MiWay has decided not to press charges against a disgruntled client who authored a fake email, implicating the insurance company in racist practices.
In an email screenshot, which was proven to be fabricated, black clients were referred to as 'baboons'.
Otto says while his initial reaction was a "natural outrage" and impulse to press charges, he later decided to rather grasp the dynamics of the issue.
The next day I thought to myself that there's an individual behind this. What made him do this? As a CEO wanted to understand.— Rene Otto, MiWay CEO
And there's a much bigger discussion happening now about race in the country. We have to be very sensitive about it.— Rene Otto, MiWay CEO
The CEO maintains that the decision not to pursue civil or criminal action had nothing to do with the race of the perpetrator, who is black.
I would like to believe that the colour of the person isn't the driving factor here.— Rene Otto, MiWay CEO
I believe I'm colorblind when I look at at people, especially in the business.— Rene Otto, MiWay CEO
He admits that there is still much to be done to transform the racial profile of senior management at MiWay.
MiWay needs to go back and do more to transform the industry.— Rene Otto, MiWay CEO
Currently, five out of MiWay's six board members are white, while only 30% of their senior management is black.
Otto says at least three out of them should be black in six month time.
He explained some of the policies at the insurance company and discussed transformation of MiWay's senior management, as well as within the broader industry.
Several listeners took MiWay to task and called in with their questions and experiences.
Take a listen to the critical discussion:
Here is what Twitter had to contribute to the conversation:Responses to #MiWay CEO - Curated tweets by Radio702