Confirming that the penny really has dropped, former public servant and now Absa chief executive Maria Ramos opined "We don't hold enough people accountable. When delivery doesn't happen, we need to fire somebody."
Her husband, the man who is effectively Zuma's prime minister, former finance head Trevor Manuel went further. In the standing room-only session assessing SA's future, Manuel berated the country's business leadership as "cowards" for not speaking out on restrictive labour legislation introduced shortly after the ANC took power in 1994.
SA's labour legislation is based largely on inflexible rules devised by West Germany during a period when that country enjoyed full employment. It is widely regarded as the most anti-business in the world, heavily weighted against employers.
Rather than fighting the legislation, SA companies voted with their feet, replacing labour with capital wherever possible and, as a result, sending the labour-to-capital ratio ever lower. Academics calculate this has cost the country more than two million jobs in the past decade.