BEE, BBBEE under the spotlight

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pretoria - One of the major shortcomings in the implementation of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) was the over-emphasis on diversity of ownership and senior management.

This was one of the key issues raised at the Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council meeting, chaired by President Jacob Zuma on Friday, which discussed how to take the agenda of economic transformation forward and to promote inclusive growth.

"The unintended consequence of this over-emphasis is fronting and tender abuse. We are happy that the Council spoke out so strongly against fronting which is one of the major obstacles to the implementation of BBBEE. 

"Fronting is an insult to the dignity of the poor and we have to act decisively against it. I am pleased that the Council is so determined to work with us to act against this heinous practice,'' Zuma said.

According to the Presidency, there was special emphasis on the implementation of the New Growth Path and the role of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) in creating jobs at the meeting.

In particular, the meeting stressed that BBBEE was not just about big business deals for a few individuals in society but also had to have a hand in empowering ordinary people.

"In this regard, the Council called for the consistent implementation of broad-based BEE in all sectors of the economy, to ensure that the policy touches the lives of more people," the Presidency said.

The meeting also noted that BBBEE was central to inclusive growth. Support was given to provisions of the New Growth Path which require a much stronger focus on the broad-based elements of the BEE regulations.

This included ownership by communities and workers, increased skills development and career-pathing for all working people and support for small enterprise and cooperatives, as well as a new emphasis on procurement from local producers in order to support employment creation.

The meeting also pointed out that to contribute to job creation, BBBEE has to, amongst others, promote new enterprise development, encourage local procurement and enhance skills development and employment equity. 

Participants also agreed that fronting needed to be eradicated and effective mechanisms, including possible punitive measures against those guilty of fronting practices, needed to be implemented to stamp it out.

"It was agreed that government, with the support of the BBBEE Advisory Council, would ensure a revision of the BBBEE Codes to promote employment creation, investment in small business and cooperatives, broad-based ownership and employment equity," the Presidency said

The Council also recommended that government should urgently ensure proper monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the BBBEE Act. - BuaNews

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