BEE progress not enough-Zuma

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President Jacob Zuma says although much progress has been made in advancing black economic empowerment, it is still not enough.

Speaking at the Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council meeting, Zuma said the council would need to advise government on how to ensure that progress happens faster and benefits broader society.

President Zuma said the council would need to answer the question: "In the South African context, where many people were excluded for centuries, how do we level the playing field?'

"This Council needs to look at what needs to happen in the economy,' he said.

Government set up the council to ensure that transformation of the business sector was in line with the country's economic growth.

One of the challenges that the council would need to advise on was the abuse of the empowerment process through practices like fronting.

It would also need to look at the alignment of government?s preferential procurement policy with black economic empowerment as well as to identify weaknesses in verification and accreditation procedures.

Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said that many elements of the BBBEE Framework had been put in place, including sector charters, codes of good practice, and verification processes.

"We find ourselves at a moment when we need to assess the impact of that work.

"There is a great deal of work that needs to be done to make empowerment a contributor to development and economic growth,' he said.

Members of the Council emphasised the need to ensure that economic empowerment was indeed broad-based, and said that this consideration should be at the centre of the interventions that the Council would propose to government.

The meeting adopted the Council?s Constitution which outlines, among other things, the powers, functions and administration of the Council.

The meeting established four sub-committees to address, the ownership and structuring of BBBEE deals, enterprise development, access to finance and procurement and other key issues that are central to the work of the Council.

In the course of developing recommendations to the council, the sub-committees may co-opt experts and commission research as required.

The sub-committees will report to the next meeting of the Council, which is due to be held in September 2010. -BuaNews

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