Leon calls for major BEE changes


Ahead of the State of the Nation address to be given to parliament by President Thabo Mbeki, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Tony Leon has presented some of his party's ideas for the economy and re-vamping BEE legislation.

While wishing the president well for the speech, Leon also requests that he speaks on behalf of the whole country not one group - even if it is a majority group.

On the economy, Leon focuses on the textiles and agriculture industries but also has some advice on the macro economy.

"South Africa's economy is growing at a faster rate than it has in several years. Yet it is still not growing fast enough to create jobs and reverse the tide of unemployment," says Leon. "The government should return to the target of six percent growth per annum and make that the number one priority of economic policy. Business regulations should be reviewed and rolled back wherever
necessary, and urgent steps should be taken to assist the textile
industry and agriculture," according to Leon.

On Black Economic Empowerment Leon calls for significant changes to the current legislation which he believes has, "succeeded only in helping an elite few at the expense of the poor many". Leon focuses on the ownership portion of the BEE balanced scorecard by suggesting that, "an individual investor or company cannot be a beneficiary of a BEE transaction more than once". Once they are given a foothold, they must make their way on their own. We cannot keep enriching the same people over and over again," says Leon.

The DA leader continues with suggestions on HIV/AIDS policy, Zimbabawe, the Arms Deal and Diversity.