Black Economic Empowerment

Points will be deducted from companies that do not invest in skills and supplier development in terms of the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Act, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

The face of business in South Africa severely changed over the last few years. Companies are more aware of social responsibility and the need for BEE compliance. Deon Oberholzer offers advice to companies on how to harness the power of B-BEE to benefit themselves and SA as a whole.

Milpark Business School is recognised as a Value Adding Company with 20% black ownership and has recently reported a level three BEE compliance rating which has 110 % recognition.

The South African business community has had close to a decade to implement BEE policies but many businesses are reluctant to engage with B-BBEE, largely as a result of fear and misinformation. Deon Oberholzer sets the record straight.

The results of the annual JSE black ownership survey have been released citing that 17% of the top JSE companies are owned by black people, but Gavin Levenstein, COO of EconoBEE claims that the results are not an accurate reflection of the current situation.

Empowerment should be embraced as it contributes to growing the economy, as well as taking many people that are excluded from the economy and providing them with the opportunity to become active participants in their communities according to Denvor Phokaners CEO of Enterprise Development Essentials.

Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry, will be revising the BEE codes to ensure "greater participation by black people in productive activities and tackle complex practices of fronting". Skills Development is anticipated to be the biggest beneficiary of the re-evaluation and will certainly be worth more points.

A comprehensive BBBEE strategy is an important business imperative to ensure a successful South Africa. "Although the concept has evolved from a narrow to a broad-based approach, the essence and ultimate goal is to afford Black South Africans entry into the economy, sharing the prosperity of the country,' says Lulu Khumalo.

Declining life expectancy, unemployment, imported food, and a flood of African migrants - is this the South Africa you recognise? Political commentator Moeletsi Mbeki criticises the ANC's pandering to multinational conglomerates and cadre materialism, and the enrichment of a few via BEE. He foresees - and dates -South Africa's "Tunisia Day" - which he suggests will co-incide with the end of China's current industrialisation.

More often than not, business owners want to become BEE compliant but don't know how or can?t afford to lose valuable time on frustrating administrative tasks. EconoBEE's Gavin Levenstein offers these guidelines on how to become BEE compliant using tried and tested techniques explained in practical business friendly terms.

The advisory council envisaged in the The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act of 2003 has finally been appointed. President Jacob Zuma has announced the names of the 19 people who will advise the government on the implementation of the Act.

"Is there anything wrong in rewarding businesses (in the form of points) for spending some of their profits on education, health and similar community activities, especially for the poorest people?" Keith Levenstein looks at what BEE is really about.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has launched a new website offering a wealth of resources, including legal information and useful tools, related to Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) in South Africa.

Corporate South Africa is prioritising transformation, particularly at middle and senior management levels, where BEE candidates are being groomed for internal promotion to high-level positions. So says Debbie Goodman-Bhyat who tells us that the overwhelming majority of the positions she fills there is a clear preference from the employer for BEE candidates.

Black economic empowerment successes, in the diverse support services sector, indicate a significant breakthrough for empowerment initiatives across the entire economy, says a major JSE listed company. "Support services touch the lives of millions of South Africans every day and criss-cross every area of the national economy,' said Lionel Jacobs, Executive Director of the Bidvest Group.

The practice of tokenism, appointing a black person to an apparently senior position without the authority to actually make any meaningful decisions, is on the decline. Jack Hammer's Madge Gibson has found that companies that wish to go this route are shunned by black candidates as they want to be appointed for their expertise - not as 'window dressing'.

An industrial wholesaler has aligned itself for future growth with a positive BEE rating and plans in place for even better things in the future. BEE compliance has opened doors for Bradcher Industrial Wholesalers to new business opportunities with the many large construction projects currently underway in the country.

Black Like Me and Phatsima Aviation chairperson Herman Mashaba has urged companies to enter into Broad-based economic empowerment deals to stimulate the country?s economic growth and not because they wanted to be "politically correct'.

A black empowerment company has acquired a 26.67 percent stake in AltX-listed software provider Alliance Data Corporation for R5.4 million.

BEE is part of the government's wide-reaching strategy to promote economic development and grow the economy, according to the Trade and Industry Minister, Mandisi Mpahlwa.

A local design and corporate branding company has become the first in its industry to complete a BEE equity deal.

The Western Cape government has handed over a R571 000 cheque to Bouwland Wine Trust in Stellenbosch to further transformation and black economic empowerment in the wine industry.

Why do all the big BEE deals seem to only include black men? Is it that there are no businesswomen or women don't have the financial muscle and experience to enter into BEE deals? These questions will be investigated in an upcoming conference.

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